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The Dead Gentleman

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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  170 ratings  ·  29 reviews
A many-worlds adventure novel from the acclaimed author of Powerless!

The Dead Gentleman is a wild ride between parallel New York City timestreams—1901 and today. Eleven-year-old Tommy Learner is a street orphan and an unlikely protégé of the Explorers, a secret group dedicated to exploring portals—the hidden doorways to other worlds. But in the basement of an old hotel, h...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Soulless by Gail CarrigerPhoenix Rising by Philippa BallantineChangeless by Gail CarrigerBlameless by Gail CarrigerThe Last Adventure of Dr. Yngve Hogalum by D.L. Mackenzie
Steampunk
151st out of 318 books — 548 voters
The Clay Lion by Amalie JahnThe Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon LedwithKnot in Time by Alan  TuckerLightmasters by M.G. WellsTime Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
YA + MG Time Travel
103rd out of 155 books — 138 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 733)
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Betsy
Steampunk will never supplant some of the better known genres out there in the hearts and minds of children. Kids walk into my library every day asking for fantasy, mysteries, funny books, scary books, and what have you. They don't tend to ask for science fiction unless it's part of a school assignment, and if you ask them if they'd like some Steampunk they look at you like you've started speaking in tongues. The word means nothing to them (and very little to quite a few adults as well). Nonethe...more
Shanshad Whelan
A middle grade steampunk time-travel adventure! I read Cody's Powerless a few years ago and loved it. He hasn't lost his touch, that much is evident. The subject matter of this book may be less familiar to young readers than the superhero realm of the last book, but I think any middle grade reader looking for some wild adventure may find this a good read. Lots of fun!

And there's room for more stories with our heroes in the future!
Erica
When Jezebel first sees Tommy, she thinks he's a ghost. When she finds out the truth, it's even stranger. Tommy is a member of the Explorers' Society, a group that knows how to unlock hidden portals to other worlds. But sometimes when they go to these other worlds, something dark follows them back to Earth. The Dead Gentleman is building an army and preparing to take over. After he attacks the headquarters of the Explorers' Society, Tommy and Jezebel are all that stand between humanity and the a...more
Becky B
Tommy Learner is an apprentice Explorer. Which means he travels between various worlds through portals and explores. It also means he has extended experience fighting the monsters that live in closets and under beds and in basements (all of which are seriously nasty beasties and deserve the fear kids give them). Tommy was originally a street thief in the Bowery of New York City in the 1800s, until he stumbled across a handoff in a back alley involving a peculiar mechanical bird (which Tommy snat...more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
When a long forgotten basement door is uncovered in the lobby of Jezebel’s apartment building she can’t keep herself from taking a look. What could be down the rickety steps in the damp, cement darkness? A boy actually. And he’s got a message for Jezebel.

“I don’t have much time. But you’ve got to be warned. Keep safe and trust your instincts. Be careful. Be smart. Be afraid. The Dead Gentleman’s Coming.” (page 26)

Then he disappears. Like, poof! Gone. Be afraid. Check! The rest? Not so much!

The f...more
Sara
Steampunk, time travel, and, dare I say it… zombies? Matthew Cody delivers all of the above with aplomb in his forthcoming book “The Dead Gentleman.” The story centers on two children, excuse me, young persons. Tommy is a street thief in the New York at the dawn of the 20th century, and Jezebel, is an average young lady of today. Tommy’s adventures start when he steals a clockwork bird from a rather dead looking gentleman, who nevertheless, resents the loss of his property. The flight from the D...more
Kater Cheek
I really enjoyed Matthew Cody's first book, POWERLESS, so I was delighted when a copy of Cody's latest MG fantasy THE UNDEAD GENTLEMAN arrived in the mail.

Unabashedly steampunk, this novel throws steampunk elements at the reader like a magician flinging cards. Submarines! Goggles! Mechanical birds! Time travel! One of the two protagonists, Tommy Lerner, even comes from the right time period. Tommy's an Explorer, last of a secret society devoted to exploring the hidden mysteries of the world. Jez...more
Anne
Tommy is an orphan in the 19th century. When he steals a mechanical canary from creepy skeleton (the Dead Gentleman), he gets involved in a world threatening battle of good versus evil. He becomes a member of the Explorers Society, exploring portals, worlds, and traveling through time. He meets Jezebel Lemon and they join forces for a fast-moving action-packed steampunk adventure.
The door is left wide open for a sequel, but this story is complete (ie, no horrible cliff hanger).
M.
The second half of this book is terrific. Having enough patience to get to the second half is a problem. The narrative style is confusing. The story cuts between Tommy, a child explorer in roughly 1900, apparently being betrayed by a friend and killed, to Tommy in present times sort of appearing in a hotel basement, to Jezebel in present times encountering the sort of Tommy in said basement and trying to figure out what's happening. Once the stories meet up, about half way though the book, the s...more
Susie
This was recommended when Child-Lit listserv members were sharing time travel titles. My rating is partly colored by the fact that I don't like lots of description with numerous inventive machines/creatures/landscapes. This one seemed to throw in everything but the kitchen sink. It was a bit confusing at times (I had to re-read the year on the chapter titles more than once, and the "rules" sometimes seemed to morph), and got much more exciting when the Dead Gentleman finally met Jezebel. Not my...more
Josh
Contrary to what other reviewers have said, I enjoyed the beginning of this book. I think Cody respects the reader and does not quickly lay out the world in which the story takes places. I enjoyed the book and found the characters to be interesting although somewhat predictable. Overall the story was entertaining and engaging, but I felt that it wrapped up too quickly. I think I would give this book 3.5 stars if possible, but given the choice between 3 and 4 I selected three. Although I enjoyed...more
Nancy
If you like steampunk literature, this is for you. Tommy Learner is living in New York City in 1900. He is a street kid who supports himself by stealing. One day he steals a magical metal bird from a strange looking man. Now he is being pursued by monsters. He is finally rescued by the Explorers’ Society, a group of dead gentlemen who travel through time. When the Dead Gentleman attacks the Explorers’ Society, Tommy is trapped. He is found by Jezebel but it is now modern time and Tommy is a ghos...more
Debbie McNeil
What I loved: it's a good sci-fi book (an underrepresented children's genre IMHO) that is accessible to average readers (not 500 pages), it has a strong female character, it had some cool steampunk stuff and the monsters du jour: zombies!

