Reading Level: Adult
Length: 333 pages
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Release Date: January 25, 2016
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley through NetGalley.com
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I really enjoyed Elizabeth’s Treasure Chronicles series and was very eager to read another book written by her. This ended up being an interesting YA steampunk story with lots of magic.
Edna notices her younger brother Harrison is acting strangely and when she pulls a strange pocketwatch from around his neck he crumbles into a pile of cogs. A young thief named Ike recognizes the pocket watch as being from the Hags and tells Edna that he will take her into the swamp where the Hags bring kidnapped children to work for them…for a price. What follows is a series a daring rescues, imprisonments, and escapes as Edna and Ike try to outwit the Hags and protect humanity from a Hag take over.
This book was an interesting blend of magic and mechanicals. The hags pull magic from children’s dreams and use that energy to make magic items and devices. As you can imagine this isn’t great for the children.
I really enjoyed the magic and all the different magical races you meet throughout the books. I also really enjoyed the idea of Coglings replacing human children; it has a very faerie changeling kind of feel to it and lends the story a fairy tale like vibe.
I found the plot to be a bit too straightforward and predictable. Additionally I had some trouble engaging with Edna and Ike as characters. The tone of the story is very middle grade in the beginning but the romance and some of the topics toward the end of the book are very young adult. It almost felt like the first half was a middle grade novel and the second half a young adult novel; it gave the novel a bit of an awkward feel.
My last complaint is that the pacing was a bit off. Edna and Ike fall in love way too abruptly and the story seemed very rushed at the end. I wish everything that happened in the last third of the book had started earlier and given a little more time to play out. About 2/3rds of the way in I was doubtful that the story would be wrapped up at all; but it was…it was just very rushed.
Overall this was an intriguing story and I enjoyed some of the magical steampunk elements to it. However, I had some trouble engaging with the characters and felt like the ending was really rushed. I would tentatively recommend to those who enjoy stories with steampunky goodness, magic, and some YA romance.
If you are looking for entertaining YA steampunk I would also recommend Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series, The Clockwork Key series by Kristen Bailey, and the Baskerville Affair by Emma Jane Halloway. If you are an adult I would also recommend Elizabeth’s Treasure Chronicle series which I enjoyed a lot more than this book.