Reading Level: Middle Grade
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Mysteries of Cove series
Rating: 4/5 stars
“Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime and invention is a curse word.
Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, whose father died in an explosionan event the leaders of Cove point to as an example of the danger of creativity.
Working together, Trenton and Kallista learn that Leo Babbage was developing a secret project before he perished. Following clues he left behind, they begin to assemble a strange machine that is unlikely anything they’ve ever seen before. They soon discover that what they are building may threaten every truth their city is founded onand quite possibly their very lives.”
This is the first book in the Mysteries of Cove series. This book started out a bit slow but I really enjoyed the last third or so of it. The last part of the book was enough to really pull me in and make me want to read more of this series. This is marketed as a middle grade steampunk book; which it really isn’t. It is more of a middle grade dystopian novel. The society of Cove is definitely a dystopia of sorts.
The only steampunk element in this book is that our two main heroes build a dragon out of metal and it is driven by a combustion engine. There are no other steampunky items in here.
That doesn’t mean this isn’t a good book. I really enjoyed some of the twists and turns at the end of the book and thought the book was well written. I enjoyed the characters as well, they were easy to relate to. Additionally, I loved the crazy hunt for secrets our characters end up on.
I would like to say that, although the mechanical dragon makes an impressive cover, it is a huge spoiler for this book. Part of the huge mystery in this book is what Trenton and Kallista are building and the cover spoils this mystery right away…very poor cover choice in my opinion. It spoiled a lot of the story for me.
Overall I really enjoyed this dystopian middle grade novel. There are some really unique story elements especially at the end. I enjoyed the characters and the riddles they have to solve throughout. My 10 year old son did start this book but stopped reading it because he thought the beginning was boring. I agree…the beginning was boring, but the ending made it all worth it. I convinced him to pick it up again and finish it so we’ll see what he thinks. I plan on continuing the series.