The Hunchback Assignments is a young-adult steampunk adventure that follows Modo, a deformed orphan with some extranormal abilities, as he is raised and pressed into the service of Queen and country. The story combines elements of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
What I Liked
- The story is fun and fast-paced.
- The protagonist is very relatable.
- Some of the ideas in the story are very compelling.
What I Disliked
- Some of the technology is rather ridiculous. Yes, this is a steampunk story, but the "regular" steampunkery doesn't seem as well-grounded as in, say, the stories of theClockwork Century or the Leviathan trilogy. In addition, there is some mystical "life force" or some such, which might be at home in a fantasy novel, but seems out of place here.
- Several of the characters---Mr. Socrates and Dr Hyde, especially---are very stereotypical.
- The actions of the antagonists seem poorly motivated.,
- Of the young-adult novels I've read recently, this one feels the most like a kid's book. Somehow, the factors I mentioned above combine to give that impression.
- The narrator, Jayne Entwistle, does a good job of making the characters' voices distinct, but her own voice is rather whiny and annoying.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I give The Hunchback Assignments 7.0 out of 10. It's entertaining, but a little juvenile.