Monday, August 13, 2012

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade

The mysterious Mr. Socrates rescues Modo, a child in a traveling freak show. Modo is a hunchback with an amazing ability to transform his appearance, and Mr. Socrates raises him in isolation as an agent for the Permanent Association, a spy agency behind Brittania’s efforts to rule the empire. At 14, Modo is left on the streets of London to fend for himself. When he encounters Octavia Milkweed, another Association agent, the two uncover a plot by the Clockword Guild behind the murders of important men. Furthermore, a mad scientist is turning orphan children into automatons to further the goals of the Guild. Modo and Octavia journey deep into the tunnels under London and discover a terrifying plot against the British government. It’s up to them to save their country.


Genre: steampunk; mystery

Rating: 4/5

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment