This is my sixteenth review for the BBC! :)
The Extraordinary Adventures of Horatio Lyle is the first book in the Horatio Lyle series by Catherine Webb.
This book, is, again, another book I have to read just in case I can take part in my years book quiz. I have no idea if I can take part yet, but I a reading the books just in case I can. :) I must say that I enjoyed reading this book and I am glad that the quiz drew my attention to it. Here is my review.
This is what the front cover of the book looks like:
Now I believe this is a absolutely beautiful cover, majestic, even. The colours go together perfectly and the different mesmerizing drawings that surround the title are wonderfully drawn, with lots of detail. All this, and the amazing mysterious and adventurous feel that this cover gives to the book (which is brilliant) give a great Victorian, historical, yet modern edge. Which appeals to both people that love history novel (like me) and people that like a more modern story. Unfortunately this is the former, but luckily this cover may even sway the latter into the loving this book as much as it rightly deserves. So yes, all in all this is a fabulous cover.
The story is itself about Horatio Lyle, former Special Constable with a passion for science, invention and experiments. Also occasional detective. Everything is going well in Horatio's life, that is until, one fateful night, a feisty young pickpocket called Tess tries to break into his house.
But instead of reporting her to the police, he instead gives her a bed for the night and a condition: she won't go to prison if she works for him for the week.
The reason for this strange condition is because the night before, an 'impenetrable' vault of a Lord at the Bank of England is broken into and an item of cultural significance - the Fuyun Plate - is stolen. And Horatio is called into investigate - on her majesty's orders.
As Tess and Horatio begin to investigate, they are joined by many foe and friend - one of the latter being young Thomas Elwick, son of Lord Elwick, whose vault was breached.
The trio are then plunged into a mystery full of legends, a strange alien-like race, death and science on every page. One thing's for sure, this is one adventure that is like no other, a thrilling Victorian mystery full of explosions, and one that cannot be missed.
I have to say, firstly, that I adored this book. The plot was extremely well thought out, and everything was described and written so well, so much so that it was like a film inside my head, and I could picture it all. This book really showed me what a phenomenal author Webb really must be. I was also really impressed by the way that Webb managed to incorporate a sci-fi like villain into a Victorian novel. Basically this book was full of all my favourite things, and when I first started reading I was a little worried that the genres may not fit together too well, but Webb does not disappoint and the two genres fit together like hand in glove when she writes; another reason that Webb is a brilliant author.
I also really enjoyed, as an avid historical novel fan, the historical elements of this novel. It was extremely fascinating to read about and is, apparently all true, as Webb prides herself in the historical correctness of her novels, which is fantastic and another reason I now thoroughly respect her as a author. Also what was interesting to read was the scientific elements of this novel, again, which Webb prides as being completely correct, which is great. Not being much of a fan of science myself I still really enjoyed reading all the experiments and theories that Webb managed to weave into the novel; even into the big climax in the plot.
My favourire character from the novel has to be Horatio Lyle - think of a mixture between Professor Layton and Sherlock Holmes, but switch puzzles for science, Emmy and Luke around, Watson for a faithful and adorable dog called Tate and a pipe for things that explode, and you're set. He is exceptionally well written by Webb and a wonderful hero: brave, clever and a all round amazing person. One thing I especially like about him is the almost fatherly relationship he develops for Tess and Thomas, but is a little tentative- almost, to admit, and the banter that ensures. The knowledge of the character is another reason he is my favourite - his science experiments and quick thinking are what make this novel so enticing - its nice to see a hero who'd rather use science to beat a baddie than violence - and that really, is why I like him so much.
Basically this book is magnificent and I will be reading the rest of the series when I can. If you are looking for a historical book full of wonderful characters and a sci-fi and scientific flare, than this is definitively the one for you. I would give it a age rating of 12+ or mature readers and a personal rating of 8 and a half/10
Thanks for reading!
Sorry if there are any grammar mistakes, bad spelling ect. Please let me know in a comment so I can fix it! and comments & follows are hugs<3 This is all my opinion. Please no negative comments because of my opinion expressed in these reviews. Thankyou! xoxox