Here is my book review of “The Smoking Hourglass” by Jennifer Bell.
“The Smoking Hourglass” is the second book in ‘The Uncommoners’ series, following “The Crooked Sixpence”. Read my review of the first book here>>
“As soon as Ivy and her brother Seb set foot back in the mysterious underground city of Lundinor, they know that something has changed […] something dark is stirring just below the surface, and uncommon traders are uneasy. Ivy and Seb have stumbled into a plot that could condemn every uncommoner to a disastrous fate […] can Ivy and Seb put a stop to the sinister Dirge’s plans?”
(Blurp borrowed from Penguin books)
Review of “The Smoking Hourglass”
Keeping it short, Ivy and Seb have found out that their family secret is huge and involves not just Lundinor but possibly all the undermarts of the world. Undermarts are where the uncommoners trade uncommon, magical items. The kids will meet both friends and enemies, as they come even closer to discovering the secrets of Lundinor, their family and others! Dangers lurk around every corner and we are introduced to more of the uncommon world and traditions.
I seriously enjoyed this book! It had more danger, more at stake and I was already familiar with the universe from The Crooked Sixpence. ‘Meeting up’ with Ivy, Seb and their friends again was fun and exciting, because I was waiting to see what Jennifer Bell would come up with next.
It was better than the first book as it had a whole other dimension in the plot. Whereas The Crooked Sixpence felt like an introduction to the world of undermarts, this is where we get a taste of the real plot. The siblings are tested again and again, both individually and together. They have to learn to work together and trust each other, while balancing new friendship and enemies.
Their family secrets had me on edge, curious to read on and find out all I could, looking for clues in the story. It was intense! All the variations of evil and enemies in Lundinor and beyond, made the story even more believable and enjoyable. The characters develop even more and we get a new view of Ivy’s abilities – she’s the perfect protagonist for this book.
In The Smoking Hourglass, one of the unions of the underground market Lundinor, has resurfaced. They’re called ‘The Dirge’ and they have creepy plans of taking over the underworld. Our little bunch of heroes pick up the fight. Even though it’s always a childish fantasy for kids to be able to fight with or beat the grown-ups, I actually think Jennifer Bell manages to make it interesting to read. You are cheering for the kids and you think they have a chance. After all, they’re uncommon children.
If you’ve read The Crooked Sixpence and you liked it – don’t miss out on The Smoking Hourglass!
If you’d like to read more of my reviews, please have a look at my collection of book reviews here>>
After seeing some reviews in Danish about this series, I’m happy I chose to read it in English as I don’t think some of the phrases translates as well. I’m sure the stories are just as fun and colorful in Danish, but some of the key elements like ‘The Great Uncommon Good’ loses some of it’s double-meaning in the translation. ‘The Great Uncommon Good’ are supposed to be highly valuable uncommon items of rarity as there are only a few of them.
I’ve asked other Danish book-reviewers what they thought of it, and here’s one of them (in Danish):
Line Dalbro (Forestillingen om Paradis): “Pak kufferterne og tag med på endnu en hæsblæsende tur til Lundinor! Jeg er noget mere begejstret for bog nummer to, end jeg var for etteren. […]” (Det rygende timeglas af Jennifer Bell) Læs hele Lines anmeldelse her>>