Sheila's Reviews > The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black

The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious... by Eden Unger Bowditch
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it was amazing
bookshelves: childrens, coming-of-age, cultural, historical, humor, mystery, relationships, science, scifi-fantasy, suspense

I read the second of Eden Unger Bowditches Young Inventor’s Guild books recently, and I was hooked. So I immediately ordered a copy of book one.
The Atomic Weight of Secrets, or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black does not disappoint. Steampunk, set in an era of discovery, when railways are new, mills belch smoke, and clockwork fuels intrigue, it brings together five youngsters, with a flavor of Harry Potter or Narnia’s children, steals them from their parents, and sets them up in strange new homes, with a strange new boarding school and kindly schoolmistress. The flavors of freshbaked biscuits fill the air. The chatter of children vies with the cries of crows. And something mysterious is keeping their parents away.

Have the parents been nefariously kidnapped, are they working for the government (but which government—this novel is nicely global in scope), or have the mysterious men in black simply hired their services? Whatever the reason, these men in black are delightfully strange, childish in their odd habits and costumes, haunting with their infrequent words which frequently sound more like riddles, yet oddly powerful. Meanwhile the children, all scientifically inclined, try to plan for escape, and learn to become friends.

Secrets unite them. Secrets separate. And some secrets might even be weighty enough to change the world. There’s an appealing satisfaction to secrets recognized, mystery to those yet unresolved, and fun in the reciting of curious rhymes. There’s joy too in the old-fashioned feel of dual titles—a technique the author applies to her chapters as well. And there’s a a fun duality to wise children who need parents, clever inventions which need time to mature, and powerful strangers who seem so very helpless. Ah, what a strange weight all these secrets bear, and I’m longing to know more of the Men in Black, more of their curious duality, and more of the importance of these children’s inventiveness.

A children’s novel that blends young and old, new ways and ancient, new ideas and time-tested truths, and science and mystery—Eden Unger Bowditch’s Young Inventors Guild series combines the fresh new feel J. K. Rowling brought to children’s literature with the old-world comforts of C.S. Lewis, and creates something truly different, modern and enticing—highly recommended.

Disclosure: I couldn’t resist buying book one after I’d read book two. Now I’m eagerly awaiting book three.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 6, 2014 – Shelved
January 6, 2014 – Shelved as: childrens
January 6, 2014 – Shelved as: coming-of-age
January 6, 2014 – Shelved as: cultural
January 6, 2014 – Shelved as: historical
January 6, 2014 – Shelved as: humor
January 6, 2014 – Shelved as: mystery
January 6, 2014 – Shelved as: relationships
January 6, 2014 – Shelved as: science
January 6, 2014 – Shelved as: scifi-fantasy
January 6, 2014 – Shelved as: suspense
January 6, 2014 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Jean (new)

Jean Thanks for the great recommendation for grandson Daniel's library.

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