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  • Roo I Macleod

Devious & Dastardly Devices

This is a middle grade novel, which means its target audience is kids, but, either I’m regressing intellectually or this book is for all ages. It’s about robots, mainly. And there’s a history lesson too, coz we get to learn robot means forced labour. It also has monsters and little treacherous flying things and some fairly dastardly humans.

Alex, our main protagonist, is a kid bullied at school but when he receives an old tin robot in the post with the intriguing message This one is Special life changes in curious ways. For example, Alex has an assignment due, and he's not done with it, but it's completed for him overnight. Now I don’t get that bit, how the robot did it, because I get the story about the cobbler and his elves finishing his shoes. Elves are good at making shoes, but a robot writing an essay seems a stretch.

But then things get weird. Alex gets attacked by more tiny tin robots, climbing up his leg ready to kill him and he is rescued by his grandfather and a load of salt. Salt is bad for robots and slows them down.

They head off overseas, Alex and his Grandfather, heading for Prague, to the home of the robot, with the dastardly people in pursuit. This is a non-stop excursion. The pace is relentless, the twists and turns constant. Seriously, this is a good read. Probably meant for the kids, but even for the aged, dead old like me, this was a cracking read.

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