Postcard For Reader + steampunk

The Hunchback Assignments

The Hunchback Assignments
Author: Arthur Slade
Series: The Hunchback Assignments (#1)
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
How Received: gift

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.
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I love Victorian London. Set a book there, be it in the courts or in the slums, and there's a good chance I'll want to pick it up. (I blame the Parasol Protectorate series for this.) So when I saw this, combined with a new version of Quasimodo, I thought, hey, why not?

I liked the plot and the mechanics used in this story a lot; that, at least, was fun to read and see what would happen. I wasn't really sure what they were building and what would happen next and it was fun to find out when it was time for that. I wouldn't say I was kept on the edge of my seat, but I can blame the characters for that.

Did I find them interesting? Sure. Mr. Socrates and Modo were quite interesting. (And the girl who comes in later, I adored.) But as the story is told through Modo, I couldn't help but find him rather... boring. I mean, sure, he's a horribly disfigured teenage boy with amazing superstrength and the ability to shapeshift his face, but his personality was nothing special to me. I've been done wit the story for a few days upon writing this review and that's all I can tell you about his character. I could prattle on about the girl, but she's not the main character.

And that was what kept me from really liking this book, I think - Modo's lack of personality. Yes, he's supposed to camouflage and be generally dull, but we're in his head! Gimme some spark or something!

Overall Rating & Final Comments: 7/10. Good plot, semi-interesting characters, but nothing sticks out.

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Relevant to: The Hunchback Assignments + steampunk