What is Steampunk? It’s a lot of things. It’s four Englishmen traveling across India in a huge, steam-powered mechanical elephant (Jules Verne, The Steam House, 1880). It’s fantastic airships, goggles on top hats, arcane gadgets, waistcoats and parasols. It’s Victorian England if the technologies of Victorian England never faded. It’s mechanical computers, spinning propellers, clanking machines made of gears, iron, and brass. It’s London lit by gaslights, mysterious villains, and mad scientists with diabolical powers. It’s fun! So, grab your aviator scarf, don a pair of long evening gloves, pocket that watch that turns back time, and come join us.
Authors and series mentioned in this article: Richard Due (Idiot Genius), Stefan Bachmann, Peter Bunzl (The Cogheart Adventures), Alan Gratz (The League of Seven), Patrick Samphire (Secrets of the Dragon Tomb), Marcus Alexander (Keeper of the Realms), Emma Trevayne, Joel N. Ross (The Fog Diver), Brian Selznick, Philip Reeve (Fever Crumb)
Abducted into a secret world, eleven-year-old Willa Snap takes readers on an imaginative journey through a place filled with mechanical people and fantastical machines. There’s wit and passion in the dialogue as author Richard Due delights with the first installment in the young adult series of IDIOT GENIUS novels, “WILLA SNAP AND THE CLOCKWERK BOY.” Don’t miss heart-stopping escapes and time machine-building dragons as Due weaves and winds a thrilling, and highly satisfying, novel.
There is plenty to like about this novel. It is full of fun, and clearly the product of a quirky, inventive mind, ideal for children’s writing. Willa is a smart, likeable child with no prejudices. She, her genius mother and practical father (no problem with gender stereotypes here) are kidnapped and taken to a world where they experience bizarre encounters with a variety of unlikely entities. The narrative is often very witty and the absurdity of the story is what carries it along. The pace is fast and the plot farcical in places which is what children will like about it. This would appeal to the 10-12 age range, although a certain amount of intelligence is assumed, otherwise too many of the jokes would be missed.