The Starlight Watchmaker

by Lauren James

reviewed by Yvonne Mes

From the  author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and The Quiet at the End of the World

The Starlight Watchmaker tell the story of friendship between an android and a wealthy student at an intergalactic academy.

In a world where androids are sentient and self-aware it is their rich and powerful human or humanoid masters who decide the android’s individual fates.

When android Hugo  has been abandoned on the planet, he finds a way to make a living as a watchmaker to wealthy students. When student Duke Dorian needs to have his time-travel watch fixed in time for his exam, Hugo and Dorian meet. Fixing the time watch is more complicated than either of them anticipated and in the process of finding a way to fix the watch they uncover a sub-world of discarded and dying androids.

Though there are some astute observations on the divide between the rich and powerful and those who work for them, the main story of the developing friendship between the empowered and disempowered is simple and straightforward.

There were plenty of enjoyable sci-fi details, good world building and a fascinating setting which excites the imagination. If I was a child reader, I wouldn’t have finished exploring this particular world quite yet!

It is not a long story and the action keeps the reader engaged and wanting to continue reading.

The format of the book and even the feel of the page has been adjusted. The pages are smooth and heavier and the colour of the page is off-white or cream and there is extra spacing between words, letters and sentences.

The publisher specialises is creating books and explain them as : ‘hi lo’, meaning the content is appropriate to the age of the reader but the text is edited to suit a lower reading age.

Our short books are less daunting, good for building confidence and great for motivation.

My only comment is that the plot fits more with a younger middle grade then the ‘teen’ 13+ age audience the book is promoted to. The story may have had more appeal to an older readership if the characters were further developed and more complex. However, I think the story works very well for children between 8 and 11 years old.

Barrington Stoke, 2019 Paperback $14.99 Age 8+ ISBN: 978-1-78112-895-4

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