Monday, August 13, 2012
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
Genre: steampunk; mystery
Blending a little Victor Hugo with a lot of steampunk and mystery, this series starts off swinging with adventure and intrigue for teens looking to be introduced to the steampunk genre but not sure if it's for them or not. Modo is a deformed, but highly intelligent young man able to shapeshift, an ability that makes him highly valuable to Mr. Socrates, a shadowy figure who is the only father figure Modo has ever known. Mr. Socrates cares for Modo, but it is very obvious that he sees him merely as an expensive operative rather than human as he keeps him at a distance and makes sure that Modo doesn't become too attached to anyone. Modo's first true friend is Octavia, another agent who is just as intelligent and not as blindly obediant as Modo. The two find themselves embroiled in a mystery that involves mind control and kidnapping with villains looking to kill them as soon as possible.
While this might be a more juvenile steampunk, it would be a good introduction to the genre without being too strange or overwhelming. The characters are likable and the action fast paced, making the book appealing to either gender.