Monstrous Devices from Damien Love is aimed directly at the young teen reader market and as the contents of the storyline are almost too real at times, making this one very scary book; a little judicious direction from parents could be considered as very helpful, especially if the child is one that still occasionally finds monsters under the bed! Don’t we all at times.
The cover has the one liner ‘Beware of things that go click in the night’ which immediately presents a feeling of sort of knowing what may be in lurking in the pages and could be considered an indicator this may be a Spielberg or Hitchcock style thriller for young readers.
Alex, who is twelve, receives a gift from his grandfather of what appears to be an old tin robot, with a note saying ‘this one is special’ but it does not take too long for Alex to begin to wonder just what it is his grandfather has sent him, as things in his already somewhat abstract world, are becoming more so, horribly, terribly, dangerously so!
The plot rages across Europe from Prague to Paris as Alex and his grandfather, who conveniently arrives to help out just as things are really going from bad to dreadful, try to unravel the mystery of why the little robot has such Machiavellian powers and how or who programmed it to behave in such a manner.
Of course there is the evil villain, the hero and one of the more interesting aspects of this fast paced story is that it is based around history; that of the Golem of Prague, where folklore has it that squat clay figures made by Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague (known as the Maharal; 1525-1609) in an attempt to protect the Jews of Prague from anti-semitic attacks, came to life. (ref: my Jewish Learning). This folkloric aspect is one which would make a very interesting discussion topic, among the many others within the storyline, with school groups or within a family.
One of the other topical aspects, considering the advanced scientific levels of robotic engineering now available is, can or will or do, robots really come to life and have a possibility of becoming all too human.
Brilliantly descriptive with a well-crafted use of language Monstrous Devices captures the imagination and the emotions, with hopefully a sequel following to discover just what the little old tin robot has planned next.
|Publisher||Rock The Boat|
|Distributor||Bloomsbury Childrens Books|