The illustrations in this book are worth it in themselves. Beautifully detailed and constructed, they really make the story! They make Hugo's tale wit...moreThe illustrations in this book are worth it in themselves. Beautifully detailed and constructed, they really make the story! They make Hugo's tale with the Automaton truly engaging, and were the primary reason I picked up this book. Is it obvious yet that I am still in awe of those drawings?
As for the story itself, it was interesting, engaging and quirky. I wish there had been more of it, that it had been developed a bit more (especially the ending), but overall it was an enjoyable read. Considering how quickly this 500+ book can be read, I would definitely recommend it.(less)
It started off well. The writing was beautiful, very descriptive, though a bit difficult for something geared towards pre-teen readers. I don't know a...moreIt started off well. The writing was beautiful, very descriptive, though a bit difficult for something geared towards pre-teen readers. I don't know about you, but I don't know many 11 year olds who use "sibilant" and "indefatigable" in passing, but I digress.
The chemistry between Victoria and Elliot, two 11 year old children from vastly different time periods who must go off on a quest in order to save their world from evil powers, is wonderfully executed, and you can really feel their growing friendship. Even if it's unrealistic to believe that only two children could save the world and retrieve two long-lost orbs from a pair of dragons, there was enough intrigue and potential there to make it work. Besides, it was the premise of having an uptight young girl from the 19th century paired up with a shy boy from the 1960s was what drew me in initially. It was also one of my biggest disappointments, as they spent most of the 400+ page book accomplishing separate and seemingly unconnected quests.
The plot for the first 300 or so pages was relatively engaging and had many strong points. I liked seeing Victoria grow as a character, though I think Elliot's growth could have been much more developed. The secondary characters were interesting, though there were so many of them as each chapter was almost a short story unto itself. That being said, while most of the twists were predictable, they were well executed.
My main criticism is that the final denouement was simply too simplistic. All the buildup led to a simple outcome, final battles that just happened, and were easily won. I found myself thinking "is that it?" after reading. Throughout the entire story, it is evident that neither Victoria or Elliot know what is going on. As such I expected either some kind of growth or epiphany on their part, or some great battle where their wits would save the day. In the end, it was neither.... they just won, the end. I expected more, and was really disappointed with how simply everything was resolved. There was so much potential there, and I just don't think it lived up to my expectations.
Perhaps as a younger reader I would have enjoyed it more, but as an adult the ending left me unsatisfied.
When I picked up this book from the library, I was a bit apprehensive due to its cover. Yes I know one should never judge a book by its cover, but thi...moreWhen I picked up this book from the library, I was a bit apprehensive due to its cover. Yes I know one should never judge a book by its cover, but this one was clearly a children's book, and I suppose I hadn't done my research, and wasn't quite expecting that.
Never the less, once I started reading, which amounted to a short read since the book is only about 100 pages long with large type, I was pleasantly surprised.
It's a lovely story about a young boy who faced with the presence of evil little fairies, must save his baby sister from their clutches. Incorporated into the story are tidbits about the darker realm of faery, as well as various folk beliefs about these "wee people". The writing is compelling, though a bit childish for an adult, but definitely worth the read. (less)