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Archive Book Review: Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms


Archive Book Review: Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms

Being currently obsessed with BBC Sherlock, I found myself drawn to this story for its Britishness and mystery

Book Review Date: February 4th, 2013

Cover Copy

When ten-year-old Stuart stumbles upon a note daring him to find his great-uncle’s hidden workshop full of wonderful mechanisms, trickery, and magic, he sets out on an adventure of a lifetime. In order to find the place, Stuart must believe the unbelievable — while dodging the annoyingly prying eyes of his triplet neighbors, April, May, and June. With clues to follow, puzzles to solve, and the quirkiest of characters, this uniquely charming fiction debut by comedienne Lissa Evans is sure to enchant middle-grade readers — and believers — everywhere.

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms


I had actually planned a set of thicker, adult and young adult books after Romeo Spikes… but I made the mistake of nearly ruining my New Year’s Resolution to read more books each month than I buy, so I had less than two weeks to read two more books… thus the back to back young readers! Anyway…

Being currently obsessed with BBC Sherlock, I found myself drawn to this story for its Britishness and mystery. I was not disappointed. It was a lovely little read that, to be honest, helped me learn (or at least become more familiar with) about twenty new vocabulary words. And I’m not talking, “Oh, an average everyday adult should know these offhand,” kind of words. Oh, no. I’m talking: Numismatology, prestidigitator, sylvan… You get the idea. But it was done so well {through the father’s voice} that it wasn’t at all out of place. Very clever. Aside from new vocab, the book was a lovely little adventure with a dash of magic and plenty of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Plus, the cover is great!

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms

First Line

Stuart Horten was small for his age — the smallest boy in his grade at school — and both his parents were very tall, which meant that when he stood next to them he looked about the size of an ant.

Favorite Lines 

  • Extensive research has revealed Mrs. Horten to be a doctor, Mr. Horten to be someone who sits around reading things…
  • Perhaps, thought Stuart, he ought to tattoo a question mark on his forehead and just point to it whenever his father spoke.
  • She smiled widely, but her eyes were like chips of glass.
  • I thought I might begin a summer project,” said Stuart casually. “Mapping the best bicycle routes in Beeton. If that’s okay?” // “That sounds fascinating. Will you be approaching it from a schematic or a cartographic angle?
  • Another of the boards covering the front window was at that very moment being wrenched free and arrow of light shot across the room, bouncing off the framed picture that he’d looked at earlier.
  • …although he was a magician, he had never actually believed in magic.
  • For all her cleverness, [she] was an awful worrier.
  • …but he’d been wrong. Horribly, ignorantly, wrong.
  • …the combination of potato chips and company was very cheering.
  • Her road isn’t your road … You must find your own way.

Last Word

  • comment

Reader, Author, Bookstagrammer, and Mom; Alexis runs Nerdy Post, a fandom artwork box as well as serves as chief editor and writer on Drop and Give me Nerdy.

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