Review: Lauren James – The Starlight Watchmaker

The Starlight Watchmaker
Lauren James

Hugo is good at his job as a watchmaker to the elite students of the Academy. He’s quiet and undemanding, and just trying to keep his job. When Dorian busts into his workshop to demand his watch repaired, Hugo’s little world will be overturned by a potential terrorist plot.

This cute, delicate little novella is a very quick read for an adult. In fact, it’s so short that I struggled to form an opinion on it at all. Hugo is endearing, far more so than the last ‘poor android’ novel I attempted. Dorian is demanding and clueless, but not in a vindictive manner. I only wish I got to hear more from the baby planet!

It turns some ideas on its head – what if a library needed watering instead of staying dry? What if planets started out as babies that had to go to school before they grew up? I loved the author’s imagination and how it came to light in front of my eyes.

The plot is a very simple one, and there’s no sense of underlying menace – it’s not scary at all. It says that this is aimed at middle-grade to junior YA but I’d put it in the under 10 bracket. I’m pretty sure the 10 year old reader in my family would turn up her nose at such a simple story! I think it would be suitable for a child still learning to read confidently, where the adult and child take turns reading.

Allen & Unwin | 5th August 2019 | AU$14.99 | paperback

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