Eoghann Irving's Reviews > The Night Watchman Express

The Night Watchman Express by Alison DeLuca
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's review
Jun 24, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: historical-fantasy, young-adult
Read from June 24 to July 19, 2012

I want to like this book more than I actually did. There are a lot of things I love about it, but the structure is frustrating.

The initial setting, a quasi-Victorian manor in an unspecified location with an orphan girl, mysterious nanny and horrible guardians is wonderful. The setting is vividly realized and the characters immediately captured my interest. Admittedly not a lot actually happens, it's almost all set up, but it kept my interest the entire time.

The second half is rather abrupt change of location and pace. It also only touches on two of the primary characters introduced in the first half and one of the secondary characters.

Certainly there are a lot of new and interesting people to meet, but it's frustrating to have an unresolved cliffhanger just floating there unaddressed for half the book and eventually to discover it won't be addressed until the next book in the series.

What's particularly disappointing is that the story I read is perfectly entertaining in its own right. I just spent a lot of time waiting for something else that was never going to happen. A different structure would have worked better I think.

In style the book feels as though it was an old fashioned childrens' book. The sort that was written for children, not down to children. There are echoes of The Secret Garden or Swallows and Amazons in it's style. This is a good thing.

The series is referenced as steampunk, but based purely on the first book it isn't. There are some references to something magic-like early on, but it's not clearly explained and there's really no technology at all at this point.

Also the title is quite misleading. The Nightwatchman Express really only gets a few mentions in the entire book.

In the end I feel like the presentation of the story hurts it and takes away from something that's actually rather good.
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06/24/2012 page 30
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