Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

As Boring As the Ticking of the Clock

The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

Adolescent Steampunk/Fantasy

The first word that comes to my mind after reading this book?  Boring.

My second thought?  It's really, really well-written.

The 'three' in the title is for the three main characters-Giuseppe, a kidnapped orphan/street musician desperate to return to Italy and be reunited with his family; Hannah, a young girl forced into menial labor to her support her family; and Frederick, a young clockmaker who has a manic obsession to build a clockwork automaton.  They apparently have nothing in common and through chance encounters become friends and allies against their individual enemies.

The setting in the book was the Industrial Revolution with a bit of steampunk thrown in.  I didn't really quite get the genre.  The book genre-jumped all the way through.  Was it steampunk?  Fantasy?  Realism?  It made me question the plot and what I was reading.  Annoying.

The book starts off really slow and only get to the top speed of a sluggish steam engine.  It isn't a bad book, but just lacked that special something.  I didn't particularly like any of the characters.  Hannah was probably my favorite and I found her easy to relate to but her background and motivations weren't explained well enough for me to really sink my teeth into.  I most certainly did not like Frederick and I dreaded when it was his turn to tell the narrative.  He was cold, selfish and tight-lipped and willing to do anything to realize his dreams, which I also didn't quite get.  Building an automaton, I suppose.  Charles Dickens would probably have loved this, but for me it was just okay.

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