Beautifully written, witty, observant and reminiscent of E Nesbit, this novel merits a place in the canon of children’s classics. Siblings Clarry and Peter spend idyllic summers in Cornwall before the First World War with their charismatic older cousin Rupert. The war is handled without cliché — no mean feat... Despite being partly about loss, this steams along as joyously as Clarry rides the train to Cornwall. Funny, sad, warm, with a very satisfying ending, it is about growing up and finding what you love, intellectually and emotionally.
On her solo journey to Wales, Seren is given a mysterious package to look after by a stranger and ends up feeling obliged to take it with her. But when she arrives in Wales, her Godfather and family are not in residence and she’s left with a bunch of dour servants who seem to be hiding something. It’s all very mysterious and somewhat creepy, and when she finds an enigmatic talking clockwork crow within the package, that only serves to make it weirder! Together, they set off to solve the riddle of Plas-y-Fran, facing many perils and challenges as they go. The Clockwork Crow is a perfectly pitched middle grade story that doesn’t put a foot wrong. Seren is a spunky, brave and determined heroine and this book is completely gripping from first page to last, poetic without being difficult to read. Catherine Fisher is a wonderfully accomplished writer. This is a highly recommended story.
Catherine Fisher, a poet as well as a novelist, produces children’s fiction notable for its delicate and fine prose. The Clockwork Crow is no exception... Like many excellent children’s novels, it begins with its heroine in transit. Seren, a thoughtful and imaginative orphan, is on a railway platform, on her way to stay with her godfather, when a stranger gives her a parcel that contains the parts of a clockwork crow... As in the best literary fairy stories, this novel uses psychologically reverberant symbols – a golden staircase, a black key – that lead Seren on a quest for knowledge and for a family of her own. Children of ten and older will find themselves pleasurably lost in this enchanting, candlelit delight.
Full of deep fairytale resonance, Fisher’s writing stands out in the mind’s eye like blood drops on snow.