Review: The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James

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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.

What an absolutely charming novella. Lauren James is one of my favourite authors and an auto-buy for me. I picked this book up at YALC alongside a free necklace which is very cute (and I’m actually wearing right now)! I remember seeing the cover reveal of this and knowing immediately I wanted it on my shelves, and it didn’t disappoint.

Considering this book is only just over 100 pages, James manages to create a quietly vivid world with a great atmosphere. I honestly marvelled at some of the things she had dreamed up and described in ways I could picture so easily. The Starlight Watchmaker is set on a college campus, but is also in a very futuristic, sci fi world with different planets, androids and species. The college campus setting was recognisable enough and easy enough to picture for me as the reader to be able to comprehend the rest of this wonderful world.

Hugo as a character was brilliant. Lonely and trying to find a place in the world, hiding himself away and not realising how dire his need for friendship was until he meets Dorian. Both characters were cleverly written and I quickly sympathised with them in such a short amount of time.

Overall, this was such an enjoyable read as usual. The only reason I’m knocking off a star is purely because the language was a little young for me and felt very simplistic compared to her other novels. Obviously this is a very personal reason as I’m sure young teens would absolutely adore this!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James

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How far would you go to save those you love?
Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion. 
Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .

Lauren James is an auto-buy author for me. I loved The Next Together and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was one of my favourite books of 2017, so I picked up The Quiet at the End of the World pretty much as soon as it came out. And trust me, Lauren hasn’t disappointed.

Again, we have a female protagonist who loves engineering, which I admire so much. It’s so important and yet unfortunately uncommon to see female main characters in YA like Lowrie, and we need more of her to inspire future readers. And the diversity doesn’t stop there, with a bi main character, British/Asian main characters and a trans character. The Quiet even explores class boundaries.

‘Maybe that’s what matters. Maybe that’s what being “alive” is. It’s not some trick.’

I’m constantly on edge with Lauren’s books and she honestly writes plot twists like no one else! I was again left on the edge of my seat with this book, and it kept me so interested that I finished it in just a few days.

But alongside a fast-paced and thoroughly entertaining plot, Lauren manages to explore some of the deepest subjects humanity can comprehend – namely what makes us human. To throw such a huge topic in but not make the reader feel overwhelmed is beyond me.

‘There’s no magic chemical that gives something a soul. It’s about being loved and loving in return.’

This book was hopeful, lighthearted and emotional at times. I related so much to Lowrie and Shen, and ended up close to tears at some scenes. The uniqueness of the concept is astounding, and I endlessly admire Lauren for her ingenuity and creativity. The Quiet has quickly become one of my favourite books of 2019 so far!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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