The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. KirbyAdolescent 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.