Monstrous Devices was a net-galley book from the publisher. I got it very close to the publication date listed, although it seems to have been published earlier, maybe in different formats, or it’s been picked up by a bigger publisher. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful for the opportunity to read and review it.
Monstrous Devices (Monstrous Devices #1)
On a winter’s day in a British town, twelve-year-old Alex receives a package in the mail: an old tin robot from his grandfather. “This one is special,” says the enclosed note, and when strange events start occurring around him, Alex suspects this small toy is more than special; it might be deadly.
Right as things get out of hand, Alex’s grandfather arrives, pulling him away from an attack–and his otherwise humdrum world of friends, bullies, and homework–and into the macabre magic of an ancient family feud. Together, the duo flees across snowy Europe, unravelling the riddle of the little robot while trying to outwit relentless assassins of the human and mechanical kind. [goodreads]
There is plenty to enjoy about this book. A boy and his grandfather, hurrying away on the train to Paris in winter. A toy robot which seems just a bit, well, different. Unusual events happening to Alex at school (and the bullying not playing too large a part in the overall book, thank goodness….)
The story is well written. There is plenty of description, which brings some strange things to life, without making it feel padded. Particular turns of phrase are exquisite, but I didn’t stop to highlight them. It feels gothic and steampunk all at the same time. There is mystery, there is a legend, and it unfolds almost like a junior James Bond movie.
And yet… it is very uneven. Several times I wondered whether I had to pick it up again (usually after a particularly distasteful episode) only to find the next piece charming and exciting, really driving the story forward. Much is not explained. Some is explained in ways that ten year old boys will probably love. I tried comparing it to Lockwood & Co, but it seemed crueller, yet not as sophisticated. I tried to compare it to Artemis Fowl, and got much closer to the feeling I had.
There is plenty to enjoy about this book, but somehow I didn’t find the whole satisfying. Very much like my feelings for Artemis Fowl, in fact. I wish it the same success, but I won’t be reading any more of this series.'Plenty to enjoy about this book, especially if you love Artemis Fowl' MONSTROUS DEVICES #monstrousdevices by Damien Love Click To Tweet