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The Clockwork Ghost

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It was only a few weeks ago that the Biedermann twins, Tess and Theo, along with their friend Jaime Cruz, followed the secrets of the Morningstarrs’ cipher further anyone had in its century-and-a-half history—and destroyed their beloved home in the process. But the Old York Cipher still isn’t solved. The demolition of 354 W. 73rd Street only revealed the next clue in the g It was only a few weeks ago that the Biedermann twins, Tess and Theo, along with their friend Jaime Cruz, followed the secrets of the Morningstarrs’ cipher further anyone had in its century-and-a-half history—and destroyed their beloved home in the process. But the Old York Cipher still isn’t solved. The demolition of 354 W. 73rd Street only revealed the next clue in the greatest mystery of the modern world, and if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to discover what lies at the end of the puzzle laid into the buildings of New York by its brilliant, enigmatic architects, they will need to press on. But doing so could prove even more dangerous than they know. It is clear that the Morningstarr twins marshaled all the strange technology they had spent their lives creating in the construction of the Cipher, and that technology has its own plans for those who pursue it. It is also clear that Tess, Theo, and Jaime are not the only ones on the trail of the treasure. As enemies both known and unknown close in on them from all sides and the very foundations of the city seem to crumble around them, they will have to ask themselves how far they will go to change the unchangeable—and whether the price of knowing the secrets of the Morningstarrs is one they are willing to pay.


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It was only a few weeks ago that the Biedermann twins, Tess and Theo, along with their friend Jaime Cruz, followed the secrets of the Morningstarrs’ cipher further anyone had in its century-and-a-half history—and destroyed their beloved home in the process. But the Old York Cipher still isn’t solved. The demolition of 354 W. 73rd Street only revealed the next clue in the g It was only a few weeks ago that the Biedermann twins, Tess and Theo, along with their friend Jaime Cruz, followed the secrets of the Morningstarrs’ cipher further anyone had in its century-and-a-half history—and destroyed their beloved home in the process. But the Old York Cipher still isn’t solved. The demolition of 354 W. 73rd Street only revealed the next clue in the greatest mystery of the modern world, and if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to discover what lies at the end of the puzzle laid into the buildings of New York by its brilliant, enigmatic architects, they will need to press on. But doing so could prove even more dangerous than they know. It is clear that the Morningstarr twins marshaled all the strange technology they had spent their lives creating in the construction of the Cipher, and that technology has its own plans for those who pursue it. It is also clear that Tess, Theo, and Jaime are not the only ones on the trail of the treasure. As enemies both known and unknown close in on them from all sides and the very foundations of the city seem to crumble around them, they will have to ask themselves how far they will go to change the unchangeable—and whether the price of knowing the secrets of the Morningstarrs is one they are willing to pay.

