Modo, a deformed child, was adopted by Mr. Socrates and raised in isolation. He learned to be intelligent, clever, an excellent fighter - and to harness his mysterious ability to shapeshift into another person. As the final part of his "training," Mr. Socrates throws Modo into the heart of Victorian London and leaves him to make his way alone.
It's not long before Modo, making a living as a detective, discovers a sinister secret society. And at the same time, orphans are disappearing all over London. A few reappear as suddenly feral, wild children; most never come back. With the help of Octavia Milkweed, former street urchin and fellow "agent" for Mr. Socrates, Modo must thwart an evil plot and save the Parliament, and London as he knows it...
This is one of those "junk food" books; I knew as I read it that the characters were bland, the plot boring, etc., and it wasn't a great book. Still, I had fun reading it. Also, bonus points for the amazingly awesome cover art.
Don't read this book if you don't like cheesiness. There's an evil doctor. A giant clockwork robot. A hot evil assistant. A hot fellow agent. A young and not-fully-trained main character. I could go on about the sheer stereotypicalness of the story for a long, long time. It was like your average boring comic book, with steampunk elements.
A few of the characters were mildly interesting. Most weren't. Most, in fact, could be described by the word stereotype.
I think I'd describe Slade's writing as a "worthy effort." It was good, but not fabulous.
End Result: two stars. I wasn't impressed.