Blurb from Goodreads
Wealthy students from across the galaxy come to learn at the prestigious academy where Hugo toils as a watchmaker.
But he is one of the lucky ones. Many androids like him are jobless and homeless.
Someone like Dorian could never understand their struggle – or so Hugo thinks when the pompous duke comes banging at his door.
But when Dorian’s broken time-travel watch leads them to discover a sinister scheme, the pair must reconcile their differences if they are to find the culprit in time.
A wildly imaginative sci-fi adventure from YA star Lauren James, particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+.
The Starlight Watchmaker is a junior YA / Middle Grade novella that has been written to be particularly accessible for readers with dyslexia. I had wondered if this would make the book feel somewhat boring due to limitations on prose…
But it was exactly the opposite.
In just 119 pages Lauren James has crammed in the most heart warming story about androids, acceptance and the importance of friendship.
The story is set in an elite academy and follows the tale of Hugo, an old model of android who was abandoned by his employer in favour of a newer model. Hugo had to learn to fend for himself and became a watchmaker in a dusty attic room away from the main campus. One day into his life walks a student named Dorian who tasks Hugo with fixing his special time travel watch. The pair soon discover that the watch was purposefully damaged and adventure and intrigue ensue as they attempt to unravel the mystery together.
It’s really such a sweet little book. It’s so gentle and nice, and wow… Actual complex world building in a short novella!! I loved how I was easily able to visualise the cast of alien and android characters because of Lauren James’ brilliant descriptive writing abilities. And the book is so smart too! It doesn’t talk down to the reader or any such thing. It’s 100% accessible and easy to follow but yet nothing was sacrificed when it came to creating both plot and characters. There’s so much more to this book than one would ever think.
Overall, the novella imparts a beautiful message about the value there is in each person, biological or not in this instance, and the importance of looking beneath the surface to see that each of us are the same and that all we want at the end of the day is to not be lonely.
Four Stars, highly recommended.