30 review for The Clockwork Ghost

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy Bruestle

    I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review a while back, but since it is the sequel to another book, I wanted to find and read #1 first. Now that I have finished both, I can definitely say that I will be reading the 3rd and final book that concludes the York Cipher trilogy! What a great read! I was a little worried because the title was listed under YA releases and I tend to prefer more “adult” books. However, even though this was considered young adult, there I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review a while back, but since it is the sequel to another book, I wanted to find and read #1 first. Now that I have finished both, I can definitely say that I will be reading the 3rd and final book that concludes the York Cipher trilogy! What a great read! I was a little worried because the title was listed under YA releases and I tend to prefer more “adult” books. However, even though this was considered young adult, there was enough poise, action, imagery, and suspense for it to be an awesome read for just about anybody! I can’t wait for book #3 to come out!!! Anyone know a release date yet? I’m assuming it will be a year or so considering the #2 book I just finished was an ARC. But one can hope, right?! I have learned so much from reviewing these giveaway books! Not only have I branched out and read things that I otherwise wouldn’t look at twice, but I have also found new genres that I find I actually truly enjoy! It has been fun too! I am starting to notice how much I have really learned even in just my day to day conversations. Sometimes I find myself using words I didn’t know before reading them and having to look them up. Sometimes I find myself throwing out facts in a conversation and having people ask me how I knew them, only to tell them “it was in a book I just read!” Sorry for getting off topic, I’m just loving this! Gotta express it somewhere!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    Like its predecessor, Book # 2 in the York series is a wonderful combination of steampunk, mystery and alternate history. With their upper west side apartment building destroyed in the last book, the lead trio (twins Tess, Theo and friend Jaime) are separated: the twins live in Queens now with their parents, and Jaime with his grandmother in New Jersey.) They spend all of their time together to finish solving the Morningstarrs’ cipher, plenty of which is with surprising Aunt Esther. The disappea Like its predecessor, Book # 2 in the York series is a wonderful combination of steampunk, mystery and alternate history. With their upper west side apartment building destroyed in the last book, the lead trio (twins Tess, Theo and friend Jaime) are separated: the twins live in Queens now with their parents, and Jaime with his grandmother in New Jersey.) They spend all of their time together to finish solving the Morningstarrs’ cipher, plenty of which is with surprising Aunt Esther. The disappearance of hybrid animal chimeras, including Tess's beloved cat (Nine) and Cricket's beloved raccoon (Karl), is one of the main plotlines as is Theo's mysterious gray-cloaked female superhero. And, who are the mysterious blondes with the red dresses and what is their deal? One of the best additions to the series is the tiny robot (called Ono) who alternately babbles "Land of Kings" or "Oh no", and is full of surprises. Kudos to Laura Ruby for keeping it fresh and exciting, with both new and development of existing characters.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I have no idea what's going on AND I LOVE IT. New characters: I ADORE that we get Karl's perspective. Ono was so charming and I love him and he needs to be protected at all costs. The blond ladies are great villains -- not as delightfully creepy as Stoop and Pinscher, but I find the implications of their existence more interesting. Can't wait to see more of Dr. Newt. New story developments: (view spoiler)[Time travel! Multiverse! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!? (hi I have no idea what's going on AND I LOVE IT. New characters: I ADORE that we get Karl's perspective. Ono was so charming and I love him and he needs to be protected at all costs. The blond ladies are great villains -- not as delightfully creepy as Stoop and Pinscher, but I find the implications of their existence more interesting. Can't wait to see more of Dr. Newt. New story developments: (view spoiler)[Time travel! Multiverse! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!? (hide spoiler)] Very creative twists and turns, a lot of events that I did not see coming at all, and the ending! THE ENDING!! This isn't a traditional mystery, and there are so many open plotlines at the end that I probably wouldn't give this to kids who like a solid whodunit, but there is so much to love here. Other thoughts: not as immediately engaging as the first book, but I feel much more desparate to read Book 3 after finishing this book than I did to read Book 2 after finishing the first one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kidlitter

    One has to admire a children's book that begins with a quote from Baudelaire about Paris - "What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters." Fans of Ruby's previous book in the York series will know it is a perfect fit for the world of steampunk, mystery and alternate-history she created so skillfully in the The Shadow Cipher, the first book of the series. How good it is to see Tess and Theo Biedermann and the One has to admire a children's book that begins with a quote from Baudelaire about Paris - "What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters." Fans of Ruby's previous book in the York series will know it is a perfect fit for the world of steampunk, mystery and alternate-history she created so skillfully in the The Shadow Cipher, the first book of the series. How good it is to see Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend, Jamie Cruz, and Nine the chimera cat again! They are recovering from the loss of their beloved home, 354 W. 73rd Street, still intent on solving the riddle of the Morningstarr Twins' Cipher in the hopes of defeating the vile developer Darnell Slant's plans to remake New York and possibly run for electoral office. What could be worse? The book leaps into that continuing adventure, with the kids riding a metal carriage underground of NYC on their way to face down mad scientists, evil fembots, and even their own family members' desire to protect them. No matter what they discover by solving the Cipher, they are determined to thwart Slant, who may be almost the most loathsome real estate developer New York has ever faced, "...some rich man who doesn't care about anyone's history or future but his own?" Ruby delivers another puzzle box of a book, but most of all it is a love letter to a New York that is changing too fast, where the past can be wiped out not just by a construction crane but by callousness, racism and wilful ignorance. Theo, Tess and Jaime must discover the answer "to make them all feel real again, whole again, impervious to everything and everyone, the people who meant to do ill and the ones who meant to do well, because, sometimes, the result was the same." This is a good old-fashioned yarn where baddies are baddies, monsters which take all shapes, and heroes do their best to ride to the rescue of an entire city. There are some real dangers that face them, including animal experimentation, mass environmental damage, and sinister adults straight out of SPECTRE who will do anything to stop them from solving the puzzle. There are villains who believe "in order to fix things, you had to break them." Fortunately there is a diverse cast of heroes ranged against them, including women, senior citizens, and of course, brave children. There are many nods to great scientists of the past, most notable Ada Lovelace and Thomas Jennings, as well as the fantastic influence of the Morningstarrs, whose mystery continues to grow. Ruby is also masterful at portraying real relationships not just between her child protagonists, but also between them and other adults who may want to help, but also have their own agenda. Hers is the rare world where adults and children must negotiate and cooperate in order to solve not just the mystery, but the secrets of just plain getting along In the spirit of other great children's books such as The Westing Game, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Chasing Vermeer and When You Reach Me, The Clockwork Ghost is both a worthy successor, a ringing harbinger of the concluding book, and a terrific book in its own right. How else could you feel about a book that announces the children must go "where all the best mysteries are. The New York Public Library." Bring on the next book with bells on!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Not entirely sure what just happened?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I can't wait to read the 3rd book there was such a hang off.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Camryn

