Lily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father is missing and now silver-eyed men stalk her through the shadows. What could they want from her?
With her friends—Robert, the clockmaker’s son, and Malkin, her mechanical fox—Lily is plunged into a murky and menacing world. Too soon Lily realizes that those she holds dear may be the very ones to break her heart. . . .
Murder, mayhem and mystery meet in this gripping Victorian adventure.
Received with many thanks in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl was a true delight to read. A middle-grade steampunk adventure set in Victorian England, this book has mechanical, mechanimals, hybrids, steam-powered airships and so much more. What first caught my eye was the brilliantly done cover- simply beautiful, don't you think? It gives you an idea of what to expect- two fabulous protagonists, a mechanical fox and a unique key...what could possibly happen when you put all these together?
Well, here's what: Lily is a 13-year-old spunky tomboy who is suddenly pulled out of school when her father, a renowned inventor goes missing and is presumed dead. Lily in understandably very shook, but her pet mechanical fox, Malkin, has other news. On learning that her father was working on a new invention that could possibly change the world as they know it, Lily knows she can't simply sit at home doing nothing while everything turned to chaos around her. She starts searching for answers, which ultimately draws all kinds of danger towards her- creepy mirror-eyed men included. However, with the help of her Robert, the clockmaker's son and others, Lily is sure she can take on whatever may come. The question is- can she?
The story starts with Lily in school, absolutely detesting every minute of their attempts to turn her into a demure young lady. The author then slowly builds up the pace, and everything unfolds smoothly up until Lily meets Robert and is reunited with Malkin, and that's when the story truly takes off. I absolutely loved the world-building. It all just felt so real, and I had no problem in conjuring up everything in my mind as I read on- right from Lily's posture classes to the mechanicals (mechanical humans) and hybrids (half-human, half-mechanical beings). The author does a great job in describing 19th century England and combining it with his very original ideas- I'd gladly move into this enchanting world without a second thought!
The characters, again, felt very real and alive. Lily and Robert went through a lot of development from who we first see, and Robert, especially, has a superb character arc, considering all he goes through the course of the story. Anna was a very welcome addition, and I loved how she fit into their story. The villainous mirror-eyed men and others were written deliciously creepily too! I also loved how the mechanicals felt so very human- and yes, Malkin too, was a fabulous character!
The plot itself was super exciting, and the second half, especially, had me glued to the pages- the author does a great job with the action scenes, especially, and doesn't shy away from dealing with themes such a loss and grief. I loved the little bits of wisdom sprinkled throughout, and it was lovely to see the story tackle all kinds of subject while focusing on the fun and exciting parts too! The ending was very satisfying, while leaving room for the story to progress as a sequel, and I, for one, simply can't wait to get started on it as soon as possible!
In conclusion I'd say- by all the ticks, just read this book already!
The story idea: 5/5
The realization of the story: 4.5/5
The characters: 5/5
The cover: 5/5
Enjoy factor: 5/5