03. The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher

This is one of the books I got in my Waterstones haul. My first trip to Waterstones I got 12 books and in my second I got 8. So really, the moral of the story is that I shouldn’t be left unsupervised in a bookstore.

This was another book where the cover grabbed me first, followed by the synopsis on the back. To me the cover screamed magic and mystery and my first thought when picking it up was ‘what mystery would this book entail?’

The synopsis for this book is as follows:
A magical story of snow and stars by Catherine Fisher. The Clockwork Crow is a mysterious Gothic Christmas tale set in a frost-bound Victorian country mansion. When orphaned Seren Rees is given a mysterious package by a strange and frightened man on her way to her new home, she reluctantly takes it with her. But what is in the parcel? Who are the Family who must not be spoken of, and can the Crow help Seren find Tom, before the owner of the parcel finds her? The Clockwork Crow is a gripping Christmas tale of families and belonging set in snowy Wales from a master storyteller.

Ability to read – there is something about Gothic settings that immediately draws me in. There is a tantalising element to the darkness, the details and the energy of reading Gothic that appeals to me. I knew that I was set up for a good mystery from page one and welcomed the words that Catherine Fisher had written. My ability to read this was good, I could process all that was being told to me and didn’t find confusion in any aspect of the story.

I was drawn in by the details of Seren’s life and by her own emotions. The language was easy to understand and book was straightforward in style/structure that I didn’t find myself confused or jolted out of what I was reading.

Characterisation – From the first introduction to Seren, I knew there was something special about her. Standing on the platform, so cold and alone, I knew there had to be something more than the slip of a girl who was yearning for family life. Seren was a very easy character to love, the book was full of her thoughts and opinions, emotions and actions. I could tell very early on that Seren was an emotional person and that her thoughts and emotions would play a big part in her story. I felt for Seren and the fact that what she wanted for life was so simple yet had been unattainable thus far.

I thought that the clockwork crow was an ingenious addition and a well thought out character. He had a clear voice that was different to all the other voices in the book. I thought the clockwork crow’s sarcastic and grumpy attitude perfectly balanced Seren’s emotionally charged character and enjoyed the dialogue shared between the two of them.

The Family were creepy, dark and unnerving. I got chills in my body as Seren walked through their world in search of Tomas. They were the perfect adversary for Seren, fear but unknown. It allowed me to form my own opinions of what they would look like/be like. The vagueness surrounding The Family and where their magic/their world came from was alluring and curious and rather than being put off with not having a clear picture of them, I was fuelled by questions and chilling excitement as I read on.

Uniqueness – I seem to be saying a lot recently, about how the plots I’m reading are either unique or a different take on an old classic. I don’t mean to sound repetitive but it is rare for me to read a string of books that all give me something new. The format is nothing new, a lot of children’s books play on the orphan or downtrodden child who suffers, faces the situation head on and comes out on top. Yet, it was the way the story was told that I found to be different and refreshing.

I thought the clockwork crow, the family and the general magic throughout the book to be different to what I’ve read before. The clockwork crow certainly, is unlike anything I’ve read before and I enjoyed finding out how the crow had come into being and what it would take to free the crow.

Problems – There were no problems for me in this book, it was something exciting to read and different from what I usually read. What I would love – and I don’t know whether the author would ever do this – would be a story about The Family themselves and why they act the way they do, where the magic comes from, how it works etc. and generally just get more information on them. I have more questions than answers regarding them and I’d love to know more.

Hannah xoxo

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