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January 2020 Book of the Month | This is the fourth and indeed final book in Peter Bunzl’s hugely enjoyable Cogheart adventure series. Lily, the girl with the clockwork heart, and her friends Robert and Malkin the ‘mechanimal’ fox, are off to New York with her father to meet up with Robert’s mother and sister. The adventures start the minute they step off their ocean liner (the series is set in a steampunky late 19th century) and involve kidnap, stolen jewels and a heartbroken boy willing to do anything to put his family back together. There are wonderful scenes of adventure with escapades taking place on trains, hotel balconies and most thrillingly in an underwater diving vessel. Non-stop as the action is, there’s always time for Lily to realise what really matters and that love and friendship keep the world’s heart ticking. An excellent series and while each book stands alone, I’d recommend treating young readers to the set.
Lily, the girl with the clockwork heart is one of the most vivacious, engaging characters in modern children’s books and it’s great to have her back with her friends Robert and Malkin the mechanimal fox in this new story where, once again, her unique nature sees her plunged into adventure. The action takes place in a travelling skycircus, with a great cast of characters and there’s a surprise return for the villainous Verdigris. Kidnapped and imprisoned, Lily meets other hybrids – children who like her have mechanical parts. All of them are treated cruelly and tormented as freaks, but Lily is able to change things thanks to what makes her tick: courage, generosity and an ability to accept people as they are. The plot sweeps along with the speed of a trapeze artist on a downward swing and it’s a terrific read that leaves readers with something to think about too. Lily’s next adventure can’t come soon enough.
May 2017 Book of the Month | Peter Bunzl continues the adventures of the stars of the hugely popular Cogheart in his new adventure which has all the charm and appeal of his debut. Robert is now living with Lily and her father and their household of mechanical friends and helpers, but he misses his father very much, and is still hoping that something will bring his mother back to him. The adventure escalates with the escape from prison of a notorious criminal and there seems to be a link between the thief’s target, the beautiful Moonlocket, and Robert. There are more vivid scenes on the ground and in the air, and the characters, both human and mechanical, have real heart. Original, and exciting this is a delight. Readers will also enjoy Sharon Gosling’s steampunk adventure The Diamond Thief.
Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2017 | September 2016 Debut of the Month | From its opening scene aboard an airship harpooned in mid-air, Cogheart is filled with fabulous visual images and a tangible sense of adventure. It follows the story of Lily, whose inventor father is missing, presumed dead after the airship crash. What secrets was he keeping and why are others so determined to find them out? Lily is a great character but readers’ hearts are likely to be won by her companion Malkin, a clockwork fox, one of many automatons created by her father. The story proceeds at speed reaching its climax – where else – but on the face of Big Ben, the world’s most famous clock! The Branford Boase Award Judges' Comments - ‘what he does with the ideas is really good and the world-building is excellent’; ‘children reading this will feel inspired’; ‘imaginative and fun, would make a great film’. This is definitely one for fans of Philip Reeve’s steampunk classic Mortal Engines, and they would also enjoy The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling. ~ Andrea Reece