Genre: Historical Fiction/Steampunk
Size: 400 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: October 1, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got an advanced reading copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program. It was a fantastic read, I really enjoyed it. Extremely well written, I loved the writing style and enjoyed how the stories of three children were woven together.
Giuseppe is an orphan who is living as a busker and trying to survive under a brutal padrone named Stephano. When he finds a green violin that seems magical when he plays it he thinks it may help him escape back to his home in Italy. Frederick is a clockmaker’s apprentice who wants to make something spectacular so that he can make journeyman and set up his own shop. If only he could find a way to build the head for his clockwork man. Hannah is a maid at a hotel; she works long hours to support her father who is paralyzed, her mother who cares for him, and her two younger sisters. When she finds out about a treasure hidden somewhere in the hotel she is desperate to find it. These three teenagers find their mysteries and stories entwine.
I absolutely loved this story. It takes place in London in the Victorian time period. It is more about magical realism than any straight out magic. There is a steampunk theme throughout because of all of the automatons and clockwork that Frederick does. The writing is just absolutely beautiful; it flows wonderfully, is descriptive, and easy to read. I really enjoyed the writing style a lot.
The characters are absolutely wonderful, they all strive to be the best they can and are hopeful despite their dank surroundings. Each of the children has mysteries from the past that they need to solve and are striving to create better futures for themselves and those around them. These characters were absolutely engaging and lots of fun to read about.
In the beginning of the book each chapter is from a different characters’ perspective, but occasionally the characters cross paths. Then as the book goes on the three characters’ stories become increasingly dependent on each other and more and more entangled.
The plot was full of twists and turns and surprises. You never knew exactly how anything was going to end up. There are so many mysteries in this book and it was such fun to read how these mysteries were solved and there outcomes.
There is magic in this book but it is subtle. In this case it is the magic’s subtley that make it feel even more magical. Guiseppe’s violin playing is magical, Frederick’s automaton are magical, and Hannah’s search for the treasure is too.
I loved how nicely everything was wrapped up in the end. This is a book suitable for all ages. The story-telling is very well done and just expertly told.
Overall just a wonderful book. I highly recommend it to readers of all ages. Readers who love mystery in a Victorian setting and with a touch of magic will love this. The writing quality and story telling ability of the author are exceptional. The characters struggle, but are hopeful and I love the way things end. Just a wonderfully told story, I will definitely check out Kirby’s future books.