Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Review: The Deep Freeze of Bartholomew Tullock

Title: The Deep Freeze of Bartholomew Tullock
Author: Alex Williams
Genre: Steampunk/Children’s Fiction
Rating: 5

The Deep Freeze of Bartholomew Tullock is one of my all-time favorite children’s books.

Following the lives of Madeline and Rufus Breeze and their parents, along with a salesman named Sabastian and his dog Mesmer brave the frozen world of Pinrut. Bartholomew Tullock is the name of the local tyrant, a man intent on crushing all of Pinrut and the Breeze family in particular.

The Breezes are fanmakers by trade and not even the years of constant ice, no sunlight, and the frosty Pinrutian flu can curb their art. Living within the safety of an ingenuous house, the family continues to believe that the sun will return and their beautiful fans will be needed again.

But when the snow clouds show no signs of leaving and Tullock breathing down their necks the Madeline, her father, and Sabastian decide to make a treacherous journey to find somewhere else to sell the fans. Rufus and his mother stay behind to keep their home out of Tullock’s hands, but with their family separated, Tullock gets closer to his goal and disaster befalls the family on all sides.

A lovely, crisp steampunk tale—the first steampunk I ever read—the tale of Tullock’s deep freeze holds a wondrous world of exquisite fans, frightening monsters, sunlight and shadow, the strength of family, and the revelation of hard truths.

Rolling action that never lets up, dry humor that never fails to crack a smile, Williams’s book is a work of art and fan-tastic read. (Pardon the pun but, really, how could I resist?)

Williams makes you feel the cold and the warmth—both of the alternating weather and the opposing characters—and brings the story home with a shocking twist and a last-minute charge of bravery. Delightful.

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