Nov 272012

Review: The Night Watchman Express

Review: The Night Watchman ExpressThe Night Watchman Express (The Crown Phoenix #1) by Alison DeLuca
Published by Fantasy Island Book Publishing on Mar 28, 2011
Genres: Mystery, Steampunk, YA
Format: eBook from Author
Find the book: AmazonSmashwords, Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Orphaned Miriam has always been terrified by the sound of THE NIGHT WATCHMAN EXPRESS as it hurtles by her house. The sound of the train gives her nightmares of an underground factory, and a laboratory where brutal experiments take place.

During the day she has very different problems. Her new guardians, the Marchpanes, have arrived with their son, Simon, to live in Miriam’s house. The Marchpanes are plotting to take over her dead father’s business.

As they are both strong willed and stubborn, Miriam and Simon develop an instant dislike for each other. They have to work together, however, in order to solve the mystery of what the Marchpanes are doing with Miriam’s inheritance.

As they come closer to learning the truth, Miriam is kidnapped and put on THE NIGHT WATCHMAN EXPRESS, and Simon must try to rescue her. In doing so, he will have to confront his own parents and the evil forces behind them.

But as he tries to help Miriam, he is captured. Simon is put in a strange, luxurious prison, where his jailers are as hauntingly beautiful as they are dangerous.

As THE NIGHT WATCHMAN EXPRESS arrives at its destination, Miriam comes to the shocking realization that her nightmares about the subterranean factory and the dark laboratory were not just dreams.

What she always feared more than anything is going to come true.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This story had a very gothic Victorian feel. There was plenty of mystery and was quite entertaining. There was a surprising amount of humour, told in a formal and subtle way that fit the gothic feel. Both Miriam and Riki are mischievious troublemakers, and the adventures they got into helped provided a youthful and fun vibe.

The story was told in two parts, almost like episodes within the series. The first part was an introduction, and focused on Miriam. The second part was Neil’s story on Lampala. They were both complex, and yet tied together and segued quite smoothly. That being said, this was definitely the start of a series, and is not a stand alone book at all. There are too many unanswered questions and plotlines to only read this book by itself.

One thing I found odd was that I really couldn’t remember the age of the children in the story. I think the children were all fairly close in age, and yet there seem huge differences between them. At times they seemed really young, and other times they seemed to be teenagers. It was a bit inconsistent, and if pressed, I would like say they were younger than they actually were. But that is just a guess.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and had a very distinct feel to the story. There were plenty of mysteries investigated, solved, and many more left for future books in the series. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of humour in the story, and hope it continues in future books. This is one series that I am glad I already have the next few books ready to read.

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