Book Review: Clockwork, or All Wound Up (Philip Pullman)

Publisher: Yearling
Pages: 96
Release Date: 3rd October 1996
Summary (From Goodreads):

A magical tale featuring a tormented clock-maker, a deadly knight in armour, a mechanical prince, and the sinister Dr. Kalmenius, who some say is the devil. There are puzzles and riddles, and twists and turns in the plot.
This is a book I read when I was much younger and thought I’d revisit. I really love reading these old(ish) books now and sharing with people, and hopefully getting a few to read them!This is a very short read – I’m sure it was much bigger when I was younger! – but it is full of a very creepy kind of charm. Pullman paints a beautiful picture in a wintery German village with a wonderful clock who’s clockwork figures are marvelled at from all over the world and which you’d have to watch the whole year round to see each piece come out. It’s so magical and picturesque.

Even as an adult, I still found the story very creepy. It reads like a cross between a Grimm tale and a Victorian fairytale and the overall effect is equal parts charming and sinister. The different threads of the story weave perfectly together to create the perfect quick and scary read.

Alongside the story there are little comments and asides from the narrator with lovely little pictures to go with them. These sometimes add a little more background information on characters and places, or just little warnings from the narrator to his characters. Because, as he says, once a story is wound up, there’s no stopping it.

I’m going to end with a quote because I loved it so much:

“For every once upon a time there must be a story to follow, because if a story doesn’t, something else will and it might not be as harmless as a story.”


My Verdict:

OMG GEE WHIZZ How have you not read this yet?!

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