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The Motherless Oven

(The Motherless Oven #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,221 ratings  ·  244 reviews
In Scarper Lee’s world, parents don’t make children—children make parents. Scarper’s father is his pride and joy, a wind-powered brass construction with a billowing sail. His mother is a Bakelite hairdryer. In this world it rains knives, and household appliances have souls. There are also no birthdays—only deathdays. Scarper’s deathday is just three weeks away, and he clin ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published October 21st 2014 by SelfMadeHero (first published October 7th 2014)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,221 ratings  ·  244 reviews


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Erica
Pro-Tip:
To understand this story, you should be one/all of the following:
1) On an acid trip;
2) One of those insufferable philosophy enthusiasts who only lives in the world of Academia and understands everything about everything;
3) Not me.

I have no idea what I just read. It was sort of like when 25 images per second are flashed in front of your face and you can grab a smile here and a postage stamp there but those are the only patterns your brain has time to process before the next second of 25 i
...more
Emma Darcy
Dec 14, 2014 rated it liked it
In almost every review of this comic people are lamenting that they felt like they were not smart enough to understand what they were reading. You are smart enough. The philosophy of this narrative is futility. Scarper spends his remaining two weeks asking questions to which there are no answers, on a quest to find his missing father based on the interpretation of the song of a broken God. He is trying to escape his death, but he can't. The story makes you feel trapped because it is a trap. Like ...more
Sam Quixote
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
In Scarper Lee’s world, actual knives come crashing down from the sky when it rains, spinning wheels are TVs, and the weather is controlled by giant spiked mines floating in the sky, defying gravity. His parents are machines, his dad’s chained up in the shed, there are lions at the gates of his school, and a weird girl keeps following him. After his dad leaves the shed – either stolen or escaped – Scarper has to brave the strange world to get him back. But with his deathday fast approaching, wil ...more
Raina
Honestly, I kinda don't know where to start.

It follows the adventures of a pretty unlikeable kid in a british place with school uniforms. People create their own "parents" - they're machines. The sky rains knives as a matter of course. TV is replaced with watching "the wheel," which is vaguely kaleidoscopic. Houses have various kinds of "gods," which have functions. The police are elderly people riding around in carriages.
This kid's dad disappears, and he and a couple other kids go on the run t
...more
Figgy
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-pending
Review to come.

Not sure what I just read, but... I think I liked it?
Ashley Daviau
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was such a delightfully weird little graphic novel! I’m so glad I happened across it at the library because I probably would never have read it otherwise. You definitely have to think outside the box a little to get into this story, it’s definitely way out there! But that’s also part of what makes it so good, it could never happen but thinking about it is wildly entertaining. The artwork pairs perfectly with the story as well and really brings it to the next level. My only minor complaint i ...more
Dov Zeller
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Don't go out at knife-o'clock without a table for an umbrella.

And if your "death-day" is coming up soon, make sure to brood and start hanging out with the strange duo, the tiny 'alternative' crowd at your school, two people who show up in your life under dubious circumstances and are either very untrustworthy and reckless, or the first almost honest and caring people you've met?

Oh, and have a crush on someone who doesn't do anything to earn your trust and with whom you have no comforting emotion
...more
Dave Schaafsma
A coming of age YA story with some crazy world-making that may make it edgy enough for some young people to like it. Teens make parents in ovens, the sky rains knives, there's a clock that tells you it is knife o'clock…. appliances have souls.. there are death days, not birthdays… but even though it is this invented kooky world, the kids all seem familiar and there's a familiar kind of resolution for a coming of age book. I thought it was pretty good, not great. ...more
Sara
This is one dark acid trip of a book ladies and gents and it may mark the first time I haven't had the foggiest idea what was going on and still managed to enjoy the hell out of myself. If you'd like to take a trip to a strange little city in England where children "make" their parents and you've got to get inside at "knife o' clock" unless you want to be murdered by falling cutlery and "deathdays" take the place of birthdays then I welcome you to the world of young Scarper Lee who's death day i ...more
Skye Kilaen
This is possibly the strangest comic I've ever read and liked. I'm not sure how to describe it without giving things away. The narrative begins with this sentence: "The weather clock said 'Knife O'Clock' so I chained Dad up in the shed." Scarper Lee, a teenager, is the "I" in that sentence. Chaining up his father is actually a good thing to do, since in Lee's world, the weather can kill you. So can many other things. It's a bleak world, with a seemingly authoritarian government of some kind, but ...more
Melki
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
*


I'm really torn on what to rate this coming-of-age/youth-in-revolt tale: there was much I liked about it, and yet . . . I don't feel that it really deserves more than three stars. The story was compelling, but at the same time I had no problem putting the book down for weeks at a time. I'm curious enough about the plot to want to read the sequel, though I wouldn't pay too much for it.


