Wednesday, September 23, 2015

MG Review: Mysteries of Cove: Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage

Published by: Shadow Mountain on September 29th 2015
Genres: Middle Grade Science Fiction/Steampunk

Pages: 370
Format: ARC paperback
Source:  ARC from Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Praise for Fires of Invention

"Fires of Invention is an amazing adventure that will grab hold of you and never let go.  With each surprising turn, the story builds a powerful story of courage, adventure, and friendship." --Jennifer A. Nielsen,  New York Times bestselling author

"With fascinating and relatable characters, amazing mysteries, and incredible amounts of conflict, Fires of Invention is well-written and chock full of action.  Kids are going to go crazy for this book!"--Peggy Eddleman, best selling author of Sky Jumpers series

My Thoughts

The first thing that captures you when picking up Fires of Invention is the cover, that dragon made up of gears, cogs, and springs, just screams steampunk.  I think Fires of Invention will certainly capture the interest of anyone who is mechanically inclined.  

Savage created a very interesting alternate world with its blend of historical details, modern technology and cool machinery.   Cove was created inside of a mountain as a means for fleeing disease, war and technology.   It's a very controlled environment where your job is planned out for you, what food and where you are going to live are all chosen to prevent chaos, or so the chancellors of the city would have you believe.  A world where inventing is a crime and will quickly land you in retraining.  It's also what makes life for Trenton very difficult within The Cove.  Trenton is very creative, intuitive, and is always questioning "what if?" He has a knack for being able to fix things or improve them in ways no one has ever thought of.  It's why I liked Trenton so much, there is a part of him that wants to do the right thing, while at the same time he can't help wanting to create and fix things. He's just hardwired that way.  Unfortunately, Trenton also never thinks about the consequences of his actions either.  So, when he tries to use his skills to impress a girl,  and is the seeming cause of an accidental shutdown in the Cove's power system, he is forced to take a job working in the Food Production level.   I really liked the Food Production level and the way that it reminded me of the Living with the Land ride at Epcot with its emphasis on science and nature and especially with those fish in these big tanks going around in circles.  

Fires of Invention also includes a mystery.  After having shut down the power, Trenton is recruited to go inside the mine and fix the belt. While there, he finds a cylinder which eventually lead him to Kallista, the daughter of the famous inventor Leo Babbage.  The man who is the reason that inventing and creativity were outlawed.  But, Kallista knows that this cylinder is her father's way of giving her a hidden message, one that she and Trenton together can piece together. Figuring out the message will be the hardest part and Kallista and Trenton will need to trust one another.  The two are very different from one another, where Trenton tries to conform with the rules of Cove, Kallista is the one who is more adventurous and daring.  She's kind of a rebel and I like that about her personality.   

There is just so much to love in Fires of Invention, with its blend of science, nature, physics, a mechanical dragon and a story that was both interesting and fun for me and my kiddo to read.   As a side note, we also had some great discussions on whether "a simple life holds the key to happiness."  Overall, a very enjoyable addition to the steampunk genre that will leave you wanting more.  


   Author Bio

J. Scott Savage is the author of the Farworld middle grade fantasy series and the Case File 13 middle grade monster series. He has been writing and publishing books for over ten years. He has visited over 400 elementary schools, dozens of writers conferences, and taught many writing classes. He has four children and lives with his wife Jennifer and their Border Collie, Pepper, in a windy valley of the Rocky Mountains.

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  1. My own member of the target audience hasn't read it yet, but I can imagine this one sparking good discussions as it did for you and yours!

  2. This sounds like a great read. I hadn't heard of it before but I definitely want to read it. I am glad to hear that it sparked an interesting discussion with you and your kiddo. :)

  3. Thanks for the great review. I love when book topics become discussion points for families. When the Harry Potter books were coming out, our family had a set routine. We went to the midnight release parties, bought the book, read as a family until one of us couldn't stay awake, then set a plan for the next day. The next morning we had breakfast and read all day.

    The best part was discussing what was happening, what we thought was going to happen, and topics like was Hermione right with SPEW. Fun stuff.