Colfer opens a new series that promises to be every bit as brisk and violent as Artemis Fowl—this one featuring travelers using steampunk-style time machines for (usually) evil purposes.
Chevron Savano is a teenager of Shawnee descent trained as an FBI agent in an ill-fated anti-terrorist program (and named, as it turns out, for a gas station). She hooks up with Riley, a 19th--century lad trained in the killing arts by Victorian-era master assassin/stage magician Albert Garrick. Their purpose? Simply to stay alive, as a secret device that opens wormholes between past and present but sometimes causes weird mutations in those who use it has turned Garrick into a shape-changing supergenius. He now has modern memories and a new, horrifying agenda that requires the Timekey Chevie carries around her neck. The plot moves back and forth between modern times and 1898 London (or an alternate, as in his lurid descriptions of the city’s festering stews the author makes several seemingly offhand references to “slum cannibals”). The chase hurtles along through washes of gore and less wholesome substances to a massively explosive resolution. Riley and the “Injun princess,” as she is repeatedly dubbed, make reasonably resourceful protagonists, but the scary, casually murderous Garrick really steals the show.
A ghoulish thriller: melodramatic and tongue-in-cheek, sometimes both at once. (Science fiction. 11-14)