“Dickens eat your heart out”Sid wrote this review Sunday, October 21, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“ 9/10 Victorian London as only Pratchett can portray it.”John Cox wrote this review Wednesday, October 17, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very fun story, makes me want to read more Dickens, though I know it's not nearly as entertaining as Pratchett. :)”Sandy C wrote this review Tuesday, October 16, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Similar in style to Nation, this book sets out an alternative history of Victorian England, following the exploits of a young tosher who lives by his wits in the slums of London. A chance encounter with a young girl in distress and two emminent gentlemen (one of whom is Charlie Dickens) sends him on a giddy circuit around the gentry, parliament and down into the sewers and morgues of London.
The book is marketed towards children, but I'm not entirely sure the age range it's targetted at. The romance, along with murder, miscarriage and violence, would suggest young adults more than children. I'm not sure how many parents will suddenly falter as they read this to their little cherubs at bedtime.
The book has little of Terry Pratchett's trademark humour, though there is some comedy of errors in Dodger's floundering in the unfamiliar world of high society. The story is told through Dodger's eyes, and so I suppose living on the edge of society leaves little time for laugh-out-loud moments, but I would have preferred more.
I was also uncomfortable with how Dodger met just about every leading figure from that time in the space of a few days, from Babbage and Mayhew through Robert Peel and even to Victoria and Albert, all of whom accepted him as an equal on the say-so of the journalist Dickens. Sweeney Todd I can forgive, this being an alternative past, but Dodger achieving overnight fame for not one but two historic feats of bravery in as many days seemed too coincidental, as did his buying Robert Peel's cast-offs immediately before meeting the man himself.
There was a lot of Samual Vimes in Sir Robert Peel. Historically he was a politician, but in this book his politics are second place to his being a copper of the old school, with a nose for what was what on the streets. I'm afraid that didn't ring true with me.
All that aside, the plot was well written, if a little brief and convenient. It was fun picking up all the Dickensian references (the Jewish watch repairer who had to fix a sprocket or two, for example). I can see it doing well with the young adults. Not my favorite from the master by a long chalk, but not his worst either. ”
“Brilliant”Masha wrote this review Saturday, October 6, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No