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The Starlight Watchmaker

(The Watchmaker and the Duke #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  476 ratings  ·  127 reviews
Wealthy students from across the galaxy come to learn at the prestigious academy where Hugo toils as a watchmaker. But he is one of the lucky ones. Many androids like him are jobless and homeless. Someone like Dorian could never understand their struggle - or so Hugo thinks when the pompous duke comes banging at his door. But when Dorian's broken time-travel watch leads th ...more
Paperback, 119 pages
Published July 15th 2019 by Barrington Stoke
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  476 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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Caz (littlebookowl)
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copy, owned
Rating: 3.75 stars
Delightful and sweet!
Alice Oseman
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is SUCH an adorable and fun short story about aliens, androids, and a university mystery. You're in for a treat. ...more
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Starlight Watchmaker is a junior YA / Middle Grade novella that has been written to be particularly accessible for readers with dyslexia. I had wondered if this would make the book feel somewhat boring due to limitations on prose...
But it was exactly the opposite.
In just 119 pages Lauren James has crammed in the most heart warming story about androids, acceptance and the importance of friendship.

The story is set in an elite academy and follows the tale of Hugo, an old model of android who
Lauren James

The Starlight Watchmaker is a novella about a lonely android watchmaker at an alien academy, and the pompous Duke who drags him out of his attic workshop. It's coming out in paperback in July with Barrington Stoke, and it's designed to be really readable for struggling readers.

I had so much fun writing this, as I basically combined all of my favourite things into one story. There are hints of Binti, Starfleet Academy from Star Trek, Saga and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. It's
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is such a fantastic, accessible novella. The main character, Hugo, is an android who works as a watchmaker, and when Dorian comes into his shop, his life is turned upside down. They have to solve a mystery together, but mainly, Hugo realizes that he's been very lonely and that it would be wonderful to be friends with Dorian. Lauren James captures loneliness really well, and it made this story into such a heartwarming read. Combined with the fun worldbuilding, I absolutely adored this book. ...more
Rebecca Crunden
Hugo suddenly felt strange all over. He realised with a shock that he was happy. For the first time in ages, Hugo felt happy. It wasn’t terrible at all, talking to Dorian and getting to know him. It was actually nice.

Oh my goodness, what a gem of a find! I stumbled across the sequel story, The Deep-Sea Duke, on Scribd (what an entrancing cover, oh my gosh) and read a couple of pages before realising it was the second in the series, so I quickly zipped back and picked up this one. It’s so, so
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

First thing - Can we all take time to admire this cover!
I love a good book promotion so when I want to YALC I saw that if you bought this book you got a free little cog-necklace, which is super cute.

This book is only 100 or so pages which is great if you fancy reading something a bit different without needing to know a load of pretext and spending the first half of a book scene setting.
I was transported into the world of Hugo the Watchmaker instantly and learnt about the world in whic
Apr 08, 2020 marked it as to-read
Just sayin’... what a beaut of a freakin’ cover!
rachel ☾
Trigger warnings for abandonment and homelessness.

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Jonathan Pongratz
Original Review at Jaunts & Haunts


I gave this book five stars!

Man oh man did I love this book! I didn't know what to expect having never read anything by Lauren James, but I was seriously impressed.

In a nutshell, this book centralizes on the life of an android named Hugo, who works as a watchmaker/repairer on a university campus on a distant planet. When a student brings a time-travelling watch to be repaired, it sets forth a journey of self discovery that will forever change Hugo's life.

Trigger warnings: sabotage, bullshit attitudes towards minority populations.

3.5 stars.

I love Lauren James' writing so I really wanted to see what she could do with something short given that this was published by Barrington Stoke. I thoroughly enjoyed it but also wished it was, like, 50 pages longer than it was because it literally just hurls you into the deep end. There's no world building at all. There's not a huge amount of introduction to the characters and all the different alien species.
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
First read Jan 2020, reread March 2022

Re-reading this novella in preparation for the sequel was such a great choice and I’m really glad I revisited it. Turns out there was a lot I didn’t remember about this sweet little story and I’m excited to finally read the second instalment.


‘The cogs in Hugo’s chest whirred into motion. He felt like he was filled to the brim with glowing starlight.’

It’s been a good few years since I’ve picked up a YA short story or novella, and this was such a lov
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
The Starlight Watchmaker was is an incredible read. You would not believe the size of this book when you think of how rich the world building was, and all the incredible characters that live within it. Everything was thorough and complex, and so easy to visualise - therefore, making it so easy to become invested in the story being told. I would 100% buy and support a full length novel set within this world.

