I’m a big fan of middle-grade / age 9-12 fiction. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s my fan of gripping adventures, maybe it’s my love of Harry Potter and Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights that fit into this genre, as well as the Percy Jackson series. There’s quite a few middle-grade books out there that have deeper meanings and themes running through them. If you’re already a fan of Young Adult, I recommend this genre immensely – especially if you want a quick yet imaginative tale.
Now, onto the review of Peter Bunzl’s ‘Cogheart’.
Some secrets change the world in a heartbeat…
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
If you’re 9-12 or looking for a good adventure book for your kids, I recommend this one. It kept me gripped for the whole day I read it. Yes, you read that right. I finished this book in a day – well, less than that, but still.
I enjoyed the adventure both Lily and Robert have, and its steampunk theme was a very nice touch, reminding me of both ‘Mortal Engines’ and Stephen Hunt. I would say, it’s a lot easier to read than Stephen Hunt, but that makes sense as it’s for a younger audience.
I love a bit of steampunk, and this book had it in spades thanks to the aeronauts, dirigibles, and automatons. I got a sense of the time period thanks to the descriptions of the dress and the aspects of Victorian life. So whether you’re a fan of steampunk or not, this is a nice introduction to it.
I quite liked the introduction of the sassy fox Malkin. He added a little bit extra to the characterisations of Lily and Robert, who are your standard heroes. If you’ve read Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’, then you’d also perhaps recognise Mr Roach and Mr Mould as your creepy villains, who stop at nothing to achieve their purpose – creating havoc and even death in their pursuit of Lily.
Yes, it was a gripping story – keeping me reading all through the afternoon. But I did work out the plot of the book by the time I was halfway through. It’s your standard adventure story, and I didn’t feel there were many eagerly-awaited cliffhangers or twists in the tale, of which I was disappointed. Other books in this genre have included more twists, so while it was an enjoyable story, I’ve got a whole heap of other books I’d prefer to read before getting back to this series again.
Having said that, if you want an easy middle-grade read, with a steampunk theme (of which I love), I recommend this one as a good starter.
I give it 3 stars out of 5.