Aug 9, 2011

Tween Tuesday: The Nine Pound Hammer by John Claude Bemis

4 oatmeal cookie sandwiches with marshmallow frosting.

Cover Love:
Yes. It has a slightly ominous feel to it. I like the font and the colors. It works well together!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
These caught my attention when I was ordering for my library last spring. The sysnopsis intrigued me and I thought they would be books that I could get some of "those" readers interested in. Here is the synopsis from Good Reads:
What if John Henry had a son?

Twelve-year-old Ray is haunted by the strangest memories of his father, whom Ray swears could speak to animals. Now an orphan, Ray jumps from a train going through the American South and falls in with a medicine show train and its stable of sideshow performers. The performers turn out to be heroes, defenders of the wild, including the son of John Henry. They are hiding the last of the mythical Swamp Sirens from an ancient evil known as the Gog. Why the Gog wants the Siren, they can’t be sure, but they know it has something to do with rebuilding a monstrous machine that John Henry gave his life destroying years before, a machine that will allow the Gog to control the will of men and spread darkness throughout the world.

What I Liked (& Didn't):
There is a quote from a Booklist review that is on the back of The White City that sums up this book better than I ever could: "A steampunk collision of heroes, mermaids, pirates and good old-fashioned Americana." Isn't that intriguing, don't you want to run out and read it just by that statement?

I love the time period, the late 1800's just before the turn of the century.

I just love how the author blends American folklore with history and brings it all to life again. Reading this made me curious to re-read the tall tales I enjoyed when I was younger. It is just such a creative and original idea for a book.

The setting is so vivid as well. Ray goes from being on an orphan train, to a medicine/sideshow train, to a river pirate ship. It was so well written it was easy to picture.

I also loved the characters. They were written very distinctly, with strong personalities. I loved all the different abilities they each had as well.

To Sum Up: This is such an interesting idea for a book series. I think that getting readers caught up with this world would be pretty easy.

*Have you checked out the Smack Dab in the Middle blog? A group of middle grade authors have put it together. The author of The Nine Pound Hammer, John Claude Bemis, has written a couple of excellent posts: how he landed an agent and why he writes middle grade fiction. Both of them are great reads! I also won a contest he ran and got an autographed copy of The Nine Pound Hammer and a bunch of other goodies including a lodestone. He is one of my favorites now for sure!

Book bought for middle school library.


  1. This looks like a fun book! Hope to find it at my local library soon!

  2. It was a fun book! I got the whole series for my library and the kids are really liking it.