A spoiled 12-year-old girl discovers that her country stands on a metal foundation “built from the bones of a murdered world.”
Phoebe Plumm lives a life of ease in Meridian, amusing herself with vengeful pranks and high-tech gadgets. Her father, Dr. Jules Plumm, does “something really important” at the Foundry, a company at the peak of technological innovation. But when a mysterious stranger starts following Phoebe, she and her father end up being whisked away by a series of mechanical Watchmen into a labyrinthine adventure. Phoebe’s fellow traveler, former servant–turned-sidekick Micah Tanner, manages to cause friction as often as he saves the day. As this trilogy opener develops, readers will see Phoebe transform herself from a self-acknowledged “stuck-up, pampered little brat” into an assertive mensch, astute to the flaws of the world that she lives in and ready to take on any enemies that come her way. Debut authors Baity and Zelkowicz are both film animators, and here, they work together to create an easily visualized, rollicking ride that explores the dynamics of power and resistance in various incarnations—both human and metallic. Given this background, it’s not too surprising that there are moments when the story feels like a movie with too many special effects.
An edgy, fast-moving, Seuss-ian political allegory for a new generation. (Fantasy. 9-13)