My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Jolly Fish Press, via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating of 3.5
Lily Hartman finds Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy boring, and dull. She’s not allowed to read her Penny Dreadful magazines as they’re forbidden, and all the girls are horrid. But that’s okay, because she only has to wait until her father John Hartman comes to get her at the end of term, she can handle that. That is, until she is told by her headmistress that her father’s zeppelin, the Dragonfly, has crashed and her father cannot be found, and is presumed dead. She leaves the academy with her housekeeper Ms. Verdigris to head back to Brackenbridge Manor. On the way Lily finds herself crossing paths with Mr. Roach, a strange man with silver eyes, and from this point on her life is thrown into turmoil as she soon finds out that there is a group of nasty men out to find a secret contraption that her father has invented. And they will stop at nothing to get it. Lily doesn’t know who to trust as she starts to unravel the truth of her past, with her mechanimal Malkin, and the clock maker’s son Robert, she sets off to try and find safety, and hopefully, her father.
All of the above happens in a charming old London, steampunk setting, with Zeppelins and Mechanical people and animals roaming about running daily errands and going about their tick-tocking ways.
Cogheart was a charming story, I feel mostly written for a middle grade age group, but still enjoyable for an adult audience. I found the world interesting, and I loved the addition of mechanicals and mechanimals. I’ve always had a fondness for steampunk, and this made me a little bit giddy with all the mention of cogs and clockwork. The characters were likable, and I felt for Robert, especially with the hardships that he goes through in this story. I found Lily to be a little bit obnoxious, but I don’t feel that that was the intention of the author, it may have just been the way her dialogue was written. I absolutely hated Madame Verdigris on ‘site’ you could tell straight away that she’s up to no good. I loved Anne and Malkin.
I found this story to be a bit too slow paced for my liking. A few times I thought about giving up and not finishing it, but I persisted because I hate DNFing books. I really do. The pacing honestly didn’t get better until about 65% of the way through the story, as this was where the action started coming thick and fast and I found that I NEEDED to know what was going to happen. I’d even go as far to say that the pacing didn’t really pick up properly until after the 70% mark, now that I think about it. The last 30% was great, it was non-stop, and the reveals were done fantastically.
I had some of the things worked out beforehand, but there was one thing that I didn’t know about, not until we were told, so in this aspect, the story did a good job.
I found that the copy I received had some formatting issues, I had pages repeating fully, and then I had some segments missing the beginning of them which kinda threw off the flow of the book.
It’s a faraway adventure and I believe any middle grader will enjoy the story, some adults too. The last couple of chapters were worth pushing through the worst of the book for, I must admit. I’m not sure if I’ll continue with this series or not, I am interested to see where Lily, Robert, Malkin and Anne go next though.