    What was that ending? I feel like this is going to get all mind twisty and bendy, moreso than it already was. But I don't really mind, because the way this is written isn't convoluted or annoying or confusing. I usually don't like fantasy, but this is done really, really well. I love the alternate version of Manhattan and all the history weaved in. Laura Ruby makes sure that she focuses on women (not just white women) and men who really wouldn't have their stories be so important today. Like, th What was that ending? I feel like this is going to get all mind twisty and bendy, moreso than it already was. But I don't really mind, because the way this is written isn't convoluted or annoying or confusing. I usually don't like fantasy, but this is done really, really well. I love the alternate version of Manhattan and all the history weaved in. Laura Ruby makes sure that she focuses on women (not just white women) and men who really wouldn't have their stories be so important today. Like, there were multiple black men who were former slaves or musicians or scientists or whatever that the kids talked about. Harriet Tubman was on their 20 dollar bill. It's just a great universe to live in, besides all the machines and bugs and scary things. I don't really understand the puzzles, but that's not really what I'm into this for. I love the friendships and the idea of the three kids just wandering around the city. They're dealing with things like gentrification and politics and death and loss in a really accessible way, I think. There were also parts I actually laughed out loud. Anyway. I think these books are great. Cricket, a Black (I think) little girl who screams all the time and finds everyone suspicious and her pet cat/raccoon, Karl, are my favorites.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    An excellent sequel! I loved the character development, the many middle of the night escapades and the growing friendship between the three kids. And I most heartily approve of the librarian, robot, and disguises. Aunt Esther is the BEST! The Jurassic Park thing in the middle there is a bit weird, and that new character there is a bit . . . impossible? Actually, the last 50 pages or so were all pretty much impossible. So I would recommend going into this one with an open mind, and if An excellent sequel! I loved the character development, the many middle of the night escapades and the growing friendship between the three kids. And I most heartily approve of the librarian, robot, and disguises. Aunt Esther is the BEST! The Jurassic Park thing in the middle there is a bit weird, and that new character there is a bit . . . impossible? Actually, the last 50 pages or so were all pretty much impossible. So I would recommend going into this one with an open mind, and if you get really confused just turn off the logical side of your brain until the book is done. You'll be okay. And if you are a mother, keep a REALLY open mind. Just saying. In the end, though, this was just fantastic. I really appreciate how Laura Ruby can combine an edge-of-your-seat mystery adventure with a breathtaking world and crazy, real characters who ask tough questions and deal with actual problems and are coming awake to the world in which they live. Another favourite aspect of The Clockwork Ghost is the writing. It is clever, funny, insightful. It brings this whole world to life. I have many (many, many) questions after this book, but this is the biggest: how in any world is Laura Ruby going to wrap this up in one more book? Some favourite quotes: '"I see you and your cynical eyeballs, Theodore," Aunt Esther said, plunking a glass of lemonade in front of him. "They're going to get stuck that way."' (Like I said, Aunt Esther is the BEST) 'She smelled of something sweet, like jam, and also something woody, like oak. As if she had been cooking up a batch of marmalade while carving wands for wizards.' 'Every kid knew not to ask an adult any questions until that adult had had at least one cup of coffee.'

