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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

The Hunchback Assignments: Empire of Ruins

Author: Arthur Slade
Originally Published: 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
Source: Rachel had an extra copy, so gave me one.

The Story

From the back of the book:

While Modo has spent a quiet winter recovering from his adventure in the dark deeps, talk of ancient Egyptian ruins in the midst of the Australian rainforest has been swirling around London. A temple bulges with riches but also contains danger: the infamous God Face. No one kows what the God face is, but it is rumoured to be a powerful weapon – anyone who looks upon it will be driven mad.

Modo’s next assignment? Go to Queensland, Australia, to discover the truth behind the God Face. He won’t be alone: Octavia and even Mr. Socrates will be accompanying him, as well as Mrs. Finchley, Modo’s beloved caregiver from childhood days. But hot on their trail is the Clockwork Guild, with a brand-new weapon – mechanical birds capable of transmitting signals . . . as well as delivering poison.

The Response

Oh, I loved this right from the very third paragraph, while Modo was falling from the treetops in the rainforest of Australia:

He did find a large thorn in his shoulder and grimaced as he pulled it out and tossed it aside. He’d been convinced as he plummeted earthward that death was waiting for him on the rain-forest floor. But Fate had been kind. He couldn’t even attribute his survival to his acrobatic skills, because he had been screaming and flapping his arms all the way down like a frightened gosling.

There’s something about a flailing Modo that completely makes my heart giddy! Love love love!

This certainly lived up to all of my expectations from the previous books in the series. There was Adventure! and Danger! to such an extent that I had a VERY hard time putting this book down, just in order to make sure that Octavia and Modo got through the book okay.

And after the last one, I wasn’t sure Slade could introduce me to yet another female character that I positively loved. Octavia is kick-arse, as discovered in the first book. Colette, the french spy, was wonderful in the second book. In this one, little Nulu completely broke my heart when she and her clan completely accepted Modo for who he is, with all his disfigurations and everything. Loved her so very very much!

Speaking of awesome females, I really wish that Colette was in this one, but I’m holding out hope that I’ll get to see her again at some point in the future.

So yes, loved this. Love the fact that every one of the books takes place in a different environment – the first in London, the second on the Atlantic, and this one in Australia. I think this is certainly part of what allows the books in the series to feel so new all the time. They’re all in new locations each time, with new exciting characters being introduced, and although the Clockwork Guild is behind it all, they’re not around so much that you get tired of them.

So yay, that’s so much fun!

The Bottom Line

Definitely a good book in a wonderful series. Loved, and absolutely 100% cannot wait until the next one comes out! Highly recommended to fans of steampunk – this is one of my fave steampunk series, and anyone who is a fan of the genre should definitely read it!

Other Reviews

Back to Books, The Written World, Imperial Beach Teen Blog. Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Let me know and I’ll add your link.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:08 am July 13, 2011.
Category: Young Adult
Book Author(s):
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  • Ruth

    Great review, sounds fun! I need to read this series or I’m thinking certain friends might disown me. ;)

  • Court

    Ruth – ha, if you’re talking about Rachel, she’ll probably be more likely to disown you if you don’t read Jolted, one of his other books. :)

  • Kailana

    Yay! I loved this book, too, so I am happy that I am not alone!

  • Court

    Kelly – Yay for loving this book!! :)

  • Ruth

    Court – Duly noted. I was referring to Rachel. :)

  • Deb Marshall

    Good to hear how much you loved it! One of my book club kids justdiscoverd the series and is thrilled to know there are more books!