As I browsed the library’s website and shelves, I often picked up The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby, but put it right back down. I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to it – I wasn’t in the mood for a fantasy novel (which it isn’t!), I needed to find picture books to review on my blog instead of novels, it was too thick.
Then my daughter checked out the play-a-way (a digital version of the audiobook) and listened to it. When it was her turn to check out an audiobook for us to listen to in the van, she chose The Clockwork Three. I still had lots of objections:
“It’s 10 CDs! That’s too long!” “But you’ll love it Mom. So will my siblings.”
“How will we even listen to it in a reasonable time?” “We can keep renewing it. And if you run out of renewals, I can check it out on my card.”
“I don’t know. I’m not sure I’ll like it.” “Oh Mom! You will! Trust me!”
So I trusted her. And we are all glad we did!
At first, my younger daughter was NOT into this book. She didn’t care much about Giuseppe or Frederick, even Hannah didn’t really attract any interest (the three main characters).
But about a third of the way through the book, Madame Pomeroy (for whom Hannah is working) decides to take Hannah and Frederick to the opera. Suddenly, my 11yo was interested – fashion! jewelry! beauty! and hints of a budding romance! And every time we got in the car, she bounced up and down until I finally had the car turned on and the audiobook playing.
The Clockwork Three is story of how the lives of these three children, Giuseppe, Frederick & Hannah, interweave in ways they hardly realize until the end of the book. In addition to the fore-mentioned fashion and budding romance, Kirby includes plenty of action, mystery, horrific villains and unexpected heroes.
And best of all – the writing. Oh – the rich descriptions! The amazing metaphors! Here’s one example:
An idea seemed ready to light on his [Frederick’s] head, and he froze where he stood, afraid he would scare it away if he moved.
I loved this book. My kids loved this book. Marc Thompson excellently narrates the audiobook – accents, characters, consistency. As someone who reads aloud to my children daily, I’m amazed at his talent because I sure could not (and do not!) read as he does.
Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Also: Madame Pomeroy is a fortune teller. This part of her is not a huge portion of the book, but she tells Hannah’s fortune when Hannah first starts working for her. Later in the book, she is acting as a medium, calling forth the spirit of a dead person for some of the villains in the book. I chose to ignore the fortune-telling, but did pause the book and discuss the dangers of seances with my children before we continued listening.