The Starlight Watchmaker

Publisher: Barrington Stoke

Hugo is an android. Ever since he was abandoned by his aristocratic owner on a planet that houses a boarding academy for the most privileged of all species in the universe, he has managed to scratch out a living making watches.

It is a lonely life, and he has almost forgotten what it is to have friends… Until he meets arrogant, charming and aristocratic Dorian – who is not an android. Together, they uncover a shocking plot and set out to discover what other secrets the academy hides.

This is a charming and funny story that can be read as a tale of friendship or a light romance. The world has a tinge of steampunk about it, as well as aesthetic echoes of the Guardians of the Galaxy film. The aliens are imaginative and readers will probably recognise the educational system that is being satirised here, where spoiled rich kids are propped up by unseen, illegal workers. However, the satire never overshadows the essential optimism of the story.

The book is aimed at teenagers, but could be enjoyed by sensitive readers as young as nine.

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