Alison Randall reads The Clockwork Three (and gets depressed)

Often when I read a book I think, I can do this. I can be a writer. Other times, especially while reading certain authors, I despair.  Am I crazy? There’s no way I can write this beautifully. Shannon Hale and Carol Lynch Williams are two authors who do that to me (really, Carol). And a few months ago, I found another.

It happened while I was reading THE CLOCKWORK THREE, by Matthew J. Kirby. First I was pulled in by the realness of his setting. I could see it, feel it. Then I was struck by his fresh descriptions, this one, for example: “you’re white as a plucked turkey.” What a vivid imagine, so relateable, but something I wouldn’t have thought of myself. Thus I began to wallow. But not enough to keep me from getting lost in the story.

THE CLOCKWORK THREE follows three children, a busker—a boy who’s compelled to play his violin on the streets—an apprentice clockmaker, and a hotel maid. Each tale is intriguing on its own, but they’re woven together over the course of the novel to form a delightful tangle that’s part mystery, part treasure hunt and part history—with a hint of magic. It’s the kind of book I would have loved as a girl and I wasn’t surprised to find my own 13-year-old taken with it. She did have one complaint, though. It needs a sequel. Can you get on that, Matt?

If you’re prone to author envy leading to feelings of inadequacy then read this book at your own risk.  If not, read it with a light heart and enjoy. Of course, you could always attend one of Matt’s classes and hope that some of his prowess will rub off. That’s what I’ll be doing.


This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. TA Demings

    nicely written review. I’ve heard of “clockwork three” a couple times before, but I might just have to read it now, because it sounds pretty good.

  2. Courtney Lowe

    I totally understand what you’re going through! Not only did I love THE CLOCKWORK THREE, but I just finished Franny Billingley’s CHIME and thought, “Woe! Woe upon me! How will I ever write as beautifully as Billingsley? As powerfully as Zusak? As hysterically as Bray, or as creatively as Stiefvater?”

    The answer is simple: every author brings something different into the world. Celebrate the talents around you, and embrace the idea that your own contribution is just as vital as anyone else’s. We’re all telling the same stories, but those tales are colored by our own experiences, our passions, our phobias and our fears. Embrace the work you feel you were put on this Earth to do–not just for yourself, but for all of us!

  3. beccabirkin

    Love your title, and your blog post. I need to read Clockwork Three. I felt the same way about Icefall’s stunning language and descriptions.

  4. Debbie Nance

    I agree that Matt’s great descriptions made you feel like you were there in the city with his characters. This would be a great historical fiction, but then Matt adds the fun fantasy elements. What a great job! I’m sure that kids would love to read this book. I’m excited to have Matt on the faculty and hear him speak at the conference.

  5. Melanie Skelton

    Add another one to the list. This book sounds like a must read. Even if it does make me wonder how I could ever do this well. I think we’ve all experienced this. Courtney said it well though. Only you can write your story.

  6. Acacia Woodbury

    Wow, this really sounds like something I I could absorb this summer! I used to read a lot of books like this and for some reason I stopped… Now I have a reason to get going again! Sounds like fun! Thanks!

  7. Amy Hackworth

    Great review, Alison. I can totally relate to your feelings of author envy.

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