A few weeks ago, I received these two books in the post. Within 48 hours I’d read them both, and both blew me away, in completely different ways.
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
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.
THIS BOOK. I’ve first saw the buzz about COGHEART earlier this year on twitter, and I knew then I just had to read it. It’s a middle grade, steampunk adventure of a novel that is set in an alternate England, where airships and mechanical humans (and creatures) are commonplace.
Our main character, Lily, is feisty and clever and brave–the perfect heroine for this story. Robert, her accomplice in adventure, grows so much over the course of the story, and this growth was written beautifully.
The plot is intricate and daring, and there is never a dull moment–I didn’t put this book down until I finished it. The mystery is done beautifully, and I didn’t guess the shock twist at all. The writing is also gorgeous, and the world-building enchanting. Although (THANK GOODNESS!) this is the first book in a series, the ending is satisfying. Basically, if you’re a fan of MG fiction, I highly recommend this book. It’s one of the best I’ve read in a long time, and has that classic, timeless feel that leaves you wanting more long after you’ve closed the final page.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows
The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.
At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.
I’m a history student, so I LOVE books that feature anything historical, and apparently I love books where history is completely and utterly messed with. But seriously, this book was fantastic.
I’ve always been fascinated with Lady Jane Grey, and her infamous 9 day rule, and this book makes her into the heroine she deserves to be! Obviously, a lot of this book is completely ridiculous, and that’s what makes it so fun. The comparisons to THE PRINCESS BRIDE and MONTY PYTHON are justified, and I spent a lot of the time reading this grinning from ear to ear.
The plot is fast-paced and the twists unpredictable, the characters (especially Jane) are layered and multifaceted and not just played for jokes. The writing is seamless (seriously what magic did the authors employ to write this??) and the concept is highly original. This is just a brilliant, brilliant book and I am SO glad I googled the crud out of the authors afterwards and discovered they are writing TWO more Jane books–MY PLAIN JANE, based on Jane Eyre and, MY CALAMITY JANE, based on, you guessed it, Calamity Jane.
So, these are two books that you NEED to read immediately, so we can fangirl over them together.