Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
I love steampunk! The incredible inventions requiring cogs and steam valves, the fashion, the goggles, the explosions! Airships galore! Steampunk is so much fun to read and I was very excited to come across a steampunk inspired story for middle grade readers.
Cogheart introduces us to Lily Grantham, a young girl living at a horrible finishing school for young ladies learning all about how to be a respectable young lady and nothing about her dream job-becoming an airship captain and air-pirate. When she is told the horrible news of her inventor father’s disappearance after his airship crashes, Lily is sent home to live with her father’s housekeeper Madame Verdigris and the household staff that is almost entirely comprised of automatons. But home is wasn’t she remembers. Many of the automatons have been run down and their maintenance neglected. The housekeeper is now in charge and has moved into her father’s rooms. Told she is now destitute due to her father’s poor management, Lily is devastated to learn all of her father’s automatons will be sold. While Madame Verdigris continues to search the house for valuables, Lilly learns her father had created a perpetual motion machine that would change the future of mechanicals and automatons. Thinking she has found the secret, Lilly escapes her home and sets out to seek help from the only person she thinks she can trust, her godfather Professor Silverfish.
Along the way, Lilly finds an ally in Robert Townsend, the son of a clockmaker who discovers a mechanical fox being chased by ruthless gun-toting thugs. After rescuing and repairing the fox, Peter discovers the fox belongs to John Hartman, father to Lily and that she is in great danger. Together, Lilly and Robert set out on a dangerous mission to find what really happened to Lilly’s father, save her family’s fortune and mechanicals, and find the mysterious device that has put them all in danger.
Packed full of action and adventure, Cogheart is a thrilling story of love, family, and the drive to protect those you care about. There’s airship battles, evil mechanical men, and plenty of shady characters who cannot be trusted. Lilly and Robert make a wonderful team and are both incredibly smart and brave. Lilly never saw the mechanicals as machines or servants, they were her friends and some, just like family. The relationship between Lilly and her mechanical friends really highlights the importance of being kind to everyone-especially those that are different from you.
This was a really fun read and I highly recommend it for your favorite middle grade reader and steampunk lover in your life. It’s the first book in a trilogy and I’m excited to see what adventures Lilly and Robert have next!
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Full disclosure time: I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley. Thank you to Netgalley and Jolly Fish Press for the opportunity to read and review this title. All opinions are my own.