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Grade: B+ An ARC was provided by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The York series is like The Mysterious Benedict Society for a modern audience, but I love it way more than I ever liked TMBS. With their apartment building demolished, the lead trio are separated by the entire island of Manhattan (the twins live in Queens now, and Jaime in New Jersey) but they're determined to spend time together and continue to solve the cipher. T Grade: B+ An ARC was provided by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The York series is like The Mysterious Benedict Society for a modern audience, but I love it way more than I ever liked TMBS. With their apartment building demolished, the lead trio are separated by the entire island of Manhattan (the twins live in Queens now, and Jaime in New Jersey) but they're determined to spend time together and continue to solve the cipher. There are themes of trying to find your spot in a new place and standing up for what's right and not remaking everything. There are multiple plot threads to follow, but none of them get too confusing. I will say that the pacing is a little off for most of the book but that can be looked past. Also there are fun references to and appearances by real historical figures. I think a little disbelief has to be suspended with the stuff the trio do, especially without an adult present (reading middle grade books makes me feel so old sometimes), but most of it is par for the course for adventure stories. Content warnings: some tense moments in a graveyard, threats of violence The Verdict: A fun continuation of the series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    This felt much slower than the first book. There was a bit of action and fun and humor in this story, but it also had a lot of not much happening. The mystery from the first book continues in this one and will continue in the next one. It was still interesting, but I wanted more answers. I liked the animal plotline. That was the most interesting part of the story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rhyllis Bignell

    Loved the second York novel, filled with mystery, crime-solving kids, missing chimera, code-cracking , intriguing settings and more mysteries to solve. Laura Ruby's world-building in a future New York, her intriguing characters and strong main characters make this an exciting novel for readers from 11+.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Curiouser and curiouser!! I'm so enjoying this series - these characters are deeply resonant with me, plus the books revolve around puzzles that I'm as eager and trepidatious to solve as the kids are. Very much looking forward to the last installment!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    One of my favorite middle grade series, and hoping to give it some hype when it comes out - kids need to read it!! Ono is my new favorite friend, and I love the ending! Just dying for the next book now!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eden

    Gosh this book was so good. I love how fast-paced and action packed these stories are. There is never a dull moment. I also love the history that’s packed into the story. Ahhh so good!!! I can’t wait for the next one!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Don’t remember much from the first book and still found this generally enjoyable.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lesley Burnap

    I think this slice of Laura Ruby’s story is even better than the first. Everything is getting more curious as more layers are revealed. Clever, adventurous storytelling that has you craving answers!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Newman

    3.5 stars - this was a fun continuation from book 1, and I really enjoyed it! Looking forward to the final instalment.

  18. 5 out of 5

    ↠ cняιsтιηε ✩

    the parrot is my spirit animal quotes edgar allan poe and sings hamilton wait now i have to wait another year for the next book....

  19. 5 out of 5

    Melinda Beatty

    I LOVE books about puzzles and treasure hunts and this follow up to THE SHADOW CIPHER was just as entertaining and exciting at the first! Can't wait for book 3.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lawral

