Friday, July 7, 2017

Book review - Fires of Invention

Title: Fires of Invention
Author: J. Scott Savage
Genre: fantasy/sci-fi
Similar books: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
                      The Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayres
had my doubts for a while there

Summary (provided by publisher): Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime and “invention” is a curse word.
Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, whose father died in an explosion—an event the leaders of Cove point to as an example of the danger of creativity.
Working together, Trenton and Kallista learn that Leo Babbage was developing a secret project before he perished. Following clues he left behind, they begin to assemble a strange machine that is unlikely anything they’ve ever seen before. They soon discover that what they are building may threaten every truth their city is founded on—and quite possibly their very lives.

My opinion: Steampunk and closed societies are unusual subjects for middle grade readers but it works pretty well in this instance. I had lots of ideas about the secrets behind the city of Cove early on, their reasoning behind seclusion and the technology ban. The reality was far from my suppositions. That revelation put this book on shaky ground for me. I couldn't see the connection behind their history and the rejection of technology, not for an entire culture. Once I was able to accept this tenuous plot point, the rest was pretty compelling reading. I loved the exploration of creativity, innovation, and character all mixed together.

Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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