When I wandered into Waterstones the other day, I couldn’t help pick up their latest children’s book of the month: Cogheart by Peter Bunzl. It’s a steampunk adventure set in London in 1896, and tells the story of Lily and Robert’s desperate search for Lily’s father. It was so much fun, and I’m so glad that I picked it up on a whim.
The plot? Lily’s father goes missing, presumed dead, after his airship crashes thanks to some villainous characters. Lily is convinced he’s alive, so with the help of her mechanical fox, Malkin, and the local clockmaker’s son, Robert, she goes on a mad adventure to discover what’s happened to him and why.
I adored the story. Although it took me time to get into it, once the story got going I couldn’t stop. There were constant twists and turns, with a few plot twists thrown in. I did guess one of them, but another twist took me completely by surprise! I also liked that the story was willing to kill people off, and thought it handled the different characters’ grief really well.
The characters were also very likeable. I got very attached to Lily, who wanted to fly airships rather than learn how to be a lady. I really admired how she threw herself into the task of finding her father, without ever slowing down. Her friendship with Robert was really sweet, and I enjoyed getting to know him too. I felt he was a lot more vulnerable than Lily, and I just wanted to give him a massive hug.
The setting was also really well-written. I felt so immersed in the Victorian steampunk world that Bunzl created, with its mechanicals and airships and really creepy villains. (They had mirror-eyes, as in, mirrors sewn in instead of eyes. SO CREEPY.) I loved the creativity of it all.
Cogheart was a great read, with plenty of action and mystery, and it definitely deserves its title as the Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month.
What do you think of steampunk books? Would you want to live in a ‘steampunk world’?