The Clockwork Girl
written by Sean O'Reilly
illustrated by Kevin Hanna
The Clockwork Girl and Huxley live in two different worlds and have fathers who hate each other. Huxley’s father, Dendrus the Grafter, made a castle “as an ode to the beauty and power of nature.” The Clockwork Girl’s father, Wilhelm the Tinkerer, made a castle “narrow and precise…as a tribute to technology.”
Huxley is a mutant circus boy with one horn, fangs, and two hearts. The Clockwork Girl is her father’s own scientific creation, born of his need to be a respected man of science. He creates her in order to win an award and gain respect, but he doesn’t anticipate that Huxley, whom he hates, will fall in love with her. Huxley meets up with the Clockwork Girl and teaches her some independence since she was only just created and still doesn’t know about the world.
The Clockwork Girl is called a “futuristic Romeo and Juliet.” It isn’t exactly the same, and it doesn’t have the sad ending, but there are definite similarities. On one hand, this graphic novel is covering well-known, archetypical ground, with aspects reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast and other beloved tales. On the other hand, it’s been made unique with its sci-fi atmosphere and the fact that the characters are a mutant and a robot. It asks the question science fiction books have asked for years: Can a robot love?
There’s a flashback that shows why Wilhelm hates Huxley, and in the main story Huxley comes to believe—erroneously—that the Clockwork Girl is going to hurt him because of who her father is. The opposite is true, and the misunderstanding that occurs revs up the plot.
The fact that the two main characters are each outsiders in their own way adds to the appeal, because everyone has felt like an outsider at some point. The story is fairly simple, but it’s also touching, especially when Huxley’s two hearts come into play toward the end.
All of the pages are in color, and the style would lend easily into that of a cartoon. This works well, in fact, because a Clockwork Girl animated movie is in the works. At the end of the book, there’s a bonus picture gallery showing the characters in different art styles from different artists. Because of the way The Clockwork Girl is written and drawn, it should have a wide audience, as
both children and adults would be able to enjoy it.