Monday, August 25, 2014
Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times
This was a magical steampunk adventure that had fits of realism tossed in. The narrator was a bit younger than I tend to read (ten), I mean, I like to imagine I usually read thirteen & up but sometimes that doesn't hold very true.
It still read a little young, but the narrator didn't seem to have too much of a pivotal focus that it was detrimental to the story.
Anywho, an amazon summary, "In nineteenth-century England, a boy is about to discover a mysterious mechanical world he may never escape.
Ten-year-old Jack Foster has stepped through a doorway and into quite a different London.
Londinium is a smoky, dark, and dangerous place, home to mischievous metal fairies and fearsome clockwork dragons that breathe scalding steam. The people wear goggles to protect their eyes, brass grill insets in their nostrils to filter air, or mechanical limbs to replace missing ones.
Over it all rules the Lady, and the Lady has demanded a new son—a perfect flesh-and-blood child. She has chosen Jack. His only hope of escape lies with a legendary clockwork bird.
The Gearwing grants wishes—or it did, before it was broken—before it was killed. But some things don’t stay dead forever.
Fans of books like Splendors and Glooms and Goblin Secrets will find Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times irresistible!" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE
Jack is bored with life. He wishes his mother and father would pay more attention to him rather than ship him off to boarding school during the school year and then shut him up in his room at night while they have company over.
Meanwhile, Lorcan has been tasked to find the Lady a new son. He hails from Londinium; some sort of alternate dimension built to look much like London. Lorcan has selected Jack for his mostly gentle nature and seeks to get him to Londinium to be with the Lady.
Lorcan poses as a master of the mystique and wins over Jack's mother with his magic. Jack knows nothing of the threat that Lorcan poses to him. Lorcan approaches Jack's mother to offer Jack an apprenticeship, which his father is sternly against.
Hearing this, Jack is out of sorts. He would enjoy being an apprentice and it would be out of the ordinary, fantastic etc. His caregiver offers him a reprieve from the mess; she takes him out to the park to have a walk around.
While he's out, he sees Lorcan making haste through the streets. With suspicion, Jack sets off after him and after many twists and turns through the streets of London, he comes across Lorcan opening a door in a brick wall as Big Ben begins to toll the hour. Jack stumbles through the dark before he's climbing dark stairs and emerges out into a confusing street. Jack brushes himself off before he tries to find home...only to find that he's not quite in London.
Jack comes across a mechanical lady who he winds up. She springs to life and announces she's Beth before remarking about his odd clothes and funny skin color (he's pink where she's basically porcelain white). Jack begins to notice other abnormalities about the people around him and he knows with utmost certainty that he's not in his London anymore.
Beth takes him back to the doctor that helps people adapt to the fierce, polluted environment of Londinium, and Jack slowly begins to learn about the land in which he's found himself.
The rest of the stuff the amazon summary talked about isn't really covered or hinted at until later in the book, so I'm going to stop there.
I adored Beth as a character for her sharp innocence of the world around her, yet I appreciated Jack's demeanor of taking on everything strange in the world. It was good to see him in London for a while before he was in Londinium because it gave more weight to his character's actions in Londinium.
I also appreciated the difference between the doctor and "the wizard" if you will; they were a good way to tackle the technology and magical elements of the story in a way that didn't mind melt me.
I did like the overall effect of the book even if it stumbled in a few places to get there. If there were a sequel, I would definitely read it.