What I liked: the theme of selflessness, friendship, the greater good....a satisfying ending that still leaves it open for a sequel.

What I didn't like: the shifting narrators in 1st & 3rd person, the overabundant rotting flesh descriptions.
Tony Keefer


Time travel fantasy adventure with some steam punk elements. Thought it was a fun read, but not as much as Cody's other book, Powerless. Tommy and Jezebel were likable characters but I had some difficulty with the changing narrative viewpoint and switching between the various time threads. I think some middle grade readers will like this book because of the action, but they would probably need to be a strong reader to follow all the plot twists.
Karen
This was an interesting story with a mediocre output. I'll give this book a big old meh. It throws enough steampunk at you to classify this as steampunk. I saw "time-travel" as a label and got really excited, but we didn't spend enough time in the past. We spent more time on alternate planets. I like the main character boy, the female is okay. The captain is the most fascinating and isn't in it very long.
Christie
Think of all the things that an author might write to target pre-teens boys. This book is a major cluster-you-know-what of all of them. I'm seriously disappointed in Matthew Cody. I loved Powerless and could not stand this book! I kept reading because I kept telling myself "it has to get better- it's Matthew Cody." Wrong. So wrong.
Jason Keith
Sucked me in from the beginning. Fast paced, engaging characters, mystery, a villain whose presence is felt even when he's off the pages, excellent descriptions without being ponderous. A quick, light read - a fresh break from the 600 page, multi-book behemoths modern fantasy writers feel compelled to write. Just a great, fun yarn.
Kay
Yes, I am giving the coveted 5 stars for this book. Not my genre (sci-fi, time travel and a little steampunk) and I couldn't put it down! Scary, fast-paced, ghoulish...all of the things that The Graveyard Book wanted to be but wasn't.
This book is creepy and pretty amazing. Keep up the good writing, Matthew Cody!
Douglas Zaznaow
Although technically fantasy, I opened this book sure it would be sci-fi. Even halfway through, I maintained that view. I mean, what fantasy book has wormholes and time travel and the split of reality? Therefore, I strongly recommend this book for anyone who likes a good, mind-bending sci-fi read.
Annie
A perfectly good, run-of-the-mill steampunk adventure story. There are no big questions, no big answers, and no hidden agendas. Just interdimensional time travel, cool gadgets, fierce monsters, and other unsolved mysteries of the universe.
Lorraine Stinson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marjean
Time travel, portals, undead, what more could a boy want in a book. This isn't my favorite genre but I enjoyed the fast paced somewhat chaotic attempt to save the world. Seems a little scary for real young readers.
Auntie J
I enjoyed this story. Not for the faint of heart, some younger readers may find it a bit scary in places, but for older kids that don't mind some sci-fi with their adventures I think they may well enjoy this one.
Judith Weaver
started out strong but hit a place around page 175 where I found myself saying okay, I'll give it another 25 pages. When I have to push to read a book, I wonder what the kids will do with it.

Rosemary Bruner
This is a well told tale with many twists and turns. It is a great adventure story featuring strong girl and boy characters. Lots of supernatural elements included to add spice!
Brenda Kahn
Hang onto your hats and consider pocketing some Dramamine for this Steampunk page turner for middle grade readers looking for plenty of action!
Jenn
Steampunk for middle readers! It is AWESOME!
Ethan E


Spooky and confusing but good
Alice
fast paced adventure
Samanthalala
Samanthalala marked it as to-read
Oct 24, 2014
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Originally from the Midwest, Matthew Cody now lives in New York City with his wife and son. When not writing books or goofing off with his family, he teaches creative writing to kids of all ages.
More about Matthew Cody...
Powerless (Supers of Noble's Green, #1) Will in Scarlet Super (Supers of Noble's Green, #2) Villainous (Supers of Noble's Green, #3) Achtung, Superheld!

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