The folks at MBR released a review of Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy today! We’re really excited to post it here!
Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy pairs lovely illustrations by Carolyn Arcabascio with the first book in a satisfyingly original, compelling series for ages 9-12, introducing Willamina Gilbert Snap, an eleven-year-old who discovers there’s a force keeping the world from destruction – and that force is comprised of Idiots.
She should know: she’s apparently one herself, and her destiny is to never see home again – among other things.
Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy represents Willa’s “first highly illegal memoir” and details her venture into Grandeur, a city of time-traveling dragons, talkative cats, and scientific discoveries unknown to Outside.
There’s a lot to relish about Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy; not the least of which is an approach that offers much food for thought about the structure of Willa’s world and the science and psychology behind it: “The problem is that geniuses – both capital G and small g – either think you understand everything they’ve said as perfectly as they do, or that you’re as dumb as dirt. It’s one of their biggest flaws.”
From the baristas’ strange brewed creatures (“a hermit crab the size of a basketball, a foxlike cashier wearing a hat and vest, and a small winged dragon perched in a cage, preening its bright green feathers“) to devices that rent unused brain space, Willa sweeps readers along. Sentient Clockwerks, a cat-run curiosity shop, and steam-powered rhino cabs coexist in a setting the author describes as “polypunk.”
It’s unusual to see such sci-fi depth and detail in a title directed to young adults, but this is precisely what makes Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy such an appealing production: the characterization is solid while its fantastic setting will intrigue ages well beyond its intended 9-12-year-old audience.
Time vortexes, ghosts, and the costs of navigating this odd world make for a complex but thoroughly engrossing story recommended for young sci-fi and fantasy fans who hold a prior attraction to books such as John Bellairs’ House with a Clock in its Walls. From its engaging drawings to its powerful message, Idiot Genius will leave readers musing about Willa Snap’s adventures long after the winding story concludes. It is highly recommended for young adults seeking something compellingly different in tone, approach, and perspective.
Standing in the hallway was a man enveloped in steam. I say man, but honestly, that was up for debate. His leather coat seemed normal enough, but the cloak draped over his shoulders was studded with small steam pipes puffing away at regular intervals. WAS THIS GUY STEAM POWERED? In one hand he gripped a brass-topped cane, in the other, a clipboard covered with gears. Perched on his head was a top hat mounted with aviator goggles. A monocle—a monocle!—adorned his left eye. He must have had a good twenty pounds of brass gadgets strapped to him. And I couldn’t have told you what a single one of them did.
Excerpt from Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy. (Coming Fall 2017.)
We emerged into a hazy courtyard. The Blasted Dragon’s stone exterior looked like two immense dragons curving around face to face, their outstretched wings forming a high-pitched roof. A row of blasted steps between their smoking snouts appeared to be the only way in or out. A rumbling shook the cab.
“What’s that?” asked Nimet nervously.
Bertie glanced uneasily at the top of the steps.
“Wait for it,” he said grimly.
A few seconds later, the dragons’ mouths erupted into a fiery red blaze, completely engulfing each other’s heads.
Nimet let out a little shriek.
I turned to Bertie. “That’s fake, right?”
“Yeah . . . never really had the nerve to check that out.”
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Carolyn Arcabascio’s sketch of Willa in her Clockwerk costume.
Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy, An Idiot Genius Novel.
By Richard Due
Coming this December to a bookstore near you!