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. While I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading the final installment when it's available, I had some big issues with it! Morningstar cipher plot wise, this was the clue leads to clue mystery book as the first York novel, though in this one the were far less puzzles that the reader could solve. They almost all required complicated keys or ciphers. From a plot standpoint, this makes sense; the clues get more complicated the closer Jaime and the twins get to solving the puzzle. But While I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading the final installment when it's available, I had some big issues with it! Morningstar cipher plot wise, this was the clue leads to clue mystery book as the first York novel, though in this one the were far less puzzles that the reader could solve. They almost all required complicated keys or ciphers. From a plot standpoint, this makes sense; the clues get more complicated the closer Jaime and the twins get to solving the puzzle. But from a reader standpoint, it does mean that you lose the interactive possibilities that made the first book so fun; you watch them solve it rather than trying to solve with them. But still, watching the different ways that Tess, Theo, and Jaime solve problems and the different ways they are adjusting to their lives after the disastrous events in book 1 is a treat. This isn't my big problem with this book. It's the petnapping. [Spoilers] When Nine is taken away, we are so in Tess's head. And the way Ruby writes that chapter and the few following it as Tess tries to function without Nine are so very well done. Tess is heartbroken over and worried about her Cat, betrayed by her mother in such a deep way, and also just afraid of functioning without Nine in her life. Her mounting fear of sleep and panic attacks and the world will be recognizable to anyone with chronic anxiety who has ever lost their anchor. And the way Theo steps in to ground her deepens both of their characters. This whole subplot, and the chapter where Nine is taken in particular, are gutting. Really really gutting. But that's not even where I have big issue. My issue is with Cricket and Karl. When Karl is taken, we're not in Cricket's head. We don't see what she's going through the way we see it for Tess (though after we learn Karl is also missing we see the events from his perspective, which is a different kind of horrible). Karl's kidnapping, as opposed to Nine's escape from the pound, is treated like a clue. Even though Jaime in particular but also Tess and to a lesser extent Theo are empathetic to Cricket about her loss and her worries, ultimately after talking to her about what she knows, they move right on from worrying about Karl to worrying about being bugged. It's understandable in context and didn't bother me at the time. My real issue is with the ending. There is a lot left unresolved at the end of this mid-trilogy tome, as there should be, but the reunion of Tess and Nine wraps up that harrowing subplot with a bow and even a disguise for Nine so she's not recognized from her "attack" video. I'm glad of this. Leaving Tess without Nine until the publication of the 3rd book would be too much. But Cricket and Karl get no such relief. The last time we see Cricket she's dressed up as Karl and is a quieter, less bold version of herself. The last time we see Karl, he's in a lab with a dude we know to be creepy and probably being experimented on (we lose his point of view after he gets a shot and loses consciousness). The only thing that changes for them with the resolution of the book is that Jaime, Tess, and Theo are optimistic. Jaime thinks toward the end that they'll all find Karl, maybe with his mystery superhero's help. And it's this passing thought more than anything else that upsets me. Because really, the return of Nine doesn't put them any closer to Karl, and neither have any of their clues. And now they have a much much bigger mystery to solve than even the Morningstar cipher. It feels like a throwaway wrap up. They'll be fine because look! Other things are fine! And Cricket and Karl deserve more than that. If they fade to the background again, animal experimentation will just be the cruelest way for Jaime and the twins to figure out someone -- maybe multiple someones -- are spying on them. [/spoilers] There is so much awareness of anxiety and childhood trauma in these books. It seems very very wrong to trade on Cricket's because she's not one of our main three just to get Tess, Theo, and Jaime where they need to go in the plot.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anita McDivitt Barrios

    In the first book, remember how twins Tess and Theo and friend Jaime solved the first part of the Morningstarr's cipher and their entire apartment building was swallowed by the city? Expect something equally as earth-shaking, but in a slightly twisted way, as they solve the second part to the cipher. (I won't spoil it, I promise!) Jaime's living in Hoboken, New Jersey, in a shiny new apartment building with a "bug" infestation, and Cricket, the amazing 6-year-old who plays In the first book, remember how twins Tess and Theo and friend Jaime solved the first part of the Morningstarr's cipher and their entire apartment building was swallowed by the city? Expect something equally as earth-shaking, but in a slightly twisted way, as they solve the second part to the cipher. (I won't spoil it, I promise!) Jaime's living in Hoboken, New Jersey, in a shiny new apartment building with a "bug" infestation, and Cricket, the amazing 6-year-old who plays a significant role in this caper. The twins now live with their Aunt Esther and Nine, the genetically engineered cat who helps Tess deal with her anxiety and nightmares, out in Queens. There's a bad guy, "Duke," who employs blonde women in red dresses to track down the children and learn what they know of the cipher, but watch out for his second-in-command. The first cipher is unmistakably a Rubik's cube but the kids have to find the missing jewels for each square's face in order to solve it. Think of solving a Rubik's cube without the colored stickers -- pointless, right? The second is a series of letters which the kids use a Vigenere table to try and solve and get a cryptic message: "Do not be afraid of the spiders." A series of leads reveals the entrance to a tunnel that runs under the city, probably dug for the Underground Railroad, and spits them out in a dress shop. Across the street, in a display case in a bank, is a dress that holds a secret in its.... Nah, I said I won't spoil it, and I won't. This is a great romp, a fantastic sequel and we can't wait for the final book. The twist at the end is especially good! Visit my blog for more great middle grade book recommendations, free teaching materials and fiction writing tips: http://amb.mystrikingly.com/

