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Mission Clockwork: Gefahr für das…
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Mission Clockwork: Gefahr für das britische Empire (original 2009; edition 2011)

by Arthur Slade, Eva Plorin (Übersetzer)

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3912627,416 (3.63)41
Member:snurp
Title:Mission Clockwork: Gefahr für das britische Empire
Authors:Arthur Slade
Other authors:Eva Plorin (Übersetzer)
Info:Thienemann Verlag (2011), Gebundene Ausgabe, 350 pages
Collections:Your library, To read, Fiction
Rating:
Tags:Steampunk

Work details

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade (2009)

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Set in the 1800s in England, the story starts off with Dr. Hyde working on his latest formula. It has rather gruesome side effects. Meanwhile, Mr. Socrates is looking for the unusual and he finds it in a very young boy named Modo who can, to some extent, change his appearance. Skipping ahead several years, Modo’s first true test comes when he’s left on his own in London. There he finds a way to make enough money for food and lodging, which leads him to meet Miss Octavia Milkweed. Together, they get pulled into a devious plot, one that has Dr. Hyde at the center.

This was a very fun story that gave a new twist to some old classics. Of course there is Dr. Hyde, who I think obviously comes from the story The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Then there is Modo himself. His full first name is Quasimodo, which is the important character from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Plus there’s a bit of The Wolf Man (a classic 1940s movie) going on too. And if I want to stretch things a bit (there’s the need for Modo to wear mask sometimes), perhaps there’s a touch of The Phantom of the Opera as well. Slade has done a great job of plucking certain elements out of these classics and spinning them into an entertaining tale set in a steampunk Victorian England.

Modo and Tavia (short for Octavia) were the stars of the show. We get to see snapshots of Modo growing up in the care of Mr. Socrates. He’s a stern figure and Modo gets most of his human contact from Mrs. Finchley, a governess and care taker, and Mr. Tharpa, his Indian fighting instructor. Although Tavia comes into the picture later, we learn about her upbringing through remarks she makes or her inner dialogue. Both of these kids (who meet when they are in their teens) have interesting backgrounds and Mr. Socrates is obviously shaping them for bigger things. I really liked that we aren’t sure for most of the book whether Mr. Socrates’s goals are good, bad, or simply selfish.

Dr. Hyde is one of those evil characters you enjoy hating on. He’s totally self-absorbed, running these cruel experiments solely for his own ends. He’s not the only evil one. There’s a fascinating lady with a steampunked mechanical arm and also a crippled man made whole by metal and gears. I do have to say I was a little disturbed by Dr. Hyde’s experiments on the dogs. Oh, how that made me want to see him ended!

The steampunk elements are definitely well in place with this Modo/Tavia adventure. I have read one of their other adventures, a graphic novel called Ember’s End, that was described as a steampunk western but had very little steampunky goodness in it. In contrast, The Hunchback Assignments does not disappoint in this aspect. There were small touches here and there throughout the story, and then the larger elements such as replacement body parts.

Modo himself is quite charming. His upbringing is not your standard schooling with extracurricular activities. His unusual looks could easily be called ugly but his morphing abilities give him some lee-way in fitting in. He’s clever and strong but also very shy about who sees his real face. There’s a lot to relate to in this kid. Tavia is also a treat, in different ways. She’s had to learn to be clever to avoid the pitfalls of street life, but she’s a different kind of clever than Modo. She’s also quite pretty and she knows it, which allows her to use her beauty to gain information. I was very glad to learn, as the story progresses, that she can also be a very loyal friend.

All told, this was a excellent start to a YA steampunk adventure series. I look forward to reading more of the series.

