Published: 25th January 2016
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Author: Jordan Elizabeth
When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother’s neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.
Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags’ swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors.
Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family.
Goes down as another off my 2016 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with action and adventure in it. There’s lots of adventure in this fantasy world with many twists and turns throughout, and just when you think it will start going the adventurers way something else gets thrown into the mix.
Right from the get go as a reader you know Harrison – Edna’s younger brother – has been taken and that some kind of machine (later known as a cogling) has been left in his place, it just takes Edna a little while to catch up. She notices small things straight away that her brother isn’t acting right but when he is caught out at their job, first with seemingly acting ill and then with having a pocket watch round his neck that she knows isn’t theirs, Edna doesn’t know what to think other than she needs to get him home. Its only after trying to get the watch off him though that he starts to scream. Edna’s is in for a shock when she manages to rip the watch off him though because the moment after it happens her “brother” starts breaking apart with cogs and springs flying around. In a state of shock at not really understanding what has happened to her brother, only that he has disappeared, she goes in search of help. She doesn’t get it the conventional way though; for one thing no one believes her and the cops think she is crazy. Her unlikely saviour comes in the form of the older boy who is trying to steal the watch from her. This watch is the only link she has to her brother so if he thought she would give it up easily, even at gunpoint, he should have thought again.
Ike has his reasons for trying to steal the watch and is holding many secrets close to his chest. He knows what it is but more importantly who put it there and why – the hags. After explaining what the watch is he goes on to explain what it was that fell apart in front of her – a cogling. A machine that is left in the place of the child kidnapped to act like them, always being controlled by the watch around their necks. Ike can see there is a way to get the watch but only by agreeing to help Edna rescue her brother. Their plan seems simple enough to begin with, go to the swamp where the hags are, break in and get her brother out. All simple plans go out the window almost from the get go when they start their journey. Nothing is ever simple and the moment you start to think things are going their way think again as trouble is just round the corner.
Their crazy journey sees them in a number of sticky situations. From being chased on a train, having their money taken, getting kidnapped/trapped themselves more than once and soon to be hunted by the cops, its any ones guess what they might get caught up in next. Soon it becomes apparent that its not just Harrison who is in need of saving but many more all just looking to go home before it is too late – staying with the hags is definitely bad for your health if your human! They need to get proof of what the hags are really up to so they can show King Elias and he can put a stop to it. Edna and Ike do get some unlikely help along the way from some very interesting creatures. You have Foxkins (small fox like creatures who can talk), Tomtars (bird like humans who are used as slaves), the Nix (pixie like creatures who have gifts of their own) and Silver the baby dragon all lending a hand. I liked Edna’s reaction to Silver at first and how it slowly starts to change. He is only a baby and is longing to feel connected to someone and he has decided that that someone should be her whether she agrees or not. Some situations need a little more magic to help get them through and this is something you have a feeling Ike can help with – maybe even Edna. For Edna has always felt that there was darkness inside her. An evil she couldn’t let take control but maybe when she learns to listen to it she will realise that it has always been there to help not hinder.
Well for every creature in this crazy world that may lend a hand in helping there are always those that would do harm – maybe not all of their kind but most – and the main one leading the charge would be a hag Mother Sambucus. You have the hags (like witches), ogres, soot demons and trolls. All seeming to band together to take back control from the humans, just without the humans knowing about it straight away. It’s a race against time for Edna and Ike to get everyone out and stop the impending attack, so you just hope time is on their side.
A very interesting mix of characters and creative world you are sucked into with this story. Its all go right from the start and just when you think it’s going one way something new gets thrown into the mix to spin it in another. I liked the sweet romance that blooms along the way with Edna and Ike though. It starts off as need for help from the other, grows into friendship and then something more.
4 out of 5 stars
I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.