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I. Love. This. Series! Tess, Theo, and Jaime are back again uncovering more clues to the Morningstarr Cipher. They are all a little shaken after what happened in the previous book to their beloved home; Jaime refuses to accept his new, pristine apartment complex, Theo doubts his intellect for perhaps the first time, and Tess continues to worry about everything. As the cipher unravels, the group is no longer sure what it will reveal, and whether they want to solve it at all. They are in constant I. Love. This. Series! Tess, Theo, and Jaime are back again uncovering more clues to the Morningstarr Cipher. They are all a little shaken after what happened in the previous book to their beloved home; Jaime refuses to accept his new, pristine apartment complex, Theo doubts his intellect for perhaps the first time, and Tess continues to worry about everything. As the cipher unravels, the group is no longer sure what it will reveal, and whether they want to solve it at all. They are in constant danger, have to keep lying to their parents, and are not sleeping well. I love the side characters. Aunt Esther was hilarious and wonderful, we get some chapters from Karl’s POV, Cricket wasn’t featured as prominently, but she was still great. Lance and Ono had their own adorable robot personalities as well. Another thing I noticed (because I look for it) was the diversity in characters and their gender roles. The twins’ mom is a detective, Jaime’s grandma is a handy-woman, Jaime is mixed-race, I think Cricket is black? (I’m not exactly sure because the author was pretty adept at weaving details in seamlessly.) Jaime’s mom was a black female physicist and there was messaging about how people tried to steer her away from that particular dream because of how she looked. Even the villains, a group of eerily similar-looking blonde women, is a commentary on societal norms and what women need to look like in order to get ahead. The ending of this book was completely unexpected. This is not a straightforward mystery. I don’t have any good predictions for where the plot will go from here, but I can’t wait to see how the author wraps it up!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    “The Clockwork Ghost” the second novel in the “York” series opens after the demolition of the Biedermann twins and Jamie Cruz’s home at 354W. 73rd Street, their families forced to move to different locations; Tess and Theo to Queens with their parents and Jaime to New Jersey with his grandmother. But distance hasn’t stopped them pursuing clues to solving the Morningstarrs’ cipher although they have to stay one step ahead of the “fixer” and his gang who are hot on their trail. Woven in “The Clockwork Ghost” the second novel in the “York” series opens after the demolition of the Biedermann twins and Jamie Cruz’s home at 354W. 73rd Street, their families forced to move to different locations; Tess and Theo to Queens with their parents and Jaime to New Jersey with his grandmother. But distance hasn’t stopped them pursuing clues to solving the Morningstarrs’ cipher although they have to stay one step ahead of the “fixer” and his gang who are hot on their trail. Woven into the main theme are subplots that include the arrest and disappearance of Nine from the pound; the kidnapping of Cricket’s beloved raccoon Karl and Dr. Newt’s experimentation; the emergence of the gray-coated lady; and Duke Goodson’s contract. Intensity and suspense build as the plot twists and turns, the teens looking for help in unexpected places including a small robot called Ono who constantly jabbers “Land of Kings”, Tess and Theo’s Aunt Esther, and the Cypherists. Well-written and intriguing the plot flows all too quickly and smoothly to a confrontation in a graveyard and questions left unanswered for the next book. Among a bevy of compelling and believable characters who infuse energy and tension into the plot are the impatient and restless Tess Biedermann whose nights are often filled with nightmares; her twin the awkward and apprehensive Theo; the wary, artistic and kind Jamie Cruz; and the fierce, determined, and opinionated Zelda “Cricket” Moran. I thoroughly enjoyed “The Clockwork Ghost” with its mix of steampunk, mystery and alternate history and can’t wait to see where Laura Ruby takes the adventure next.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Sperber

    4.5 Stars. Ummm. That ending. Wow, I did not see that coming. This book’s plot hints at something impossibly complex being unspooled in the next book in the series, and I am eager to pick it up. This was another great installment in the series, keeping the momentum generated from the first book, and like an underway car speeding on the tracks, doesn’t stop. This incredibly imaginative alternate NYC remains intriguing and full of secrets. I really enjoyed the chapters told from unexpected points 4.5 Stars. Ummm. That ending. Wow, I did not see that coming. This book’s plot hints at something impossibly complex being unspooled in the next book in the series, and I am eager to pick it up. This was another great installment in the series, keeping the momentum generated from the first book, and like an underway car speeding on the tracks, doesn’t stop. This incredibly imaginative alternate NYC remains intriguing and full of secrets. I really enjoyed the chapters told from unexpected points of view, like Carl and the blondes. There is so much happening in this series, from experimentation of chimera animals, to wealthy and corrupt people pulling strings behind the scenes, to the mysterious machines, and what they found in the trunk and the lady in grey. I almost cannot wrap my head around it all, and yet I think there is only one more book in the series. I cannot wait for it to be released. The characters in the story continue to grow and mature. I particularly like Aunt Esther and her quirky nature and impossible job history. Ohno was also a funny highlight. Beyond everything, I marvel at the great Jewish representation in the story. The mention of horas at weddings, shivas, Hanukkah, and everything else Jewish woven into the story just makes me so happy. I love seeing myself represented on the page. Laura Ruby writes such beautiful prose. I am thoroughly impressed with the intelligence of this series and the great narration of the audiobooks. Can’t wait for the next one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christinetitus