Narration: Jayne Entwistle was better than I thought she would be. I think because I eyeball read the graphic novel Ember’s End, I already had certain voices for Modo and Tavia. Entwistle hit Tavia’s voice perfectly. However, I was expecting a deeper voice for Modo as an adult. Now since he’s not an adult in this book, but ranges from a toddler to a 14-year-old, I think Entwistle did a really decent job. Also, she did have deeper male voices for the older men like Mr. Socrates. I loved her English accents. Also she was excellent at portraying the emotions of the characters. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Oct 31, 2016 |
Modo was born malformed and misshapen but also with a very unique and marvelous gift. After being saved from the life of the traveling freak show by the mysterious Mr. Socrates, Modo is trained to be an agent for the Permanent Association.
When Modo stumbles upon an organization planning to attack the British Parliament, he teams up with fellow agent, Octavia Milkweed, to take them down before it is too late.
I was expecting more. I'm not sure exactly what, but more. However, given the grade level of this novel, I am not too surprised that I was a little let down. It is, after all, a middle grade novel.
That said, this book was an easy read. I liked that Modo resembled the Modo from the Disney film. I was surprised by the other characters I met in this book, mainly Dr. Hyde and Mr. Socrates, and found it interesting that they weren't like the characters I remember from their own stories.
I did not like that this book was both its own story but at the same time still the classic story in many ways, at least what I remember of it, it has been a while since I have read the classical version. All in all, it was a decent, middle grade novel and I would recommend it to middle grade aged readers. I am, at this point, unsure if I will continue to read this series. ( )
  Stephergiggles | Feb 14, 2016 |
One word: flat. No wait, I have lots more words. Dreary. Miserable. Highlights the worst of humanity while providing us with a completely unimaginative story arc. When I got to the climax of the action I couldn't possibly believe that that was all it was - I had guessed as much a hundred pages ago. Maybe this would appeal to a certain age of young boy, but I was just not feeling it. I would have abandoned it, but it was barely over 200 pages, so I slogged through it. Felt like 500 pages by the end. I will not continue with the series. ( )
  chessakat | Feb 5, 2016 |
In Victorian London, fourteen-year-old Modo, a shape-changing hunchback, becomes a secret agent for the Permanent Association, which strives to protect the world from the evil machinations of the Clockwork Guild.
  lkmuir | Dec 9, 2015 |
Yes, but Kindle.
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Slade ensures that the fanciful elements never overwhelm the story through his careful handling of the gallant Modo and the canny Octavia, another young ward drafted into action. Modo’s unusual predicament is handled with aplomb, and children will empathize with his role as an outsider who craves acceptance, even as they revel in an outlandish plot that ends with a promise of further tales of danger.
 
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For Tori,
with all my love
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Six hunting hounds had perished in previous experiments.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
When Mr. Socrates, a member of the shadowy Permanent Association, hears of a hunchbacked infant with the ability to transform his appearance, he decides to take him in. Naming him Modo, he raises the boy in isolation, training him to become a secret agent. Then, when Modo turns fourteen, his education is complete. He is transported to the streets of downtown London and abandoned, penniless, to try to survive.
But Modo is resourceful, and he finds a way to get by, keeping to himself...until one day, when the beautiful Octavia Milkweed knocks on his door. Soon, with the help of Mr. Socrates, they find themselves uncovering a sinister plot being carried out in the very sewers beneath their feet. Will they be able to stop the mad scientist Dr. hyde before he unleashes his monstrous plans upon unsuspecting Londoners?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038573784X, Hardcover)

A gripping new series combines Steampunk, spying, and a fantastic Victorian London.

The mysterious Mr. Socrates rescues Modo, a child in a traveling freak show. Modo is a hunchback with an amazing ability to transform his appearance, and Mr. Socrates raises him in isolation as an agent for the Permanent Association, a spy agency behind Brittania’s efforts to rule the empire. At 14, Modo is left on the streets of London to fend for himself. When he encounters Octavia Milkweed, another Association agent, the two uncover a plot by the Clockword Guild behind the murders of important men. Furthermore, a mad scientist is turning orphan children into automatons to further the goals of the Guild. Modo and Octavia journey deep into the tunnels under London and discover a terrifying plot against the British government. It’s up to them to save their country.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:53 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In Victorian London, fourteen-year-old Modo, a shape-changing hunchback, becomes a secret agent for the Permanent Association, which strives to protect the world from the evil machinations of the Clockwork Guild.

(summary from another edition)

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