Thursday, March 12, 2015

Book Review ~ The Clockwork Mechanicals (The Complete Trilogy) by Peter R. Stone

The Clockwork Mechanicals
(The Complete Trilogy)
by Peter R. Stone

Eleven-year-old Brad Millner's got a problem. 

For starters, he's lost his memory. He can't even remember his own name. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he's stranded on a space station. A space station that’s going to crash into the earth in less than one hour and kill millions of people. 

That means Brad’s got less than an hour to disable the space station’s force field so that it burns up when it enters the earth’s atmosphere. The only catch is that a terrible Clockwork Mechanical – the living machine that is behind the diabolical plan to destroy the world – is out to get him. 

Join Brad on his frantic quest to disable the space station's force field generator and save the world. See him team up with some unlikely companions - a swarm of little clockwork butterflies, a mechanical spider, and a girl with ADHD - as he tries to outsmart the Clockwork Mechanical. 

And once that's done, he's got two more Clockwork Mechanicals to outsmart. Otherwise, the human race is done for. 

I know....I know.  You are probably thinking why am I reviewing a childrens book when normally I don't.  Well, this author also writes Young Adult fiction as well and I love his writing so I want to share this delightful trilogy with you today because it's really a great story that any kid will enjoy.

There are some spoilers with this review, but I figure it's the parents or an adult that will be reading the review, therefore it won't ruin it for the actual reader. If you don't want to read the spoilers, then just scroll down to the end where the bold print picks back up.  

This trilogy is geared toward Age Level: 7 - 12 | Grade Level: 2 - 6

Book 1
This journey starts with Brad as he tries to find out why his memory has erased and how he arrived at a strange location which turns out to be a space station. There he meets the Orb who informs him that he has a very important mission to complete - he must save millions of lives on Earth from The Mechanical who is determined to destroy it all. Along the way, he meets up with Megan who he learns is his classmate and that he was always mean to her because she is different than all the other children. He finds out that even though he doesn't remember anything about her, Megan is pretty smart even if she gets distracted a lot. We also are introduced to Spidey (a mechanical spider who acts like a dog) and some pretty cool butterfly-like mechanicals which do some pretty cool things. Can Brad and Megan save millions of lives before it's too late?

Book 2
Brad, Megan, Spidey have just left the space station after defeating the Mechanical and turning off the force field therefore saving millions of lives. They now find themselves upon an offshore drilling platform – the Orb has another mission for the trio. This mission involves stopping the Mechanical from lowering a nuclear bomb down a well shaft that is between two tectonic plates. If this bomb detonates, well, let’s just say it won’t be a pretty site – again, millions will die. Brad wants nothing to do with this mission, but the Orb tells him that he made this mess and now he has to clean it up. Of course, Brad remembers none of this because the Orb had erased his memories before the Space Station mission. As Brad, Megan and Robby try to find the bomb within the hour deadline they run into many obstacles. Can they succeed in this mission or will millions of lives parish?

There are new characters introduced in book two –Roach and Robby. Robby is from Brad’s world and like Megan, Brad has not been nice to him in the past either. Of course, Brad still does not his memory back, but throughout book two, he is acquiring more and more information about his life. I liked Robby’s character a lot and think he adds a lot of depth to the story. Roach is a mechanical with some awesome tools that help out a lot with this mission.

Book 3
Brad, Megan, Robby and their mechanical friends have just stopped the Mechanical from dropping a nuclear bomb and now find themselves on a high altitude airship, fifteen miles above the earth over Antarctica. The mission this time? The gang must stop a Mechanical from enlarging the hole in the ozone layer. If they fail, all mankind, the animals and most of the plant life dies. The Orb does let them know that this will be the last mission.

The many obstacles that must be passed are a lot harder this time but with Brad having flashbacks of what he has forgotten, he has a better understanding of what he is dealing with.

Another new character is introduced, Georgia, and again Brad remembers something – he remembers who this girl is. At school, he called her Dumbo because she was mentally disabled. Even though he appears to be getting his memories back, he suddenly does not want them because of the person he was before.

We also find out what Spidey, Roach, the butterflies and all of the other mechanical beings really are and Brad finally understands a very valuable lesson. What’s the lesson you ask? Well, just read this fun story to find out!

This trilogy is perfect for young kids as it demonstrates problem solving skills, teaches to be kind to others and to be more understanding of children with disabilities. It also educates kids on environmental issues. The author has also included pictures to help the reader visualize the space station, off-shore drilling platform and the high altitude airship which really adds to the story. It really is the complete package and I applaud Mr. Stone for creating this wonderful and entertaining piece of writing.

I like that the Orb wiped Brad's memory so that he could have a different perspective on his classmates that were deemed 'different' than everyone else. Kids these days can be really cruel to other kids that seem different, and this story really showed that there is a reason for everything and they should not be judgmental - if they just stop and give the 'different' kid a chance, they might just surprise you. At least, that is what I got out of it.

This well-written and creative trilogy is an absolutely delightful read that is action-packed and guaranteed to keep young readers interested. It is a story that will appeal to both girls and boys.

5 stars

Peter Stone, an avid student of history, was reading books on Ancient Greece from the age of four. Periods of interest include the ancient world, medieval era, Napoleonic times, and the Second World War. He still mourns the untimely passing of King Leonidas of Sparta and Field Marshal Michel Ney of France.

A product of the Cold War Generation, Peter Stone studied the ramifications of a nuclear missile strike when he was in his senior year of high school, learning the effects of nuclear fallout and how to (hopefully) survive it. He has ever been drawn to post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels and films, and eagerly devoured The Day of the Triffids and John Christopher's Tripod Trilogy when he was a child. He is also an avid fan of science fiction, and his favorite books include the Lensmen Series by E.E.Doc.Smith, anything by Alastair Reynolds, and the Evergence trilogy by Sean Williams.

Peter Stone graduated from Melbourne School of Ministries Bible College in 1988. He has been teaching Sunday School and playing the keyboard in church for over twenty-five years. His wife is from Japan and they have two wonderful children. He has worked in the same games company for over twenty years, but still does not comprehend why they expect him to work all day instead of playing games.

Peter Stone, who suffers from major depressive disorder, also writes a blog, Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled, that offers practical advice and words of comfort to those suffering from depression and anxiety, in the hope of helping them to cope with depression and speed them on the path to recovery.

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