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The Clockwork Magician

Narrated by: Hannibal Hills
Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: Teens, Ages 11-13
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A street urchin with a mysterious gift. A nightmarish enemy hunting over the gaslit streets of London. Dark magic rising.

It’s a cold winter’s night when Jake Shillingsworth, serving boy at The Tattered Crow, finds himself running a task for his monstrous master Silas Grumble. Jake’s errands are never fun, but this one is worse than most. This one’s for a witch...

When Jake’s best friend is snatched by a terrifying creature, he’s forced to seek help from Professor Thistlequick: an eccentric man known as the "clockwork magician".

Soon, Jake finds himself in strange, shadowed streets and soaring over clouds in a race to stop the gravest of threats. London Bridge is falling down and so will the entire city if Jake and his unlikely companions fail.

The Clockwork Magician is what would happen if Sherlock Holmes met Doctor Who with a Dickensian cast of grotesques, nail-biting adventures, and shadowy heroines who aren’t what they seem.

Buy The Clockwork Magician today and embark on this thrilling adventure today!

©2019 Eldritch Black (P)2019 Eldritch Black

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Shillingsworth and Thistlequick INC

The Clockwork Magician

Author: Eldritch Black

Narrator: Hannibal Hills

Listening Time: 8 Hrs. 38 Min

I always like to preface any reviews I give with this information.
I am a 68 year old female who has been an avid reader since I was around 10 or 11 years old.
I read primarily for pleasure.
I have a great many interests and do a lot of research for personal pleasure and knowledge as well.
Ancient History, Archeology, Science, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery are some of the interests I have.


Disclaimer: "This Audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost, in exchange for an unbiased honest review."



I have really mixed feelings about this book/audiobook. It was really hard for me to get through it.

From reading the synopsis I figured it was going to be a bit dark for my taste, but given that
I got it before Halloween, I thought it might be a good October read/listen.

Jake Shillingsworth is a homeless street urchin in an alternate Steampunk London. There is evil and magic afoot. While magic is forbidden it is obviously practiced by some people who have a very dark agenda.

Jake is a slave to an evil man by the name of Silas Grumble. This is an odious man who should meet an abrupt and very unpleasant end.

Jake has "mismatched eyes" and an ability to see things others aren't able to see and this places him in a very dangerous position to be in.

His master sends him on an errand to deliver a message to an evil woman and that starts this story into a different level of action.

Soon Jake sees some of his homeless friends who are like automatons and are clearly controlled by something other than their own autonomy and power.

Into this mix we have a somewhat odd and interesting character of Professor Thistlequick, ( I love that name)! He is the Clockwork Magician and is a creator and builder of amazing contraptions that are wonderfully diverse. He seems on the surface; to be a somewhat whimsical and lighthearted person.

Together with Jake, they fight a witch, a demon, and a cogwork man, in an effort to rescue Jake's friends, and to save London.

The story has an interesting premise. I just really felt the story was underdeveloped, and that the progression of events was helter-skelter.

The big problem for me personally was the victimization of children. This for me made this audiobook very oppressive and hard to sit through the listening of it. I had to break it down into listening a little at a time, rather than being able to listen to the entire audiobook in one setting; which is what I usually do.

Eldritch Black in an author I had never read/listened to before and I doubt that I will do so again. His writing did not appeal to me. I am not saying this is a bad book, however clearly it is not my type of story. Over all this story was too dark and dismal for my personal taste.

Narrator Hannibal Hill is a voice actor I had never listened to prior to this audiobook. My goodness! What a great voice actor he is! His ability with voice ranges, accents, and inflections is truly amazing. He has a very dramatic flair in how he performed this audiobook.

Since this is my first experience listening to him, I don't know if he is always this dramatic, or if this story in particular lent itself to the level of drama he performed. He is a voice actor I would love to listen to again, given that it would be different subject matter.

It seems perplexing to say that I really enjoyed his voice acting while not really enjoying the story itself. How strange is that!


It is hard for me to predict who might enjoy this book/audiobook. I personally tend to not like stories where people are victimized; since that happens so much in real life. For me it is not "entertaining" to read or listen to that kind of story.

However I am guessing I am the exception rather than the rule because many people do like this kind of story to read.

