Friday, July 20, 2012

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms (Lissa Evans)

I saw Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms on the shelf at my library a few weeks ago and each time I returned, I felt myself drawn to it. I couldn't resist the beautiful black-and-white visuals (I can't find the name of an artist anywhere in the book, but shout out to you for your beautiful chapter illustrations and the gorgeous cover) and the blurb sounded promising. The book is small, so I figured it was worth the risk. Even if I didn't like it, it's only 270 pages.

I definitely liked it. Our main character, Stuart (the book was originally published in the U.K. under the title Small Change for Stuart), moves back to his father's hometown and accidentally uncovers a series of clues that will lead him to the workshop his great-uncle (a famous stage illusionist by the name of Teeny-Tiny Tony Horten), which promises to be filled with amazing wonders and illusions of all kinds.

I was really tickled by this book. The blurb promises "the quirkiest of characters", and I certainly wasn't let down in that department: audacious triplets, a bumbling magician-in-training and a man overly preoccupied with factoids and crossword puzzles are just some of our cast, and I enjoyed every moment of dialogue and interaction Stuart had with these characters. 

I had a few issues with the plot, namely that Tony Horten's trail of clues were put down decades ago (I don't know that we're given an exact number of years, but I think it's safe to assume at least thirty). It seems implausible that all of the parameters necessary for Stuart to reach the end of the trail would still exist and function properly. At best, however, it's a minor issue, and I didn't have trouble suspending my disbelief to go along with it. The book is a fun little ride, and I'm looking forward to book two (out in September!).

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms is a clever novel that will delight young readers, especially fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Invention of Hugo Cabret (I was reminded of both on several occasions, especially TMBS). 

My Rating: 4/5
See what I've been reading lately!

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