The Hunchback Assignments II
Pages: 314 pages
Finished: Sept. 5, 2010
First Published: May 3, 2010 Canada (Sept. 14, 2010 USA)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: YA, steampunk, fantasy
The boy hadn't always been yellow.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.
Reason for Reading: Next in the series. I'm a fan of the author's and I read every new book he publishes.
Modo and Octavia's assignment is to investigate certain co-ordinates where something referred to as big fish has been sinking fishing boats and any ships that enter that water near Iceland. Modo and Octavia are separated and 'tavia does not play a large role in this story. Instead Modo finds himself kidnapped along with a French spy who has been working the same case for her government. Modo and Colette spend this adventure together which takes them underwater to a strange life aboard their world's first submarine; they are taken to the ideological, socialist, utopia the captain is building and protecting. But they have been infiltrated and it isn't long before the Clockwork Guild shows up in the form of Miss Hakkandottir.
I loved this book, even more than the first one I think! Taking to the underwater world is exciting and creates a unique setting compared to book one. One thing I really like that Slade has done here is rather than populate book two with all the characters he has already established, he's chosen a few to be the heroes and villain, given the others smaller parts or mere mentions, while allowing a few new characters to make a fresh story. I find this way of writing a series keeps it vibrant and original. Modo's relationship with Colette was intriguing and very different than his with Octavia. Colette, being French, is more forward with Modo and he experiences some new dynamics with a woman. I loved Colette, she is a fiery character who charges every page she is on. While Octavia is not as central a figure this time around she still has enough time in the story to satisfy fans and she also goes through some emotional experiences that the reader at least can tell have affected her feelings for Modo.
The plot itself is non-stop action with an ever present disturbing atmosphere. The new villain is a creepy presence and Miss Hakkandottir is her glorious cruel and ego-centric self. A great entry in The Hunchback Assignments brings another dark, atmospheric story that starts in an alternate London but travels to America, Iceland and down into the oceanic dark deeps.