    " 'The Morningstarrs had faith,' said Jaime. They had faith that these items were so important that someone would preserve them. Tess didn't say it out loud, but she thought it: Or, the Morningstarrs knew that someone would preserve them. But maybe that was the definition of faith. Something that you can't prove but you know in your heart is true even when you can't explain it." (Ruby, 131) Ruby continues the journey of Tess, Theo (the Biedermann twins) and their friend Jaime in York " 'The Morningstarrs had faith,' said Jaime. They had faith that these items were so important that someone would preserve them. Tess didn't say it out loud, but she thought it: Or, the Morningstarrs knew that someone would preserve them. But maybe that was the definition of faith. Something that you can't prove but you know in your heart is true even when you can't explain it." (Ruby, 131) Ruby continues the journey of Tess, Theo (the Biedermann twins) and their friend Jaime in York: The Clockwork Ghost. What started in York: The Shadow Cipher, becomes more mysterious as these three friends continue trying to solve the cipher they started and which ended up destroying the building they lived in. This sci-fi novel set in a futuristic, but not entirely different New York City shows the faith that the three have in each other and their purpose as they unearth more clues in the puzzle they started with their Grandpa Ben. The novel does not disappoint as Ruby unwinds more clues, yet leaves the reader thinking the end is in sight, yet leaves us hanging and waiting patiently for Book 3. Who are the twins really? How does Ada Oneal figure into all of this so many years later? Even though Grandpa Ben lives in the Sunrise in Gotham Senior Living Center, can he still be integral in helping Tess, Theo and Jaime solve the cipher? I guess we'll just have to wait. . .

