A new steampunk trilogy introduces dastardly villains, friendly mechanicals, and thrilling airship action.
Robert and Lily, both 13, wouldn’t normally have encountered each other in 1896 England. Lily’s the only nice girl at a nasty finishing school where all the other students and teachers are dreadful and mistreat their mechs. When her father’s airship crashes in a mysterious accident, Lily’s fetched from school by her family housekeeper. But as any astute reader trained on the likes of Roald Dahl will know, an orphan can’t trust her old housekeeper, especially when she covers her face with a black veil, speaks with an unplaceable “foreign” accent, and has been maltreating the family mechs. Robert’s the son of the local clockmaker, eager to help Lily with her quest. But two terrifying baddies with mirrors for eyes are after them both, and it will take all the airship adventure and steam power they can muster to succeed. What dark family secrets was Lily’s dad hiding? Surely his old friend, with the totally trustworthy name of Professor Silverfish, will know more about the important clockwork research. The plot gleefully deploys genre tropes while puzzles lead to a CGI–ready series of climactic escapes. “Cogs and chronometers,” cry the mechs, and “crankshafts and carburetors”! The human (and humanlike) cast members all present white.
Treads familiar ground but with hair-raising and cinematic charm. (map, glossary) (Steampunk. 10-12)