Monday, May 7, 2012

Review: "Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms"

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange AdventureHorten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Adventure Reading Level: Middle-grade

Disclosure: I received a free ARC paperback from the publicist in a giveaway offered on LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: The exciting launch title of Sterling's middle-grade fiction list: HORTEN'S MIRACULOUS MECHANISMS.

Enter a wonderful world filled with real magic, mystery … and danger.

As if being small for his age and also having S. Horten as his name isn't bad enough, now 10-year-old Stuart is forced to move far away from all his friends. But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart's swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle Tony--a famous magician who literally disappeared off the face of the earth--and Tony's marvelous, long-lost workshop.  Along the way, Stuart reluctantly accepts help from the annoying triplets next door… and encounters trouble from another magician who's also desperate to get hold of Tony's treasures.

A quirky, smart, charming page-turner, Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms will enchant young readers--as well as teachers, librarians, and parents.

My Thoughts: I would like to note that this book has been long-listed for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2011 in the UK. Quite an accomplishment for a former comedienne with her very first Middle-Grade book (although she has written three adult novels and a picture book). This book was originally released in Great Britain under the title Small Change for Stuart.

While this book is written for the middle-grade reader, it uses a lot of big words, so it will be very good for increasing the reader’s vocabulary, especially since most of those words are almost immediately defined when Stuart asks for the meaning. In that vein, I would highly recommend this book for younger readers, as it will help them to increase their vocabulary and comprehension.

Personally, the book didn’t grip me like others of its type I have read. There is nothing wrong with it – it is well-written, well-edited, has a nicely developed plot and character structure: but it wasn’t really amazing. It is written in such a way as to maintain a good level of tension and excitement, however, and I think it will be well-received by those for whom it was intended.

A sequel, titled Horten’s Incredible Illusions, is planned and scheduled for release in Fall 2012 (released in Great Britain as Big Change for Stuart). You can learn more about Stuart Horten at his Facebook page, or by visiting Starling Publishing.

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