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aud

    4.5 I want to know how this ends! One book left, and I really want to know how it all ties together! It's hard to write a review of this one without spoiling the series. But I still love the main characters. I love the plot, but also the twin's and Jaime's asides, banter, and inner monologues. I so appreciate that the kids aren't being pushed into any romantic "mushy stuff" (Theo does find a librarian interesting at one point, so it's not like it's not there, it's just not the point) 4.5 I want to know how this ends! One book left, and I really want to know how it all ties together! It's hard to write a review of this one without spoiling the series. But I still love the main characters. I love the plot, but also the twin's and Jaime's asides, banter, and inner monologues. I so appreciate that the kids aren't being pushed into any romantic "mushy stuff" (Theo does find a librarian interesting at one point, so it's not like it's not there, it's just not the point) - they're allowed to be kids with other things on their minds, and it's great. Cricket remains one of the best characters. I'm so glad she's in this. Ruby does a fantastic job of making each of her characters distinct. You know whose point of view is dominant in each chapter (it's 3rd person, but different chapters follow different character's trains of thought) right away - though the character's name is at the top of each chapter, which is nice. A great series for kids who love puzzles, adventure, realistic steampunk (if that wasn't a thing before, this book makes it one), and realistic, smart, funny, relatable, and fundamentally descent main characters.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    A thoroughly enjoyable second book in the York series by Laura Ruby. We continue the adventure with the Beiderman twins, Theo and Tess and their friend Jamie as they work to solve the Shadow Cipher crafted by the brilliant and enigmatic Morningside twins. As the book begins, Theo and Tess and their parents have moved in with their Aunt Esther, a woman with a mysterious past of her own. Jamie and his grandmother have moved to Hoboken in a new building that has "wiggle worms" discovered by the pre A thoroughly enjoyable second book in the York series by Laura Ruby. We continue the adventure with the Beiderman twins, Theo and Tess and their friend Jamie as they work to solve the Shadow Cipher crafted by the brilliant and enigmatic Morningside twins. As the book begins, Theo and Tess and their parents have moved in with their Aunt Esther, a woman with a mysterious past of her own. Jamie and his grandmother have moved to Hoboken in a new building that has "wiggle worms" discovered by the precocious Cricket, a terror on wheels with her raccoon Karl. As Theo, Tess and Jamie stumble across yet more puzzles and clues, they find themselves the target of others chasing the cipher. Tess' therapy cat, Nine, disappears. A woman in a gray coat that Jamie thought existed only in his mind, rescues the intrepid trio but presents more questions than answers. Where will the cipher lead? In a steampunk world full of personality and adventure, Laura Ruby has crafted another page-turning installment leaving the reader hungry to get to Book 3.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I've always enjoyed mysteries and love steampunk novels, of which both genres fit the York series. I love the twists and turns and a new character introduced towards the end of the book. Our trio - Tess, Theo and Jaime are on the case to finish solving the cipher, but also a missing cat and raccoon. There's some interesting new bad guys - including blonde women who all seem to look the same but aren't. I also must say I love Aunt Esther who helps the kids out just a little bit during the book an I've always enjoyed mysteries and love steampunk novels, of which both genres fit the York series. I love the twists and turns and a new character introduced towards the end of the book. Our trio - Tess, Theo and Jaime are on the case to finish solving the cipher, but also a missing cat and raccoon. There's some interesting new bad guys - including blonde women who all seem to look the same but aren't. I also must say I love Aunt Esther who helps the kids out just a little bit during the book and seems to understand what is going on while not knowing at all what is going on. I love the mix of robotics in an older time setting and especially the robot that helps them that they call Ono (for saying consistently "Oh no"). Of course, there are many unfinished parts of this mystery and I'm excited to see what the last volume will hold for our three adventuring friends. Verdict: A fantastically wondrous book about ciphers, disappearing chimeras (hybrid animals), and robotic insects among many other things.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    The Clockwork Ghost (York #2) by Laura Ruby, 464 pages. Walden Pond (Harper), 2019. $18 Language: (swears, ‘f’); Mature Content: ; Violence: BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH Even after their former apartment building collapsed, twins Theo and Tess, along with their cat Nine and their best friend Jaime, are still dedicated to solving the Old York Cipher left behind by the Morningstarrs. They are not above lying a little bit to t The Clockwork Ghost (York #2) by Laura Ruby, 464 pages. Walden Pond (Harper), 2019. $18 Language: (swears, ‘f’); Mature Content: ; Violence: BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH Even after their former apartment building collapsed, twins Theo and Tess, along with their cat Nine and their best friend Jaime, are still dedicated to solving the Old York Cipher left behind by the Morningstarrs. They are not above lying a little bit to their parents and putting themselves in danger. But when other’s lives are in danger because of the ruthless others who are also racing to solve the puzzles, the friends will have hard decisions to make. Ruby has added some creepy villains and fantastic twists to her narrative this time. And thankfully she has abandoned the deus exmachina that so irked me at the end of the first book! I was hard pressed to believe I’d read almost 500 pages by the time I was done – it flew by so quickly. Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2019...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti Call

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Walden Pond Press, in exchange for an honest review. "...Cipheriests knew less than Theo himself. Once, that would have made Theo feel proud. Finally, he was the expert! He didn't feel like an expert. He felt like a lone pea lost in a soup of cream sauce." This stunning second book in the YORK series is filled with mystery, puzzles, and intriguing characters and situations. Told from the point of view of the Biederman twins,(Tess and I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Walden Pond Press, in exchange for an honest review. "...Cipheriests knew less than Theo himself. Once, that would have made Theo feel proud. Finally, he was the expert! He didn't feel like an expert. He felt like a lone pea lost in a soup of cream sauce." This stunning second book in the YORK series is filled with mystery, puzzles, and intriguing characters and situations. Told from the point of view of the Biederman twins,(Tess and Theo)and their friend Jaime, and Karl the animal/robot, this book is fast paced and well written. The twins and Jaime are as brilliant as they are interesting to read about and this book is the perfect companion to the first with even more history, relics and ghosts from the past. And of course it's another great tribute to the beauty of New York. The ending is a surprising yet unsurprising and satisfying twist ending. But now I have more questions, not fewer! I'm looking forward to the last installment of this trilogy!

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