Cogheart, Peter Bunzl – Book Review

Hello Humans! It’s not hugely often that I delve into the world of middle grade (I think my heart is too dark for that kind of wholesome content) but when I do, it tends to be when I see something that I just can’t get out of my head. Cogheart was one such book, the concept, the cover, it caught my eye and it wouldn’t let me go, so when I had the opportunity to read a copy for review it felt like the perfect time. Cogheart is a delightful middle grade fantasy that most certainly inspired some of the things in my current WIP.

Cogheart Peter Bunzl

Goodreads Summary:

Some secrets change the world in a heartbeat. . . .

Lily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father is missing and now silver-eyed men stalk her through the shadows. What could they want from her?

With her friends—Robert, the clockmaker’s son, and Malkin, her mechanical fox—Lily is plunged into a murky and menacing world. Too soon Lily realizes that those she holds dear may be the very ones to break her heart. . . .

Murder, mayhem and mystery meet in this gripping Victorian adventure.

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I loved the concept of Cogheart, I’m not sure what it is, but I always get very nostalgic feelings from the idea of clockwork. So the chance to read a book which had clockwork people and (more importantly) animals was something I just couldn’t pass on. I liked how the world was set up, how the mechanical creatures and people fit (or didn’t fit) into society, that feeling of technology butting up against traditional ideas. I will say, there are times when a character might insinuate that someone with a part mechanical arm, for example, is less-than one without, but the book as a whole is challenging that idea, so I personally didn’t read it as ableist.

The next part of my review is something of a matter of personal preference. I like to be surprised by a book, I like the plot twist, I like it to be unpredictable. I know that some people feel very differently and enjoy being able to figure things out easily. I thought that this story was quite predictable. I worked out pretty much the entire plot (barring a few things) before I was more than a few chapters in. It’s still fun to read, I won’t deny that, but if you’re looking for a book to puzzle this may not be that book. Of course, I’m reading middle grade as an adult, and that has something to do with it as well, but I’m pretty confident I would have worked it out when I was the age of the intended audience.

I did love the characters, I thought they were funny and heartwarming, the evil characters had that evil charm to them. I was reminded of a slightly more competent (and more sinister) version of the Baddun brothers from 101 Dalmatians, which is a much loved book from my childhood.

This was a perfectly lovely story, an interesting world, great characters, a plot that had a lot going on under the surface. However, something in this just didn’t quite spark for me the way some of the other Middle-Grade books I’ve read did. I found myself constantly comparing it to Brightstorm which I utterly adored, and just feeling like I didn’t quite get so much out of it. I’m not sure if it was the writing or the fact that I worked out the end, but something didn’t quite hit home.

I would still absolutely recommend this as a book for middle-grade readers. I think younger me would have loved to receive this book as a present, maybe a winter read? It would be great for kids of any gender (one of the big selling points for MG in general, at least in my opinion) and I have no doubt that this builds into a really fun series.

My rating: 3/5 stars

I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? What are some of your MG favourites? Let me know in the comments below!

J

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