Published by Chatto & Windus on August 6th 2009
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Steam Punk, YA Romance, Young Adult
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest night the world has ever seen, Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation. But Dr Madeleine is no conventional medic and surgically implants a cuckoo-clock into his chest. Little Jack grows up different to other children: every day begins with a daily wind-up. At school he is bullied for his 'ticking', but Dr Madeleine reminds him he must resist strong emotion: anger is far too dangerous for his cuckoo-clock heart. So when the beautiful young street-singer, Miss Acacia, appears - pursued by Joe, the school bully - Jack is in danger of more than just falling in love... he is putting his life on the line.Amazon •
Mature-Content Rating: Violence, Sexual Content
“ I love you crookedly because my heart’s been unhinged from birth. The doctors gave me strict instructions not to fall in love: my fragile clockwork heart would never survive. But when you gave me a dose of love so powerful – far beyond my wildest dreams – that I felt able to confront anything for you, I decided to put my life in your hands.”
This could have been a great book. The characters are wonderful, but we only get to skim the surface of their personalities before the book is over.
Jack is the boy with a clock that keeps his heart beating. He’s curious about the world but more than just a little naive.
Acacia is the “little singer” that both Jack and Joe fall in love with. She’s blind as a bat, but hates how her glasses make her look so she refuses to wear them and constantly bumps into things. Jack finds this enduring and his fellow traveler, Méliès, eventually states that it is the imperfections that we find enduring that makes us fall in love so hard, and maybe his cuckoo-clock heart would be an endearment for her.
Georges Méliès (french filmmaker) makes an appearance in the book as a main character. Jack comes to Méliès needing a clockmaker to repair his heart, and Méliès being an illusionist and toymaker as well as a filmmaker was the man for the job. He told Jack at the time he was suffering from a broken heart after he promised his lady the moon and she told him to stop dreaming. In reality, one of Méliès most famous films is A Trip to the Moon. He’s probably my favorite character in the book not only for his wit and charm, but also for how a real person was used in a fictional work.
Joe is the playground bully to Jack. He was in love with Acacia before Jack and can’t stand to let the “freak” get the girl.
The story starts off great! It’s intriguing and pulls you in fast, but that excitement quickly fades as Jack and Acacia are reunited. The romance between the two is so flat it’s almost nonexistent. The real story here is the different ways people choose to love. It wasn’t developed or executed nearly as well as it could have been, and had way too many adult themes for the ages of the main characters, but it was still a story with good moments.
Overall, I liked The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart. I would recommend to Tim Burton fans (yes, it’s THAT kind of book), steampunk, and somewhere between new and young adult.