It did make an inte
...more
Elizabeth A
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphix, kids-ya, 2017
This is a graphic novel that I just didn't understand. It's a sort of coming of age story in a bizarre setting. In this world, children make their parents, there are no birthdays but deathdays, I can't even continue. I liked the art, but the story itself didn't work for me, probably because those off-the-wall parents. There were some plot points that I enjoyed, but overall, this one left me scratching my head wondering what it is that I missed. This might actually end up with 1 star upon further ...more
Emily
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
My first thoughts when I finished this graphic novel were "What the hell did I just read? I think I really liked it but I also may have just lost my mind. How in the heck do I describe this?" It was like a literary drug trip but in a good, although frustrating at times, way? If you break down the book to it's most basic plot it's a coming of age story. We question why things are the way they are and if we have a choice in them. Scarper Lee lives in a fantastical world where children make their p ...more
Ashley
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this is the kind of story i need in my life. slightly absurd, vague mystery, loveable/hateable characters A++++
Lisa
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I... what.
The Mother Ruins will haunt me forever. Gordon's mother.. oh my God.
...more
Stewart Tame
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I started this series with the second book, The Can Opener's Daughter, first. Having now read this book some events in the other make more sense, particularly the section where the action suddenly jumps forward. The events in this book fit fairly neatly into that hole, so that's one mystery solved.

I'd have to say that, "The weather clock said, 'Knife o'clock.' So I chained Dad up in the shed," is one of the all-time coolest opening lines I've ever read. "Knife o'clock," means literally that. Kni
...more
Dasha M
Dec 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I don't know what that was, but I liked it. Poor Gordon. ...more
Printable Tire
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully weird, a bit like Ben Marcus meets If... I would HIGHLY recommend it, save for the fact it has one of the WORST endings I've ever read, unless of course a sequel is in the works.... ...more
Amy Nicole
Mar 09, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm still figuring out how I feel about this one, but it was a really cool universe.

I feel like the reader can either try to look deeper and find things to prove that the plot is really clever and mysterious, or they can take it at face value and see it as a confusing, meanderig story with a cliffhanger that makes the themes more important than the plot and characters. I feel like truly good books can be enjoyed in both ways - whether you're just reading them for what they are or whether you're
...more
Star Crowned Book Throne
To describe it in one word: weird. This book is really odd and I mean, really odd. Maybe I would have enjoyed it had I understood it better but unfortunately I was slow on the uptake. I didn't like any of the characters and found them to be severely annoying through most of the novel.

I will say that for the beginning of the book, I did like it to some degree due to how everything was fleshed out, but after a while, things went downhill and I got really bored quickly. I think the low star rati
...more
John
Dec 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Weird, but in a good way. I found myself reading faster and faster in an attempt to get some of the oddities explained, but that only made the abrupt ending feel that much more like a cop-out. Nothing is explained, no loose ends are tied up, and nothing actually happens. To be fair, that is one of the themes of this book. To quote one of the best tv shows of 2014, "time is a flat circle," so nothing really begins and nothing really ends. And Motherless Oven is right there with Rust Cohle when it ...more
Kendal
Sep 18, 2014 marked it as dnf
dnf 7/21/2015

This is too weird for me.
Jodie "Bookish"  Cook
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Book Review
Title: The Motherless Oven
Author: Rob Davis
Genre: Graphic Novel
Rating: *****
Review: Having never read many graphic novels before I was really excited to receive the Motherless Oven. The first thing I noticed was the art style it is very gothic in nature with thick lines and grey wash giving it a very ominous and dark feel. We learn that in this universe parents don’t make children, the children makes the parents. The parents range from robotic to painting that are alive. Also in this
...more
Madison Lourette
The Motherless Oven is an odd book about a universe where children make their parents, there are knife storms, the children know when they die but don't celebrate their birthdays, and is very dystopian. Its like the dystopia for a dystopia, and it takes place in a British sounding place. The people way of speaking is very reminiscent of British slang. It's a super weird book and can be difficult to understand. The art style is a stylized realistic. I am both very confused by the book, but its ki ...more
Wendle
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is weird. I’m a fan of weird. So when the very first page is about it raining knives… yeah, i’m pretty much in love already. So many strange things are introduced quite rapidly, and all without explaination, as if it’s all humdrum and routine–which it is for the characters in this world. Weather clocks, kitchen gods, wheels people watch like a TV… and the only way to figure out what the hell all these things mean is to keep reading. It’s one hell of a hook.

The art, too. All black and w
...more
Bill
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the tradition of the Oz and Alice stories, young people find themselves exploring an unusual world with its own cryptic rules and logic. Like our own world in many ways, there are genuinely odd differences that are gradually revealed -- parents are bizarre mechanical beings, history is believed to be cyclical, and appliances and machines are "gods" with their own understanding of this world's secrets. The three kids at the center of the story have been raised in this world, so they accept a l ...more
Daniel
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This graphic novel is delightful. Somewhere between a Douglas Adams joint and a clockwork orange, the book seeps character. However the use of words in different ways, and the bizarre setup of the world can feel overwhelming, but if you stick with it, things begin to make sense and the story is well worth getting through.
raphael ✧
i wasn’t planning on reading the next book but now i have to
Katie_Potatie
What a wonderful story of some pretty weird things. The humour was fantastic. At first i wasn't sure how it was going to explain this weird and wonderful world, but it was very clever. ...more
Lizz
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous, bizarrely abstract world makes this question-filled story gripping

See my other ten word book reviews at my blog: https://tenwordbookreviews.wordpress....
...more
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