From School Library Journal
Gr 5–8–The Grey Griffins are back in a new series, and they're off to Iron Bridge Academy, a Hogwarts-type school that prepares promising young students for the fight against the forces of evil. Once Max, Harley, Natalia, and Ernie arrive at the school (which has long been closed due to mysterious circumstances), the changelings there begin to vanish, and it becomes apparent that The Clockwork King is behind the disappearances. Max has been having realistic nightmares that lead him to believe that the mad scientist is horrifyingly merging students with clockwork creations. The authors have jumped on the steampunk bandwagon without really embracing the steampunk aesthetic. Yes, there are clockwork automatons, an airship, and a place called New Victoria where humans, pixies, and hobgoblins linger on the streets together, but the main characters are skeptical of those who embrace Victorian fashion. Despite some awkwardly inserted background information from the previous books, it is still difficult for someone unfamiliar with them to keep track of the various characters, their histories, and their roles. Fans of the “Grey Griffins” series will be thrilled to revisit their old friends in this action-packed adventure, but newcomers would benefit from starting with The Revenge of the Shadow King (Scholastic/Orchard, 2005).Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The four monster-fighting kids with superpowers who first appeared in the Grey Griffins series are now headed to middle school in this start to a new trilogy, the Clockwork Chronicles. Max, Natalia, Harley, and changeling Ernie take the Zephyr subway to Iron Bridge Academy, a private military school run by the Knights Templar, where they will join Templar children to be trained to fight monsters and their ilk. Their backstory is filled in enough to allow readers meeting the characters for the first time to pick up the action as the story unfolds: the Clockwork King is stealing changeling children to use their souls to fuel his evil machines. The steampunk infusion is interesting, but as in the previous books, flashes of creative elements and danger fizzle with fairly pedestrian writing and uneven plotting. Purchase where fans of the previous series demand it. Grades 5-8. --Cindy Dobrez