Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
Publication Date: February 12, 2019 (US)
Summary from NetGalley:
Thirteen-year-old Lily Harman always dreamed of adventure. A strong-willed girl, Lily felt trapped in a life of Victorian stuffiness at her prim boarding school. But after her father-a famous inventor-disappears on a routine zeppelin flight, Lily’s life gets turned upside down. Now cared for by her guardian, the heartless Madame Verdigris, Lily is quite certain that she’s being watched. Mysterious, silver-eyed men are lurking in the shadows, just waiting for their chance to strike. But what could they possibly want from her? There are rumors, Lily learns, that her father had invented the most valuable invention ever made-a perpetual motion machine. But if he made such a miraculous discovery, he certainly never told Lily. And all he left behind is a small box-with no key, no hinges. With the help of a clockmaker’s son, Robert, and her mechanimal fox, Malkin, Lily escapes London in search of the one person who might know something about her father’s disappearance-and what he left behind.
ARC provided by Jolly Fish Press via NetGalley for an honest review.
This book was such a delight to read. It was fast paced with some good twists and turns that will keep the middle grade reader’s attention.
Lily was a great main character. She is a tomboy at heart is okay with it. I loved her thoughts about how a young lady should act and about walking around with books on her head for posture. She was also pretty smart and thoroughly brave, even when the odds were against her. She always came up with a plan to get them out of the tough situations she found herself in. I also appreciated how much she cared for the mechanicals she came in contact with. Even though they were not human she always treated them as such, even when those around her didn’t and made fun of her for doing so.
Robert was also a good solid character that a lot of boys will be able to relate too. He wasn’t afraid to jump right in and help when it was needed. And he also had a respect for the mechanicals. He was better at fixing things than he likes to admit and always has his doubts. He has a fear of heights which he is able to overcome in the story by thinking about things his dad had told him. It was awesome to see him overcome this.
There are some great adult role models in this book, which was nice to see. Both Lily’s and Robert’s fathers were supportive of them and you could tell that they loved their children. They also meet Anna Quinn, a pilot and journalist. She was also a great adult who helps them out when they need it.
Malkin is the mechanimal fox that is Lily’s companion and friend. He was sarcastic and often grumpy and sullen. He was a great counterpoint to many of the things going on. He was also good for some snide and amusing remarks along the way. Loved him!
The setting was great, and very steampunkish. I liked the airships, the mechanicals that all had personality, some more than others, but they still needed to be wound as they were mostly clockwork. Not sure how they all worked, but I was willing to put it down to something a little bit magical.
I am so glad that an American publisher finally decided to pick up this wonderful series from the UK. It will be a delightful addition to libraries and will capture the hearts and imaginations of many children.