Empire of Ruins

The Hunchback Assignments III
by Arthur Slade

(Cover from UK edition)
Coming 09/13/11
While Modo has spent a quiet winter recovering from his adventure in the dark deeps, talk of ancient Egyptian ruins in the midst of the Australian rainforest has been swirling around London. A temple bulges with riches, but also contains danger: the infamous God Face. No one knows what the God Face is or what it is made of, but it is rumoured to be a powerful weapon; anyone who looks upon it will be driven mad.

Modo’s next assignment? Go to Queensland in Australia and discover the truth behind the God Face. He won’t be alone: Octavia and even Mr. Socrates will be accompanying him, as well as Mrs. Finchley, Modo’s beloved caregiver from childhood days. But hot on their trail is the Clockwork Guild, with a brand-new weapon—mechanical birds, capable of transmitting signals as well as delivering poison.

With an airship battle, an escape from spear-waving natives and an astounding discovery—one that hinges on Modo’s true appearance—the Hunchback Assignments series continues to enthrall readers of all ages!

I consider this to be an epically underappreciated series. I find that it' a smart, emotional, thrilling, and full of extreme nerdly cool. It also happens to be one of my most beloved series, one that I may be putting too much of my own emotional baggage into my attachment to the main character Modo. As a reader I empathize with his emotional wretchedness brought on by a brutal upbringing and his physical disfigurement (which oddly is dually his greatest gift). Modo's character is beautifully innocent, is kindhearted, has a fierce bravery, and more than anything he just wants to be loved. He's so afraid to show his true face to anyone he didn't grow up with, and as someone who is always deflecting attention from myself in a hundred different ways and is forever hiding, I completely connect with those fears and vulnerability. 

Trust me when I say that this is a very well written series that any age and any gender can get behind. Beyond steampunk, fantasy, or YA, this is classic adventure novel/series. If you loved Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan and Behemoth you will love this series.

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