Publisher's Note:  

A gripping new series combines Steampunk, spying, and a fantastic Victorian London.

The mysterious Mr. Socrates rescues Modo, a child in a traveling freak show. Modo is a hunchback with an amazing ability to transform his appearance, and Mr. Socrates raises him in isolation as an agent for the Permanent Association, a spy agency behind Brittania’s efforts to rule the empire. At 14, Modo is left on the streets of London to fend for himself. When he encounters Octavia Milkweed, another Association agent, the two uncover a plot by the Clockwork Guild behind the murders of important men. Furthermore, a mad scientist is turning orphan children into automatons to further the goals of the Guild. Modo and Octavia journey deep into the tunnels under London and discover a terrifying plot against the British government. It’s up to them to save their country.

The Hunchback Assignments

by Arthur Slade

Review Date:

Recommended Age:

Overall Rating:

Profanity / Language Rating:

Violence / Gore Rating:

Sex / Nudity Rating:

Overall Review:  

After reviewing the third book in this series, I sought out the first book to see how it measured up.  I am delighted to report that The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade did not disappoint.   Spy organizations in Victorian England battle it out with a sprinkling of steampunk flair.  The action, plot, and dialogue are spot-on, but the young spies, Octavia and Modo, elevate the book beyond mere adventure.  Octavia has spunk and verve without being acidic or catty.  Modo, the protagonist, has the heart of a lion.  The characters have layers that can be peeled back to arrive at intriguing complexities and subtle themes.  The fact that Slade knows how to end a chapter and how to add a touch of poetry is icing on the cake.  Difficult to put down, The Hunchback Assignments is highly recommended!

Content Analysis:  

Violence overall was brief in description and often tended more towards the category of action.  Incidents noted were as follows:  a brief fight involving some punching and a character becomes unconscious; during an inquisition a character scratches another character’s cheek and pokes at the character’s eyeball; there is a scuffle between characters with some pushing; a character is murdered by being pushed from a window; there is a scuffle among characters and some shots are fired (no one is hit); there is an explosion; two characters struggle with punching and kicking and acid burns a character’s face resulting in a fall; characters arrive at a scene where a horse is injured and a man is pinned under a carriage; a weapon wrecks havoc in London by destroying structures; some characters fight with punching, tackling, strangling, and shots are fired (no one is hit); a character drowns.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Mature themes include scientific ethics and experimentation; self-acceptance; control and independence; parental abandonment; the value of individuals versus loyalty to authority/country; priorities and triage in battle; manipulation.

Other content of note was the scientific experimentation and exploitation of orphaned children.  While not graphically described, it was slightly disturbing.  There was also scientific experimentation on animals. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

An opium den was mentioned.

Reviewed By Cindy
No image available