Publisher's Note:  

Secret agent Modo's next assignment? Find ancient Egyptian ruins hidden deep in the Australian jungle and the mysterious God Face, rumored to be a powerful weapon—anyone who looks upon it will be driven mad. And he must find the God Face before the evil Clockwork Guild does!

The Hunchback Assignments #3: Empire of Ruins

by Arthur Slade

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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
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