Possibly middle school kids might enjoy this read, as one of the heroes is a young man. Certainly adults might as well. In so many ways we are kids at heart no matter what our chronological age may be.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Steampunk Potter?!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this . It was so entertaining and so vividly described.The villain in this story is downright scary. I loathed Mr. Grumble but I enjoyed his well deserved endind..I actually laughed at THAT visualization!😂 Jake is just a really cool kid...he was handed a terrible life and was ready to accept his lot in life..but then....You gotta love the FUN and sometimes hair brained Professor. I wish I had SPRING shoes...the narration here is just superb. This really isn't my kind of story but I got really drawn in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it from the first clockwork "plink"

I loved everything about this book. Even the tiny pieces of clockwork-sounding music fit perfectly. The characters were well developed and I felt a connection to them. The dialog was crisp and flowed smoothly. And the many voices of the narrator stood out as a great performance, yet did not draw away from the story...but complemented it. I rarely like everything about a book...but in this case, everything worked.

My only challenge at the end is I still can't imagine how you get steam on a bicycle, and wonder how long it would take to get the boiler going, but those are my issues, not something that is a big distraction.

I was given a copy of this book at my request in exchange for a fair review, but I would have gladly paid for the pleasure of listening to this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An interesting, though unpredictable, story

Here we have an interesting take on an alternate London that quickly becomes wildly unpredictable.

As always, Hannibal Hills gives us a phenomenal audio performance. His voices are varied, distinct, and masterfully crafted; male and female voices both. His vocal inflections and accents are always spot on, and his tempo shifts are always perfect for the tension in any given scene.

Although there are only three or four characters with any real development, they are well developed. Each has their own quirks, goals, and motivations.

The world the author has created is interesting, though I can't help thinking that the ramifications of the available technology have not been adequately considered.

The existence of magic is touched on, but other than the fact that it exists and tends to swirl around the main character there is almost no actual information about the magic of the world.

The writing style is a little old fashioned and reminiscent of The Alchemist. However, between the lack of details and general silliness of a lot of it, I can't help thinking this book was written for a middle grade audience, perhaps the 10-12 age group.

Not that this is a bad thing, I just wasn't expecting it.

I only have one real issue with the story though, which is the general unpredictability of it. For about the first half (give or take) of the book, there is a fairly logical progression of events that are directly tied to the main character's actions.

And then the Clockwork Magician gets directly involved in the plot.

From there, the plot gets more and more random. There is very little rhyme or reason to most of the events until near the end when the main character's actions become the driving force again.

This randomness isn't quite enough to be labeled Deus Ex Machina, but it comes very close.

Now, past that we come to an ending that is reasonably well thought out and brings the story to a neat and satisfying close.

I would recommend this book to any steampunk reader who likes things a little on the silly side and is here more for the steam tech than the magic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting Book

I really enjoyed The Clockwork Magician by Edrich Black. There were many twists and turns that I didn't see coming and the characters were complex and interesting. The fantasy aspects of the novel are great, but the characters are gritty and real, which keeps the story grounded in reality.

The Clockwork Magician himself is such a complex character, even if he does not seem so at first. Black does a great job revealing layers to his characters over time.

This book was given to me for free in exchange for a voluntary review.

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Amazing!

The Clockwork Magician is such a fun book! I love the world Eldritch Black has created. This is my second book set in this world (1st being The Ghosts of the Tattered Crow) and I absolutely love it.

This book is full of steampunk creations, villains, magic, and so much more. The descriptions, along with the excellent narration by Hannibal Hills, truly transports the reader into the mind of the author. I can't wait for more by this author. He is one of my new favorite authors!

Narration quality was amazing. Hannibal Hills has done an amazing job with this one. The voices are believable and I found myself several times thinking how incredible this narration is. I will definitely be seeking more to listen to by this narrator.

I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So good, love this duo

I received a free copy of this book at my request, my review is voluntary and unbiased.

Seriously, Eldritch Black and Hannibal Hills are wonder. Black's a master of Victoriana storytelling whether it is victorian horror, steampunk, gaslamp fantasy, or what I like to call runepunk which is a blend of all of that. If you have listened to other books by this duo you know how good they are, If you haven't you need to rectify that.

If you have any interest in a victorion/gothic fantasy pick up something from Black and Hills whether it's this book or the book of kindly deaths you should absolutely do yourself the favor.

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Awesome

At first I was totally lost but as the story went on the author filled in the blanks I will say 0nly in one area did I feel it was not explain well and that was the cloud dwelling a bit more back story could help.
Otherwise it was a great audiobook and the narrator was able to bring each and ever character alive and breathing.
With the way this ended I wonder if there is another book to come

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The Urchin and the Scholar

That could have been the name of this book. I was given this book for free in exchange for my thoughts and I have to say I actually like the book. When it began with sound effects I was worried but that was my only misgivings, once those ended and narration began I was into it full speed. This book feels like a series, I want to know more about Jakes backstory, how did he end up with dead parents and in servitude to this jerk Mr Grumble? Why is the Professor actually a wanted man? or is that just a ruse? I really want to know more, the book seemed to give rise to at least a part 2, the Adventures of Jake and Professor Thistlequick! or something along those line,

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fun story reminding me of a Neil Gaiman work!

