‘Cogheart’ is a magical and thrilling story, prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime as you embark on this journey into this world of mystery and mayhem in this truly stunning debut from Peter Bunzl. When Lily Hartman’s father goes missing after a routine Zeppelin flight, she is determined to uncover the truth behind his disappearance. Refusing to accept that he is dead she finds herself caught up in a dark and terrible world, pursued by dangerous men who will stop at nothing in their hunt for Lily and the secret that she unknowingly has the key to uncovering. Fate throws her into the path of Robert, the local clockmaker’s son and together with Malkin a cantankerous clockwork fox they embark on their perilous mission to find Lily’s father.
The characterisation in the story is simply marvellous, Peter has assembled a brilliant cast of characters to bring his story to life. Lily is a worthy heroine reminiscent of Philip Pullman’s Lyra Belacqua in ‘Northern Lights’. Bold and fierce she shows steely determination in her quest to discover the truth about her father’s disappearance. Robert is a sterling companion who show bravery beyond his years when he unwittingly finds himself caught up in this incredibly perilous journey. One of my favourite characters is the marvellously disagreeable Malkin whose loyalty to Lily and her father opens up a whole range of questions about the clockwork creations ability to have feelings. For Lily her father’s mechanical creatures have provided a source of comfort and companionship since her mother’s death, she feels bereft by their absence yet society sees them as purely functional objects. The villains of the story are just menacing and ruthless enough to provide a genuine fear that the consequences will be catastrophic if they ever manage to capture Lily and Robert.
This compelling story will hold you tightly in its grasp until you turn over to the very last page and you can finally breathe again. It manages to feel contemporary and vibrant whilst capturing perfectly the Victorian spirt of invention and discovery with the possibility that anything can be achieved and that you are only limited by your imagination. I thoroughly enjoyed the intricacy of the mechanics of the clockwork and was fascinated by this craft. Peter’s storytelling is rich and wonderful, the beautifully lyrical language conjures up this fantastical world which you can see appearing right before your eyes as you get lost in this amazing adventure. At the heart of this story is a tale of friendship, courage and bravery both Lily and Robert face unsurmountable challenges which they must overcome to save themselves. An extraordinary story, exceptionally written it truly is a future classic which will be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Finally I couldn’t write a review of ‘Cogheart’ without mentioning the cover which is my absolute favourite of the year. With divine illustrations by Becca Stadtlander and gorgeous design by Katherine Millichope it gives us an amazing insight into the adventures that lie ahead when you open the pages. It inspired the children in my Chatterbooks group – who were fortunate enough to receive early copies of ‘Cogheart’ and a visit from Peter Bunzl – to create this beautiful display.
You can find out more about what the children thought about ‘Cogheart’ over on my library blog.
A huge thank you to Usborne for sending me a proof copy of this book it has been a total delight to read.