Wizard of Oz meets Pinocchio in Pádraig Kenny’s debut novel Tin. A science-fiction fairy-tale centred around a group of young mechanicals who set out to rescue their friend Christopher, a mechanical boy with a real soul. I loved the overall storyline - robots discovering what it means to be human, along with the mysterious terms that Kenny imagined up like ‘ensoulment’, and ‘refined propulsion’ which I was completely captivated by. But, sadly for me, the novel fell flat throughout. Whilst the plot twist had me hooked and the punchy short chapters kept me reading, it unfortunately fell short of my expectations. Kenny captured a brilliant tale of friendship, bravery and what it means to be human, but it lacked the adventure and drive that I craved for from the cover. I wanted more from the fascinating alternate 1930s Britain that Kenny dipped into and the parallel tin version of Emerald City that the cover suggests, but I felt this element was pushed to the sidelines and was made to feel shapeless and detached from the rest of the action. There was so much emphasis on trying to create a grand finale, that I lost all emotional attachment I had from the start of the novel. Kenny’s character development fell short as well. Whilst certain characters were captured better than others, like Round Rob and Mr Absalom (what becomes of him we’ll never know), but Jack and Christopher, two of the main characters, lacked the personality and distinguishability that could have made them great. Overall this book had the potential to be a special gem amongst a very overpopulated genre, but just because the book wasn’t for me doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a read.
Tin • Pádraig Kenny • illustrations by Katie Hickey • Chicken House Books
You can check out more of Katie Hickey's wonderful illustrations here!