Review: THE NINE POUND HAMMER by John Claude Bemis

The Nine Pound Hammer (The Clockwork Dark, #1) 
John Claude Bemis
384 pages
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: August 10th, 2010
Source: ARC from Library
Rating:  LIKED

What if John Henry had a son?

Twelve-year-old Ray is haunted by the strangest memories of his father, whom Ray swears could speak to animals. Now an orphan, Ray jumps from a train going through the American South and falls in with a medicine show train and its stable of sideshow performers.

The performers turn out to be heroes, defenders of the wild, including the son of John Henry. They are hiding the last of the mythical Swamp Sirens from an ancient evil known as the Gog. Why the Gog wants the Siren, they can’t be sure, but they know it has something to do with rebuilding a monstrous machine that John Henry gave his life destroying years before, a machine that will allow the Gog to control the will of men and spread darkness throughout the world.

It’s been eight years since Ray Cobb’s dad dissapeared on a “job of work”. As an orphan, Ray has had much diffuculty surviving with his younger sister Sally and fears that she won’t get a proper family with Ray hanging around and decides to leave her at an orphanage. Once he leaves her, Ray has no clue what to do, and gets lost in the woods. There, he meets a young giant and an escape artist.

Little did he know that meeting these two would be the start of one the most adventurous and daring stories ever to have been written. Ray figures out his true identity and the true identity of his father. He has his first feeling of being part of a family.

I would’ve have given this book 5 stars, hands down, if it hadn’t been for one part at the end. Other than that, this story will always be one of my favorites. John Bemis puts together the old fables of John Henry and Johnny Appleseed in this first book of a series. I think that the author did a great job writing the book but could definitely use some improvements, but all in all this book was hard to put down and one of the best books I’ve ever read.


This review was written by my 12 year old brother :) Be sure to leave him a comment!


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply


    January 16, 2011

    An escape artist. Ha, now that's something different. Another nice review.

  2. Reply


    January 16, 2011

    Love a good adventure. Sounds like a great book, and this was a great review. Keep reading!

  3. Reply

    John Claude Bemis

    January 17, 2011

    Thanks to your brother for the review! I'm so glad he enjoyed it. Hope you like the rest of the Clockwork Dark trilogy.

  4. Reply

    Jenni Elyse

    January 17, 2011

    I awarded you the Stylish Blog Award. You can read the details here:

  5. Reply


    January 18, 2011

    Nice review :)
    This sounds like a really interesting read!

  6. Reply


    January 24, 2013

    This sounds like such a fun adventure. I love diving into these. I'll have to check it out!!