When Jack finds himself on the other side of a magical doorway, he thinks that it is all quite wonderful. At home, his mother wouldn’t let him do anything fun. But here, in Londinium, everything runs on steam and clockwork, and people are outfitted with metal limbs. A world with metal faeries and dragons who breath scalding steam is so much more exciting than sitting in the kitchen eating Mrs. Pond’s cake while his mother’s friends watch a magician perform tricks in the locked parlour.
But soon Jack realize all is not as it seems in Londinium. He was brought here to become a new son, one of flesh and blood and with a beating heart, for the Lady. And she will stop at nothing to have him.
He was far from home, surrounded by magic and clockwork, and surely this windup girl was wrong about Mr. Havelock. This was brilliant.
I’m not going to lie: I 100% purchased this book because of the title. I mean, it just sounds like a magical story. And I was not disappointed.
Jack’s adventures in Londinium were magical with just a touch of danger. In the same vein as the Pevensies in Narnia, Dorothy in Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Harry in Hogwarts, Jack meets a cast of mechanically magical characters. Beth, a windup girl, Dr. Snailwater, the doctor who built her, Xeno, the man who gave Beth a soul, these wonderful characters introduce Jack to Londinium, a steampunk version of London.
Lorcan Havelock and his Lady are so intriguing. They are lonely, and manipulative, and sad, and so desperate for love that they are incredibly terrifying. What makes them so effective as villains, is that Emma Trevayne makes you begin to sympathize for them. Not so far as to justify their actions, and not so far as to make you forgive them, but you do begin to feel sorry for them. And once you begin to feel sorry for them, and you begin to understand why they do what they do, you begin to see that Lorcan and his Lady will not stop until they get what they desire. Which is the most dangerous and scary thing about Jack’s adventures in Londinium.
When Lorcan did his magic – part of his magic – he did so alone. It was a private matter, after all.
Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times is a magical romp in a steampunk world. Complete with faeries, wish-granting birds, and mechanical people, this book is a lovely escape from our world of flesh and blood and sunshine and electricity. Not only would I recommend this novel to children in upper elementary and middle school, but I would recommend it to teachers who are looking for their next read-aloud.