Hugo and Dorian were the cutest characters, and I just adored their relationship and them
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reread Feb 2021 - I still adore this book and the characters. The plot is so solid and so much expressed in just over 100 pages. Lauren James is a genius.

In just over 100 pages Lauren James manages to not only build a vivid incredible world but also make you fall in love with a brand new cast of characters who are varied and beautiful in their own ways. I adored this and I really really hope there is more to come because I refuse to accept this is all I will see of Hugo and Dorian.
Originally posted to I Should Read That

I absolutely love Lauren James’s The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, so I was naturally thrilled to pick up a copy of her latest book, The Starlight Watchmaker. A novella from Barrington Stoke, a publisher that focuses on readable books for dyslexic and reluctant young readers, I couldn’t wait to get my paws on this little book. I did enjoy it, but I found that I couldn’t quite turn off my detail-obsessed adult sci-fi brain!

There is a lot to love in The Sta
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
ahhh i love it!!
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This title from Lauren James is an original, surprising science fiction story that has strong themes of equality and social justice – albeit for androids in this case. Android watchmaker Hugo doesn’t think he could ever form a friendship with a human but when he meets Dorian, a duke no less, he begins to change his opinion and is drawn into an adventure that gives him the opportunity to break out of his self-imposed solitude and help his fellow androids. A good read that would hopefully tempt te ...more
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is definitely for younger readers, with a very simple ending, but I love anything Lauren James writes
Kirsty Stanley
4.25 stars
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claire Booksnink
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Absolutely loved this book, the only thing that stopped me from giving it 5 stars was that I felt it was cut far too short and the book could have been made a lot longer.
First they make a great discover, then solve a problem for lots of things and before you know it that was the end of the book.
I think this could have been made so much more especially including the second adventure discussed and it really could have been made an epic book. It was well written though for what was there and for
Annika Samuelsson
Jan 07, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: reading-for-work
Hugo works as a watchmaker at an elite academy. The students comes from all over the galaxy and, since it costs to send off your child to another planet, are among the wealthiest in the galaxy.
But that is not Hugo. He's an android that was abandoned by his owner. At the same time he is one of the lucky ones. He has a home, in a dusty attic, and a job. Many of the abandoned androids dont have that.

Dorian, a wealthy and privileged student, comes and demand that Hugo have to fix his Time-travel wat
Apr 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-reads
This was so adorable and heart-warming!

The setting of an academy for students from different planets all across the galaxy was genius and I loved the advanced technology that existed. The characters were wonderful and I loved seeing the friendship form between Hugo, Dorian and Ada.

The plot was fantastic and even though it was a middle grade, it had enough mystery and intrigue to keep me captivated.

About the only negative thing was the price for such a short book. For something that took almost
Tasya Dita
Feb 24, 2022 rated it really liked it
Short and sweet, this book is exactly what I need with imaginative world building, interesting mystery, and great friendship dynamics between Ada, Hugo and Dorian- and potential for something more. I might be read too much between the lines, but it feels like it's a commentary for social issues like class and power dynamics, environmental issues, ageism and even homelessness.

It certainly took me by surprise and I wish it was longer!
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Loved „The Loneliest Girl in the Universe“ and „The Quiet End of the World“. „The Starlight Watchmaker“? Not so much. There were great ideas and likeable characters. But the pieces of the story didn‘t connect seamless. It is a nice children story, missing the layers to be a fantastic story for adults too. So I recommend the story for kids.
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A gorgeous tale of friendship, acceptance, celebrating difference and a lush chunk of science. What happens when a biological meets an android and they discover someone is stealing power?! I really enjoyed this!
Alex Peachman
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an unusual sci-fi story about an android is little more than a slave and how he makes friends with a student who is some kind of lobster creature, and his friend who is a rock formation. Together they solve a mystery around what they think is a terrorist plot. It sounds weird but it's really fun, has some sad parts and packs a lot into quite a quick read. ...more
✨ kathryn ✨
A very cute, feel-good story featuring aliens, mystery, and friendship. Sweet!
Jamie Rose
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Adorable! A quick & easy read but full of heart.
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**I don't respond to messages on here - email me at laurenjamesauthor[at]gmail[dot]com or send an ask on Tumblr instead***
Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and The Quiet at the End of the World. She is also a Creative Writing lecturer, freelance editor and sc

Other books in the series

The Watchmaker and the Duke (2 books)
  • The Deep-Sea Duke (The Watchmaker and the Duke, #2)

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