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The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle (edition 2008)

by Catherine Webb

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175797,866 (3.8)12
Member:charliet383
Title:The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle
Authors:Catherine Webb
Info:Little, Brown Book Group (2008), Paperback, 320 pages
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The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle by Catherine Webb

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I'm not sure there are words for how much I love this book, and indeed the whole series.
- Webb's style of writing is something great, few books have such a strong sense of setting that you can almost feel it in places, but this does.
- The characters, in part, are the usual fare, but they're built on well, becoming something a bit more- Lyle is possibly my favourite character from anything- and the dialogue is just great.
- It took me a couple of times reading through for me to fully appreciate it- the narrative can be quite thick in places; I still find myself having to read certain paragraphs a couple of times, but stick with it, read it again, because it just gets better. ( )
1 vote HatsForMice | Mar 26, 2011 |
It started off as an exciting book with a very unusual protagonist Horatio, but half way through you kind of feel lost and the end is kind of incomplete ( )
  superphoenix | Mar 9, 2011 |
Being a modern young adult fantasy novel about a Victorian scientist (my favorite thing!), this book should have been great. It wasn't. The plot was a muddle-- I never figured out what the "villains" were actually going to do if they succeeded-- and the main characters were all poorly motivated and one-dimensional, ranging from a stereotypically absent-minded scientist, to a gutsy girl thief, to a prim and proper young lord. The characters' attitudes feel obnoxious on occasion, and they often fail to notice the most obvious things; there's a sequence where Horatio Lyle is told by a women that she was hypnotized to attack him, and then he's surprised when she attacks him! I wasn't interested in the storyline or the characters, meaning that by the end it was dull-dull-dull.

Stylistically, it was also aggravating. The book switches into the present tense for random scenes, but what is worse is Webb's tendency to write long passages with nothing but lines of dialogue: no actions, no descriptors, no nothing. This is only exacerbated by one of my least favorite "mysterious" techniques, scenes of dialogue where none of the speakers are identified. I find them boring and obnoxious attempts to generate suspense where none exists.

And then there's a scene where one of the characters inspires Thomas Hardy to write Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Despite being nothing like Tess. I groaned. Loudly.
  Stevil2001 | Dec 19, 2010 |
A good friend recommended this book to me as a hybrid between Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, a combination I couldn't resist. I found her description apt and enjoyed this as a quick, fun read. The author describes various routes and places in Victorian London I wasn't very familiar with, so I think the addition of illustrations would have been beneficial. Overall, however, I thought the book was lots of fun and the ending left me anxious to continue reading about their adventures. ( )
1 vote harumph | Aug 3, 2009 |
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YA. Adventure fiction. In Victorian London at the height of the industrial revolution, Horatio Lyle is a former Special Constable with a passion for science and invention. He's also an occasional, but reluctant, sleuth. The truth is that he'd rather be in his lab tinkering with dangerous chemicals and odd machinery than running around the cobbled streets of London trying to track down stolen goods. But when Her Majesty's Government calls, Horatio swaps his microscope for a magnifying glass, fills his pockets with things that explode and sallies forth to unravel a mystery of a singularly extraordinary nature. Thrown together with a reformed (i.e. 'caught') pickpocket called Tess, and a rebellious (within reason) young gentleman called Thomas, Lyle and his faithful hound, Tate, find themselves pursuing an ancient Chinese plate, a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of polite society and a dangerous enemy who may not even be human. Solving the crime will be hard enough - surviving would be a bonus.… (more)

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