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The Dead Gentleman

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  352 ratings  ·  54 reviews
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 protege to the Explorers, a secret group dedicated to exploring portals—the hidden doorways to other worlds. But while investigating an attercop (man-eating spider) in the basement of an old hotel, Tommy is betrayed—a ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Yearling (first published November 8th 2011)
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  352 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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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!
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Heather Glatzmayer- AASD
This story was very interesting and had a lot of action. It was interesting how the twists and turns kept you wondering what would happen. I also enjoyed that there were two different endings the way the story was written.
I've enjoyed Matthew Cody's Will in Scarlet and first book in the Secret of the Piped Piper trilogy, so I decided to give this one a try. I had a hard time getting into it, but I know that is because I started it on and off two times since I had other books that needed to be read first (library books, due dates, non-renewable items...serious readers understand these plights). It was also hard for me to keep track of whose voice I was reading and what time period I was in as the book alternates b ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a little of everything: drama, action, steamppunk, horror, dinosaurs, aliens. It's an entertaining read. However, older readers won't be particularly surprised at the plot twists or the ending.
Fabian Duran
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It was very interesting reading about these people that explore portals. This book was very amazing and I couldn't put it down. This book made science fiction my favorite genre
Jeff Thomas
interesting and fun, but a bit immature. clever concept, but sometimes the plot points and twists-and-turns are more jarring than smooth and smart.
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Logan Bonswor
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was good. Many steampunk and fantasy elements, so if you like those kinds of books you will really like it.
Aldair Vega
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is my favorite book because its has action.This demonstrates to me that good friends are never going to lets you down or they would go down with you.
Harry Bernstein
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read.

Fun, filled with adventures. I truly enjoyed reading this book. Great mix of science fiction, fantasy, time travel, and more. Well written.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing adventure story with great characters, especially the two main kids and the mechanical bird. I can't wait to share this with kids I know.
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
Brooke Condon
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, it is young adult, but it was still a lot of fun!
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
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are many exceptional elements to The Dead Gentleman. These include an extraordinarily terrifying villain, a society of interdimensional explorers, an awesome steampunk submarine, a snarky, sensible heroine, a breathtaking climax, and an inventive mythology surrounding the backstory. It is therefore a profound disappointment that Matthew Cody does not possess the requisite skill to weave all of these elements into a good story. He tries, and you can tell that he tries, which makes his failu ...more
May 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
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
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
The Dead Gentleman is middle grade steampunk with plenty of action and a rapid fire pace that will keep Tweens engaged. Tommy Learner who prior to becoming an Explorer, was a street kid getting by on his wits and his penchant for thievery. When Jezebel Lemon discovers her bedroom closet is a portal she and Tommy end up meeting and joining forces against the Dead Gentleman. The Dead Gentleman is more undead than dead and is in search of a rare artifact that will help you conquer Earth. This book ...more
Jun 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tommy is a street urchin-turned-Explorer in 1900; Jezebel, an ordinary girl in modern New York City. Their paths cross because the basement of her apartment building contains a portal to an abominable evil that he has vowed to stop. Although separated by a century, the two must work together to keep the dreadful Dead Gentleman from extinguishing all life on Earth, and off it, too. Tommy's steampunk world, Jezebel's monster-ridden Manhattan, and the other realms they visit are all vividly-imagine ...more
Jack Lacey
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. It is full of adventure and suspense. You never can make a prediction that is correct! I like the imagination that Matthew Cody has. For it is full of it! It is just like a little kids nightmare, like there really is a monster under your bed! I like the names of all of the characters, and Matthew Cody even made up new monsters, like the harvesters and attercrops! This book is just very mysterious when you get into it. I like the whole format of it. It is just a really great ...more

Had an interesting premise, and the first chapter was intriguing, but then nothing was happening.

I'm also not a huge fan of switching perspectives, and I hate flashbacks, so when you combine the two, it's pretty much guaranteed I won't be interested.

I'm going to put this out and see if any of the fifth graders like it. Will return with the results.
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It shares three different perspectives. At first there is only two, and they are totally different stories but they all tie in to each other at the end. In the beginning it gives you a peek of what happens in the middle. I would recommend this book to people age 11 and up because it does have some scary parts in it. In this book there is love, hate and a lot of sacrifice. Matthew cody grabs the readers from the first word and doesn't let go until the last word. I really enjoye ...more
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite liked this title!

It started out as very Steapmunk-meets-Ghostbusters, and just sort of went uphill from there. Now I desperately need MORE in this world! More about the Academy, more about Bernard and Tommy and the Captain, and more about what happens next. This universe is infinite, and I really want to see all that it has to offer!

As a note, I also thought this title was excellent at not treating its child readers like....well, like children. There were definite stakes, and everything
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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).
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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.
“Never underestimate your ability to surprise yourself.” 2 likes
“Can’t worry our way through life, eh?” 2 likes
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