Cogheart – A Review

Cogheart Peter BunzlSteampunking for younger readers, well, let’s have a look

What’s it about?

When 13-year-old Lily’s inventor father vanishes after a Zeppelin crash, Lily’s determined to hunt down the truth behind his disappearance, helped by Robert, the local clockmaker’s son, and her wily mechanical fox Malkin. But shadowy figures are closing in and treachery lurks among the smoky spires of London – along with a life-changing secret.

Be swept away by airships and flabbergasted by dastardly plots in this extraordinary and wildly imaginative debut, bursting with invention and adventure.

My Thoughts

Let’s start with the gorgeous cover. Really unique, I love the hand drawn style, and it shows off lots of the story in a really unique way. It grabs you in an interesting way.

The story is just the same. Lots of pretty descriptions of the Victorian world they live in. It painted a suitable world where there were automatons, airships and adventure. It certainly had a few twists in there, and I did not expect them to end up where they did!

The main character on this adventure were Lily and Robert, but it was their clockwork fox, Malkin that stole it for me. His turn of phrase and attitude. Brilliant.

One of my favourite characters was an automaton that had a way with words, like when she was surprised she’d find suitable steampunk alliteration, “Clockwork and cogwheels.” I looked forward to every shock and surprise she had, and there were plenty.

Peter Bunzl painted some fantastic villains in this book. I particularly hated Madame Verdigris. She’s only a minor villain to the piece, but one that I flicked through pages hoping to see her get her just desserts. I think the other ‘big bad’ was okay. He had all too good a reason to be the big bad, but there were little bits where they touched upon why, but I wanted a bit more desperation to it. I did really like Roach and Mould. Really well done, and really creepy.

Overall, I think Cogheart is a fun adventure for kids. A good starting point for taking them down a steampunk journey. I do look forward to where author Peter Bunzl takes us next. Here’s hoping we get to see more of the world he has created.

You can pick up Cogheart in bookshops, or Amazon UK.

The Haunting of Azaizabel Cray – A Review

haunting-220x331only Treating myself to a Chris Wooding.

What’s it about?

A dark fantasy set in a parallel London stalked by demons… London has survived war and plague only to face a new horror – the Wych Kin. All kinds of demons lurk in the labyrinth of the Old Quarter, and it is the task of wych-hunters such as Thaniel Fo to keep them at bay. Then one night he rescues a young woman who has lost her memory: the beautiful and vulnerable Alaizabel Cray. But Alaizabel is nursing a dark secret, one that even she doesot understand, a secret that could unleash the most terrible evil of all..

My Thoughts

I don’t hide my love for Chris Wooding books. I love his Ketty Jay series, (Steampunk meets Firefly). When I started to get back into reading I read his young adult book, Storm Thief and still think it’s one of the most awesome books I’ve read. Because of my love for Ketty Jay, I haven’t read the last book, saving it, as then it is over. So when I stumbled into this, I thought this would fill the gap for now.

This book has a great setting, with descriptions that paint a wonderfully foggy, creepy and scary alternative Victorian London. The Wych’s are varied, and as terrifying as the city itself. And fighting these creatures, Thaniel.

Thaniel, son of the greatest Wych hunter ever, has a lot to live up to. What was fun about his character was that he tries to be the best he can be, but when he meets Alaizabel you realise he is still a kid. He still wants friends, love, a life outside risking his life to fight the monsters that plague the city.

He is thrown into a conspiracy plot that threatens not just London, but the world. Every character has a story, even the ones that only last a chapter. It added so much to the world hearing their pasts. All the characters are thrown together to try to tackle the end of the world through plenty of high action scenes, all over London, against Wych and human alike. All the while the Jack The Ripper equivalent, Stichface prowls the streets. Something I would have liked to see more of.

I love Chris Wooding’s imagination. There is a kind of magic, but it is all done with rites, incantations, and wearing charms. I’ve never read something like this before, and it was so interesting as this was used alongside guns and blades against their enemies.

Is is steampunk? No. Not really. There’s airships. It has a Victorian setting, London, and a mad scientist though. So, it’s close, but not as steampunk as it could have been. It’s a very good paranormal adventure in a Victorian London.

This book was a lot of fun. If you haven’t checked out Chris Wooding before, this is a great one to start with.