Customer Reviews for

The Clockwork Three

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Every boy or girl, no matter how old, should read this book.

I'll try to tell you why. I believe at some time every child, no matter who or where they are, feels at least once and maybe several times like a slave of sorts, even in the best of times and in the most favorable of conditions. I know I did, and most of the people I've...
I'll try to tell you why. I believe at some time every child, no matter who or where they are, feels at least once and maybe several times like a slave of sorts, even in the best of times and in the most favorable of conditions. I know I did, and most of the people I've talked to enough about it to know, did also. Even though I was raised in pleasant circumstances with everything I needed, I did. Nonetheless, I had red hair and freckles, and my skin burned like the dickens. Ginger hair and abundant freckles that multiplied like crazy when I stayed out too long in the sun didn't appeal to me, not at all. Neither did the painful blisters from my sunburns. And that is putting it mildly. I felt like my light complexion made me a slave to it. I knew that my red hair made me an object of ridicule and bullying, and there were times when I utterly hated it and thought almost no one else, except perhaps another redhead, could ever understand. THE CLOCKWORK THREE is the title of Matthew J. Kirby's novel about three young people that every person can identify with who is in or has experienced similar circumstances of crises, big or small: Giuseppe, Hannah, and Frederick. It is set on the eastern seaboard in a bustling city of the United States around 1900. Those three young characters provide ample opportunity for every young reader to find a friend to identify with relative to feelings of enslavement to something, whether it's freckles and red hair or something else much more or less serious. Take as a mentor either the orphaned Giuseppe, who must play his violin in the streets for money and turn over all the earnings from doing so to an evil master, or the lovely and tender Hannah, who must work her fingers to the bone with little opportunity or future as a maid in a high-class hotel in order to provide for her impoverished family, or the handsome and strong Frederick, the young apprentice to a clockmaker who can't remember what happened to him earlier in his life so that he lost his mother and ended up in an orphanage. Because, if you do, you'll find more than the magic in Giuseppe's green violin found as flotsam in the bay, or in the automaton Frederick has long dreamed of bringing to life, or in the treasure in the park Hannah hopes to find to deliver her family from poverty and worse. You will find the magic of friendship, of sacrificing yourself for someone else, and of loyalty to both people you love and to principles. This is Matthew's debut novel and what a grand one it is. You will love his tight storylines that will carry you away into the world of the three children; you'll marvel in the way he weaves his prose together so flawlessly, and you'll find satisfaction in the ease with which he employs metaphors and other literary devices. And characters! Oh my, the characters. Awesomeness. Steampunk, fantasy, history, it has it all, subtly. But most of all, it has heart, in abundance.

posted by wreddyornot on October 1, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

an interesting blend of realism and fantasy, adventure and steampunk

When Giuseppe finds the green violin, he doesn't think it will help him escape. He doesn't think anything can help him get away from his ruthless padrone and back to his home and his siblings in Italy--certainly not a violin, even if it is so much finer than the one he ...
When Giuseppe finds the green violin, he doesn't think it will help him escape. He doesn't think anything can help him get away from his ruthless padrone and back to his home and his siblings in Italy--certainly not a violin, even if it is so much finer than the one he usually plays on street corners every day.

Frederick doesn't need to escape anything, but he must become self-sufficient--of that he is certain. Being apprenticed to Master Branch is fine for now. But the sooner Frederick can complete his clockwork man, the sooner he can become a journeyman. The sooner that happens the sooner he can have his own shop--his past at the workhouse left far behind.

Hannah has already given up so much she scarcely knows what to want. Since her father's stroke she has had to leave school and take work as a maid. Her family is just scraping by on her meager salary. When Hannah hears talk of a secret treasure, she starts to wonder--could it be the way back to her old life? If she can find it can she really solve all of her family's problems?

Giuseppe, Frederick and Hannah don't know each other. Under normal circumstances they might never have met. But soon the magic of the green violin and other strange happenings bring these three children into each others lives. Together they might solve all of their problems and make their dreams come true--if they can learn to trust each other and themselves along the way in The Clockwork Three (2010) by Matthew J. Kirby.

The Clockwork Three is Kirby's first novel.

This book is an interesting blend of realism and fantasy, adventure and steampunk. Kirby weaves the elements together seamlessly creating a city so real it is easy to forget that the backdrop of this story is fictional.

The story takes a sudden turn near the middle of the story as some of those fantasy and steampunk elements manifest. They work and they add to the story, but part of the semi-realistic charm of the story is lost in favor of more fantastical elements. Perhaps because this turn appears so late in the story some aspects of the plots resolution felt rushed or abrupt although still satisfying after a fashion.

Kirby's writing is particularly excellent at the beginning of the story as he subtly brings the children together in chance encounters until all of their stories overlap. The writing is atmospheric and often quite charming.

Possible Pairings: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, Clockwork by Phillip Pullman, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

posted by MissPrint on February 28, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    ????????????????????

    Is this a rip off of The Invention of Hugo Cabret?

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    Ug...

    I really hated reading this book. At a certin spot in the middle of the book, it got really depressing and hopeless. Font read it. Dont waste your money.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    I did not like it at all!

    I hated it compleatley!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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