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Nice idea, but could have been better
on 25 August 2008
This is typical Pullman stuff - fantastical, pleasantly grim and unconventional. In this case the story is about clock makers in Germany, and though no specific date is given, it can be assumed that it is around the turn of the nineteenth century. In the margin there are occasional text boxes containing extra information, as though the voice of the author, which adds a little extra context.
The tale itself contains a story within a story, and this, along with the fact that the subject matter concerns time, has inspired Pullman to be inventive with chronology. This is a nice idea, but isn't so good in it's execution, leaving it a little confusing in places, though without detracting from the story. It is very readable, and surprisingly violent for it's target audience (this would have a younger readership than His Dark Materials) - at one point a man is killed by being stabbed through the neck by a clockwork knight. A good book, but not quite there.