Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review: Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne

18332010From Goodreads  "Ten-year-old Jack Foster has stepped through a doorway and into quite a different London.

Londinium is a smoky, dark, and dangerous place, home to mischievous metal fairies and fearsome clockwork dragons that breathe scalding steam. The people wear goggles to protect their eyes, brass grill insets in their nostrils to filter air, or mechanical limbs to replace missing ones.

Over it all rules the Lady, and the Lady has demanded a new son—a perfect flesh-and-blood child. She has chosen Jack.

Jack’s wonder at the magic and steam-powered marvels in Londinium lasts until he learns he is the pawn in a very dangerous game. The consequences are deadly, and his only hope of escape, of returning home, lies with a legendary clockwork bird.

The Gearwing grants wishes. Or it did, before it was broken. Before it was killed.    But some things don’t stay dead forever."

Steampunk is not a genre that I've read a lot of, but I love the idea of alternate worlds, technological creatures, and flying machines.  Two books that I have read and really enjoyed were The Peculiar by Stefan Bachman and The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski.  I've always loved the cover of Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times, it was the first thing that drew me to this book.  It incorporates so many aspects of the setting of the story into that one image.  There's the mysterious doorway, the alternate version of London with its clockwork devices, airships and at the same time maintains its Victorian charm.  

Overall, I liked this darker version of London filled with soot, and people wearing goggles to protect their eyes and metal grills to help with breathing. Even the magical faeries were mysterious.  The world seemed to fit well with Jack's interests.  He liked to explore, and Londinium fit his passion for taking things apart and working with his hands. I half expected him to spend his entire time in the story building things with Dr. Snailwater and was surprised when he chose to live with The Lady.  Maybe it was because he also aspired to do magic and he wanted to be around people who wanted him.  The Lady wasn't going to send him away to school and certainly loved him more then his mother apparently did.  All The Lady wanted in return was a child who would love her back.  I really liked the premise, the Gearwing, mechanical dragons and the character of Beth.  However, I felt The Lady was a total mystery to me.  Where did she come from, who was she really, why was she so in search of a son?   So many unanswered questions about her and how this world came about.   I think it's why I enjoyed Sir Lorcan the most.  His story seemed to be the most fleshed out.  His motives were clear, how he came to this world and Trevayne even gave us his point of view at times.  I especially enjoyed the very beginning of the book where Lorcan is following Jack and his mother through the train station, the creepy way that he was lurking and plotting.  Lorcan's character brought the darkness to the story for me and his actions were truly villainous.  

My review copy was purchased.  

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