An Inventive, Adventurous Launch to a New Steampunk Trilogy
Fires of Invention
by J. Scott Savage
Series: Mysteries of Cove (Book 1 of 3)
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
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Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime and “invention” is a curse word. Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, whose father died in an explosion—an event the leaders of Cove point to as an example of the danger of creativity. Working together, Trenton and Kallista learn that Leo Babbage was developing a secret project before he perished. Following clues he left behind, they begin to assemble a strange machine that is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. They soon discover that what they are building may threaten every truth their city is founded on—and quite possibly their very lives.
Thirteen year-old Trenton Coleman lives in Cove, a city contained within a mountain. In his insular world, the citizens are confined, they are told, for their protection. But their movements aren’t the only things restricted by Cove’s leadership. The community-at-large is seen as a machine — its people gears and cogs. Each plays a part, but for the whole to function as it should, one must never question, change, or attempt to improve the status quo. Original thoughts — creative ideas and expression — are forbidden. Not only is creativity dangerous, but any word containing the root “invent” is an unspeakable curse word.
Bored and looking to impress a young girl named Simoni, Trenton builds a swing. Though he simply assembles existing and approved parts, he finds himself accused of a long list of offenses, including treason. He narrowly escapes a dreaded punishment called “retraining,” only to find himself wrapped up in a mystery that is many times more threatening than even his worst imagined retraining could ever be.
Readers will enjoy journeying alongside Trenton and his new-found sidekick Kallista as they unearth hidden secrets en route to finding the truth about the history of their home. Not only are the characters well-drawn and likeable, over the course of the story, they experience growth. Themes explored in the novel include friendship, freedom of thought, creativity, and persistence. As they read about the value of trial and error and cooperation along the road to discovery, kids will also learn about themselves.
J. Scott Savage’s steampunk world is imaginative and skillfully constructed. As successive chapters end with the characters finding one more piece of their puzzle, plotting and pacing is quick and steady, building a whale of an adventure tale with a head of steam that propels the reader to the finish.
— Dawn Teresa
4 .5 of 5 Hearts. An Inventive, Adventurous Launch to a New Steampunk Trilogy.
With Fires of Invention, the first in a planned trilogy, J. Scott Savage has created an inspired steampunk landscape filled with gears, gadgets, gizmos — even dragons — that a reluctant reader will find hard to resist. Put this in the hands of readers who like mysterious yet hopeful dystopian tales like City of Ember.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Shadow Mountain for providing me an advance reading copy of this title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”