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The Dark Deeps: The Hunchback Assignments 2 Hardcover – September 14, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10–Modo is back with more bizarre shape-shifting, daring espionage, and exciting steampunk adventures. Mr. Socrates's agents have been following the exploits of a French spy named Colette Chiyoko Brunet when she disappears unexpectedly. Modo and his partner from the first book, Octavia, are ordered to pose as husband and wife in order to investigate something referred to in Colette's documents as the Ictíneo, or “new fish.” They suspect that this may be a new kind of boat, or mechanical narwhal designed to sink ships. What they don't realize is that someone very dangerous is also on its trail. Modo and Octavia's journey will lead Modo to the depths of the ocean and straight into another conflict with the Clockwork Guild. Modo is an innocent character who is easily teased and is very honorable. His tentative affection for the streetwise and reckless Octavia is touching, but, like Modo, readers aren't sure that she can be trusted with his greatest secret: the deformity of his real face. In this book, readers begin to see that there is more to the stoic Mr. Socrates than was originally revealed. The only problem with the characterization is that the “bad guys” are simply evil, with little nuance of character. On the surface, this is a simple Victorian adventure that will be accessible to lower-level readers. However, there are allusions and references to some of great classic authors that will allow this novel to be an exciting read for those who want to mine more from its depths.–Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Shape-modifying Modo’s second round of adventures require him, at the age of 14, to pretend to be married to another British spy and also throw him into the confines of a submarine—with a beautiful and wily French spy. In this sophomore volume of the steampunk Hunchback Assignments series, which riffs off of Victor Hugo (yes, Modo is the titular hunchback), the pacing and plotting are as tight and engaging as in the opener. Slade does an excellent job of catching new readers up to speed without pedantic reportage that would bore those who have already read the first volume. Grades 8-10. --Francisca Goldsmith

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Hunchback Assignments (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books; 1st edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385737858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385737852
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,554,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Coreena McBurnie on June 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a great series for kids - it has so much they will enjoy. There's interesting characters, mystery, adventure, cool steampunk ships...

Modo's mission this time was to find out about a mysterious underwater sea monster called Icitneo. It turns out that Icitneo is actually an ingenious submarine ship built by Captain Monturiol with an amazing mission. However, the devious Clockwork Guild is also after the ship.

I was happy to see Modo back again. He is such a loveable character in his innocence, emotional vulnerability, and strength. He is an exceedingly ugly hunchbacked character around the age of fourteen who can change his appearance at will and who has been trained as a British secret agent.

Modo is partnered up with Octavia, another great character. She is self reliant, feisty, and able to take care of herself.

Slade is a great story teller with a wonderful imagination. Some of the ideas and evil plans in this book were ingenious. I also love how he pulls on the reader's heart strings, especially where Modo is concerned, making him the most human character of them all.

I think kids will really enjoy this series and the stories of perilous adventures will keep them turning the pages.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a darkly delicious follow up to the lauded Hunchback Assignments!

Modo and Octavia, under the orders of the complicatedly sinister Mr. Socrates have re-emerged from their last disastrous adventure to trace the whereabouts of a missing fellow spy.

To New York they go, disguised as husband and wife and then to sea where a twist of fate sends the inimitable Modo to the very depths of the abyss.

A french spy, Colette, a man with the amazing power to make himself invincible named Griff and the villainous Captain of the steam-powered submarine ship Ictineo pepper the fast-paced homage to Victoriana.

I must confess that these stories are especially fun for those who are familiar with their source material. Drawing on Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Dickens, Hugo ( to a lesser extent in this volume than in the first Hunchback Assignments ) and even Arthur Conan Doyle, this addition to the extremely popular Steampunk genre will be a hit with kids.

The isolating cabin wherein Modo finds himself trapped at the bottom of the Ocean as well as the gruesome circumstances surrounding Modo and Octavia's missing colleague and the re-appearance of the Clockwork Guild add the thrills and chills needed for the Hallowe'en Season.

Kids and adults with a penchant for rollicking yarns ( in tradition of yore) will be beguiled by Slade's inventive world.

Those looking for a little Steampunk in their fantasy will find more than enough to whet their appetite in this smartly engaging addition to a great series!
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Format: Hardcover
This book picks up shortly after the first one ends. Modo is reunited with Octavia and they are given another assignment, this time to travel across the ocean to America to find out why one of Mr. Socrates' agents there hasn't been heard from in a while. While traveling on the ship, Modo and Octavia have to pretend to be a married couple, something that both excites and worries Modo.

Once they arrive in New York, they discover some interesting news about the American agent and soon find themselves aboard another boat. Modo is thrown overboard when something collides with the boat and has to be left behind. He is rescued but essentially held captive against his will. He meets a rival French spy as well as some other very interesting people who have what seems like an impossible dream.

I actually liked this book better than the first in the series and would have given it 4.5 stars if possible. I really liked many of the secondary characters this time around, including the French spy Colette and most of the people involved with the Ictíneo. I also liked the mission better in general--found it more exciting and interesting.

Like the first book, I felt that this one also lacked a bit in the character development department. I would have liked the story even more if it had slowed down and had some more quiet moments and serious talk between the characters. I thought the fake marriage thing could have provided a great opportunity for this sort of thing, but it didn't happen. Again, that's just a minor drawback and I still recommend this book series. I think sci-fi and steampunk fans would especially enjoy it.
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Format: Hardcover
Gold Star Award Winner!

In the first book of THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS, Modo becomes a spy for his guardian, Mr. Socrates. During his premier assignment, he meets and becomes infatuated with Octavia Milkweed, a girl close to his age. In this second book, Slade channels Jules Verne as he introduces young readers to the world of steampunk adventures.

Now, despite their youth, Modo will be asked to pose as Octavia's husband. Though it seems like a dream come true, Modo will experience significant discomfort as he has to continually transform his features, so Octavia will not discover his true identity.

As Modo's and Octavia's exciting new adventure takes off, they are sent to America aboard a steamship to find another one of Mr. Socrates' agents. Once they arrive, however, they are given the tragic news of the agent's death, and they are thrust into another ocean-going escapade. This time, they are setting off to find out what they can about the mysterious IctÍneo, but the only clues they have are its longitude and latitude and a loose definition of the word that suggests a connection or resemblance to a large fish.

When the rusty ship they are traveling on is damaged on the voyage, Modo is thrown overboard. Octavia struggles with the idea that Modo is dead or will be soon as their ship leaves the area to get repairs. Surprisingly, Modo is saved and learns more about the IctÍneo than he thought was possible.

Interspersed with exciting exploits, frightening villains, and shadowy locations, this segment of Modo's and Octavia's service is a fun, fast read for all ages.

Reviewed by: Theresa L. Stowell
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