Book of the Month: Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms
by Lissa Evans
Cover Review: Though the black and white cover of this book stands out among the normally bright books, as does its short size, I feel like the cover is something that could have been improved. The whole thing is a bit bland. Inside the cover, however, there is a nice map.
The Blurb: When ten-year-old Stuart stumbles upon a note daring him to find his great-uncle's hidden workshop full of wonderful mechanisms, trickery, and magic, he sets out on an adventure of a lifetime. In order to find the place, Stuart must believe the unbelievable- while dodging the annoyingly prying eyes of his triplet neighbors, April, May, and Jun.
With clues to follow, puzzles to solve, and the quirkiest of characters, this uniquely charming fiction debut by comedienne Lissa Evans is sure to enchant middle-grade readers- and believers- everywhere.
This was one of those "Oh, this looks interesting, I think I'll pick it up" books from my local library. I'd never heard of it before, but it sounded fun. It was a great pick.
Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms was a fun mystery with just a dash of magic that really made the book. The mystery had two parts- discovering what happened to his Great-uncle Tony and finding his hidden workshop. The magic part was small but perfect. The plot kept moving along quickly. Stuart's uncle left him clues and puzzles that made me think a bit of Mr. Lemoncello's Library. The writing style was very British, and the author used some great words in her writing.
Stuart Horten was a nice protagonist. He's ten, but he's very short (a problem added to by the way his name can be abbreviated to S. Horten, or shorten). One of the nice things was that his parents were around, even if they weren't helpful to the story. Directly, anyway. His father writes crossword puzzles, so he's always spouting words you've never heard of or saying random facts. His mother is doctor who works with microscopes. Stuart himself is a fairly normal little boy with a thirst for adventure.
All the characters in this book were fun. There are the triplets who live next door- April, May, and June. April is the one he spends most of the book with. She has problems herself, as she wears glasses and can't always see properly. There's also Leonora, who's blind and has a seeing eye dog, and the villain, Jeannie, who has a dumb side-kick named Clifford. (Honestly, the whole time I kept thinking of a large red dog.) Jeannie was a pretty good villain, but I had a hard time finding her motivation. Clifford was better. He followed Jeannie only because he wanted to pass his magic exam.
Overall, I'd say this was a great book. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, fun read. If you like mysteries and magic (both real and fictional) this book is for you.
Let's talk. Have you read this book? Do you like mysteries? Let me know in the comments.