This is the review (below) I have posted onto Amazon, about this book. I have to confess I did struggle in parts and actually thought the book was too intellectual for me – I think I may have missed some of the points. This is a normal reaction for me! The blurb on the back does not do the book justice, and is a real tease which obviously blurbs should be, but this was more vague than anything else. Other reviews have said it was disturbing but not compelling. I would go for odd but not compelling.
This is the story of Edgar who born into a family who want him to do well sets on out on a different path, right from the moment he is born.
The author has set the book in the mid 19th Century (although you do not find out a date until very near the end) and it is based in Oxford and the university. The author has very clear knowledge not only of all the roads and streets but also all the structures and decorations of the buildings, as well as what they were sculpted out of.
The main theme is the father/son relationship. Sadly Edgar’s mother is just a supplementary character in the book and in their lives. Although she supports both son and husband to the bitter end, but realises that she has a life of her own to forge.
Edgar wants to do one thing in his life; his father William wants him to achieve something else. Clash after clash happens, after outside influences change Edgar’s view on what he wants to achieve. Edgar wants to get out in the world and achieve it. But Edgar is a boy in a man’s world and therefore has to take the consequences.
The book took a long time to get anywhere but once it did it built and built upon the known and the unknown. As if readers we were building structures alongside Edgar’s. However the ending was disappointing to me. It was as is science and discovery then became fantasy. The never sit easy together for me.
If you are looking for an intellectual book about natural science, mechanics, iron and bone, even faith, an eclectic mix but all covered here. Add in the wonderful setting of Oxford with a child who has an ingenious skill then go and buy it. I could have mentioned a lot about this book, but to do have done so would have given away the plot too much.
I have not taken much from this book, although I have learnt about iron and bone, structures and destruction. It has left me with the importance of not pushing someone down a path they do not want to follow. Everyone should be allowed their own ingenuity in this world.
Others may feel different and I would be interested to hear from anyone else who has read it.