A Steampunk Quest in Peter Bunzl’s Cogheart

If you are a fan of adventurous mysteries filled with plucky kids and steampunk sensibilities, Cogheart, by Peter Bunzl, is a great choice. I actually first learned of this book because it was published by Usborne in the UK in 2016. As an Usborne consultant, I was yearning for it to come to the US. Well, it finally is, but it is being published here by Jolly Fish Press instead of Usborne. The book releases on 2/19/19. I received a review copy of this book, but all opinions are my own.

If you are not already a fan of steampunk, you might be wondering what it is. Steampunk is a genre of fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology. Books in this genre tend to be set in Victorian England or the Wild West where the machines that they use make a stark contrast with the world around them. J and I first became aware of steampunk when we read The League of Seven. I wasn’t sure if she would like it, but we both loved it. More recently, we have read Etiquette and Espionage, a YA steampunk that is super fun. Both were Battle of the Book requirements. Cogheart fits right in as a great introduction to steampunk for the 8+ crowd.

Cogheart is the story of Lily. Lily is a girl who doesn’t fit into Victorian society. She would rather read penny dreadfuls than learn how to walk with a book on her head. She wants adventure. This might be in part because both of her parents are inventors, although her mother died years earlier. At the beginning of the book we learn that Lily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father had hidden her away at boarding school under a pseudonym but is missing and presumed dead. When their housekeeper picks her up from school, the true mystery begins.

Cogheart is a quest story. Lily returns home to find that she is being stalked by silver-eyed men. They want something from her, but she has no idea what. Lily teams up with Robert, the local clock-maker’s son, and Malkin, her father’s mechanimal fox. As they set out to discover what really happened to her father and what these strange men want from her, they learn who they can trust and who they cannot.

Filled with mechanicals and mechanimals, flying dirigibles and zeppelins, readers are drawn into this alternate version of London. While the beginning of the book is a little slow, when it picks up, it simply takes off.

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