Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

  My taste in books doesn't always follow what is popular or what people tell me I 'should' read.  I like what I like, I guess, and lately that has been juvenile or young adult literature.  I'm not an especially literary person, although I DO love to read.  And I'm pretty sure I slept through most of my high school English classes. So I have been terrified to write a review about something I've read. 

My daughter first introduced me to The Clockwork Three.  She was in 5th grade last year and Matthew Kirby came to her school and talked to the kids.  I figured any author that would go and talk to elementary school kids couldn't be all bad, right?  Then our book club decided to read The Clockwork Three for our book last month.  So that will be my first review!

Goodreads had this to say about it: "
Three ordinary children are brought together by extraordinary events. . .

Giuseppe is an orphaned street musician from Italy, who was sold by his uncle to work as a slave for an evil padrone in the U.S. But when a mysterious green violin enters his life he begins to imagine a life of freedom.

Hannah is a soft-hearted, strong-willed girl from the tenements, who supports her family as a hotel maid when tragedy strikes and her father can no longer work. She learns about a hidden treasure, which she knows will save her family -- if she can find it.

And Frederick, the talented and intense clockmaker's apprentice, seeks to learn the truth about his mother while trying to forget the nightmares of the orphanage where she left him. He is determined to build an automaton and enter the clockmakers' guild -- if only he can create a working head.

Together, the three discover they have phenomenal power when they team up as friends, and that they can overcome even the darkest of fears."

One of my biggest complaints when I'm reading books is the lack of parental involvement.  All these kids are out on these wonderful adventures and there is not a parent in sight.  I didn't mind so much when I was younger, but as I'm now the parent, it really bothers me!  =]

The children in The Clockwork Three effectively HAVE no parents, however, so it didn't bother me as much.  Giuseppe was orphaned in Italy and is "working" for horrible man.  Frederick is in a little better situation as a clockmaker's apprentice.  His 'master' is at least kind to him.  And, while Hannah does live with her parents, her father suffered a stroke and is unable to work.  So Hannah works as a maid in a hotel for a horrible woman.

The story is told from each of their perspectives, one chapter at a time.  In the beginning, they didn't know each other at all.  But as the story progresses, their spheres gradually interconnect.  I liked the way it was done.  Sometimes stories that are told from more than one point of view confuse me, but this one was really well done.

Most of the story I absolutely loved.  There is a part near the end that could have been left out.  I'm not sure it added to the story at all.  And the rest of the story seems pretty grounded in reality.  So this event really sort of came out of left field and then was gone and didn't contribute to the rest of the story at all.  Kind of strange.

Other than that one part that I didn't understand (although it worked well to get Giuseppe out of trouble!) I really enjoyed the book.  I loved that in the beginning they were all kind of just out there on their own.  Each one was being held prisoner by something or someone and each one of them needed the help of the others to escape. 


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