This review is for the audiobook format of “The Clockwork Magician” by Eldritch Black performed by Hannibal Hills

I am not really sure if it is the writing, or the unbelievably good performance by Hannibal Hills, but this novel was very reminiscent of something that could have been written by the terrific Neil Gaiman. In this story, the young Jake Shillingsworth, who has unfortunate living/working arrangements with the awful Silas Grumble, must convince someone of the oddities and terrifying creature that he witnessed snatch his friends.

While the world and London doesn’t seem to see the same things Jake is claiming is around them, at least one other person has decided to give Jake the time of day. Professor Thistlequick and his eccentricities bring Jake along for an exciting ride to discover the meaning behind all the weird developments.

Hannibal Hills performs this title in such a unique and wonderful way that it will have you leaning forward in anticipation at what is going to happen next. Solid performance lending his voice to the characters to bring them to life!
Overall, this story is a must listen for those who enjoy fantasy, magic, and just plain entertaining tales.

I received a review copy of the audiobook in exchange for a voluntary honest review.

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  • Kate
  • 11-10-19

A fun, quirky, and fantastical steampunk adventure

This audiobook is wonderfully narrated, but I think it is definitely suited to younger audiences. Some of the moralising is a little overt to truly be a story for all ages, but there are some scary moments and darker themes. The demons are especially creepy - particularly the scene in the Crow when the first demon comes for Jake. I think it would be suitable for mature listeners from 8 years if they are not easily disturbed by such things. (If they can cope with the Dementors and tension in the later Harry Potter books/films, then this book should be fine).

It took me a couple of chapters to really settle into the strange world Jake and the Professor inhabit, but once I did I found that Crow Alley and its ne'er-do-wells felt very familiar, as if they were drawing inspiration from the sights - and smells - of Ankh Morpork. I chuckled at the very Pratchetty image of Professor Thistlequick wandering through Crow Alley, asking for directions, only to be waved away with my favourite line of the whole book: "Good luck Squire, and watch yourself in there. Should things go amiss and I read about your murder in the newspaper, I'll wipe my posterior with a different page."

I did find some of the writing a little clunky, but I liked the humour and the world-building, and the narration remained lively and stopped it ever feeling like a chore.

The blurb makes comparisons to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who which I did not feel were particularly substantiated. I am a fan of both (in print, on screen, and in audio) but few mysteries and adventures ever live up to them. Whilst the description did draw me to this book when I first came upon it, I think that anyone who was actually expecting similarities to either franchise would be disappointed.

Although it is a standalone story which is not listed on Audible as being part of a series, much is left unresolved and there's something of a cliffhanger at the end which - presumably - sets the scene for the next book. I prefer to know from the beginning if an audiobook is going to be part of a continuing series, as otherwise I spend much of the book hoping for answers that are unlikely to come. So much about Jake's past and his abilities is left unattended that I feel I still know very little about him.

Though good fun and certainly able to hold my interest throughout, it may be slightly too simplistic to really captivate an adult audience. It's a colourful adventure that would certainly entertain young listeners and there's also enough humour and energy in this audiobook that I don't think it would annoy the rest of the family if it were being played during a long car journey. I really liked the cover art for this book, too, which I also think will appeal to everyone who enjoys the steampunk aesthetic.

The narrator Hannibal Hills kept me hooked throughout, even when I struggled to connect to the plot. His performance was very dramatic and engaging, and his voices for the characters were all great fun and very distinctive. There was a little music at the beginning and end, but it wasn't too intrusive. His voice occasionally reminds me a little of Neil Gaiman, especially when either is performing witchy voices in their narration, such as that of Mrs Wraith. (They don't sound at all alike for the most-part, as Gaiman has such a distinctive voice. I can't quite put my finger on the resemblance.)

I'd recommend this entertaining audio adventure to families and older children who are looking for a quirky, fantastical listen.

*I received this audiobook free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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  • Mr. R. Esdaile
  • 11-10-19

FULL OF WONDER AND MAGIC

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review
This book captivated me from the first moment that I started listening. It follows the adventures of young street urchin in a Steampunk version of Victorian London. All the characters are well drawn and Mr Hills voices them superbly. I can't wait for further adventures in this series.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen
  • 10-21-19

great book not just for kids

A street urchin with a mysterious gift. A nightmarish enemy hunting over the gaslit streets of London. Dark magic rising.
It’s a cold winter’s night when Jake Shillingsworth, serving boy at The Tattered Crow, finds himself running a task for his monstrous master Silas Grumble.
great book but not just for ya