Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The Starlight Watchmaker Book Review

If you are new to my book reviews then you won't know just how lucky I am to work with publishing company Barrington Stoke. They provide so many people with books, but not just any books, books that are accessible to everyone including those who may have dyslexia or who might simply be reluctant readers.

This month they are releasing a fantastic story,  so good that they've made it their 'lead title' for July. Introducing the The Starlight Watchmaker.

starlight-watchmaker-lauren-james

At an elite academy where the wealthiest students from across the galaxy come to be educated, Hugo works as a watchmaker in a dusty attic room. But he is one of the lucky ones. Many androids like him are jobless and homeless. 

A privileged student like Dorian could never understand their struggle - or so Hugo thinks when the pompous duke comes knocking on his door with a broken time-travel watch. But when Hugo and Dorian discover that powerful quantum energy is being stolen from the watches, they fear that someone is plotting a sinister scheme . . . 

Can they reconcile their differences to uncover the truth in time?

Written by Lauren James, author of a favourite book of mine (The Quiet at the End of the World), this story is a 20,000 word novella is what I would describe as a dystopian, sci-fi adventure. 

Now I was lucky enough to receive an advanced proof copy, the real thing is even better. Lauren showed it herself on her instagram page. The front cover draws you in with gorgeous gold-foil and glitter, this instantly makes it feel magical.

The premise of this story is that a lonely android watchmaker finds himself caught up in something that could be dangerous, maybe even life threatening when he meets a certain Duke. 

One question is on both of their minds, can they really work together?

Here's what Lauren James herself had to say about the story:

"I had so much fun writing this, as I basically combined all of my favourite things into one story. There are hints of Binti, Starfleet Academy from Star Trek, Saga and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. It's full of sentient volcanoes, bicycle-riding-butterflies, clockwork and gears."

Being a novella (100 pages long) this story is simple yet effective. Each chapter is around 12 pages long, every one managing to make a real impact despite their length.

Something that Lauren does in such a short space of time is build a fantastic fantasy world filled with wonder. The idea that in the future the universe could be filled with aliens and androids honestly doesn't feel that far fetched does it.

The clock is ticking and with each minute that passes, the whole academy sinks deeper in to danger . . . can an unlikely friendship between android and student save them in time?

All of the characters featured were no less that fascinating. The dialogue between them all built up a real depth to both themselves and the world that they were living in, building suspense and making me turn the pages at a rapid rate.

What we as the reader get to learn along the way is the idea that friendships can come from nowhere, that we should in-fact celebrate our differences and instead embrace the idea of kindness to one another.

Be transported to a universe like no other in a wildly imaginative sci-fi adventure from Lauren James, the rising star of UKYA.

The Starlight Watchmaker is a short story that showcases diversity and equality in a wonderfully sensitive manner.

My only complaint was that I would have liked it to have been longer - I know it's a novella - so actually if anything, now it would be amazing if Lauren decided to now write a full length novel featuring these characters.

A great introduction to the sci-fi genre, perfect for teens and adults alike.

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