Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Andrew Post
For ages 13 and up
Medallion Press, 2013   ISBN: 978-1605425016

Clyde has never walked down a street, bought something in a shop, or done many of the other things normal people take for granted. All his life he has been the property of a master. He has been locked up, kept hidden, and used. Clyde is a fabrick weaver, a person imbued with a magical ability. People tell him about their mistakes and their regrets, and he is able to make them feel better, to relieve them of their emotional burdens. The downside of his ability is that the people he helps are jinxed for a period of time that is proportional to the severity of the secret that they have shared with Clyde. 

   Most of Clyde’s masters have been unkind, unpleasant people. His current master is a good man. He lets Clyde go into the back garden, he gives him lots of books to read, and the two of them have shared many wonderful hours together. Clyde and his master are about to have tea in the garden one day when all hell breaks loose. Someone attacks his master with some kind of bomb and his master, lying on the ground, tells Clyde to hide, and to stay hidden for three weeks. Not knowing what else to do, Clyde does as he is told.

   When Clyde emerges from his basement room all is quiet. Clyde searches his master’s house, and then he goes to the place in the garden where he last saw the man. There Clyde finds the remains of his master’s body. The man was killed by some enemy. While Clyde is staring at the body feeling lost and alone a large hairy man creature with horns, a Mouflon, appears. The Mouflon, Flam, explains that the city of Geyser, the place where they are now, was attacked and sacked by the Odium, a group of pirates. Then, to add to Geyser’s already considerable woes, the fresh water that made life on Geyser possible dried up, and the geyser that made it possible to have power in the city also ceased to function. The citizens of Geyser were relocated to a refugee camp and the only people left in the city are the Prime Minister, Pitka Gorrett and his Royal Guards. What Flam and Clyde don’t know is that Gorrett evacuated the people so that he could mine the precious wendal stone that lies beneath the city streets. According to law, Gorrett has to share any mined materials with the citizens, but if they are not there, he can get away with taking all the stone for himself.

   Clyde is determined to punish the people who killed his master and manages to get Flam to promise that he will help him. Flam decides that the best thing to do is to get an elevator down to the island (the city of Geyser rests on a platform a mile above the island) and from there seek out a pilot who will be willing to take Clyde to the Odium.

   Getting off the platform turns out to be harder than one would think. Flam and Clyde cannot afford to be found by the Royal Guards, so they have to be unobtrusive. One of the elevators breaks before Clyde and Flam can use it. Flam has heard that there is another elevator in a hospital and they set off to find out if the rumor is true. On the way they meet Rohm, a group of talking frisk mice that can function as individuals but that can also come together to become a single organism that can take a human form. In the hospital they rescue another fabrick weaver, Nevele the royal stitcher.

  Nevele was being kept a prisoner by Gorrett, and when he finds out that she has escaped from captivity he sends his guardsman to retrieve her. When she manages to get Clyde, Flam, herself, and Rohm off Geyser and to the island below, Gorrett decides to free her brother Vidurkis from prison. Vidurkis is also a fabrick weaver and he has the gift of killing.

   Nevele tells Clyde the true story about his master, Mr. Wilkshire, whom Gorrett framed for a mining accident. Now Clyde and Nevele have the same cause; to put a stop to Gorrett’s evil machinations for good. Unfortunately, getting their hands on the man is not going to be easy. In fact, their mission is going to be highly dangerous and their chance of success very small.

   With wonderfully colorful characters and a story that is unpredictable and full of surprises, this remarkable book is sure to delight teenage and adult readers.