Thinking for yourself can be a dangerous thing. Creativity is a bad word and to be labeled an “inventor” is far worse.
So goes the premise of the first book in J. Scott Savage’s new trilogy for middle-grade readers, Mysteries of Cove: Fires of Invention.
The book opens with 13-year-old Trenton Coleman sharing rides on a mechanical swing of his own creation with his classmates when there is suddenly a power outage that plunges their district of Cove into complete darkness.
Cove is a mechanically powered city built inside a mountain, protected from scary and unlivable outside world by a strict adherence to the idea that new is bad and everything that ever needed inventing has already been invented. Author J. Scott Savage gives the story a steam-punk inspired setting, adding elements both modern and retro simultaneously.
Trenton Coleman is a clever and mechanically talented boy who reminds me of the phrase, “I meant to behave but there were so many other options.” He tries to stay out of trouble and avoid tinkering and inventing, but the temptation is just too much for him.
Following the power outage, he is called upon to help fix the machinery (because he is small enough to climb inside) where he discovers the power outage has been caused by an intriguing and mysterious metal object, the likes of which he has never seen. Despite the potential consequences, Trenton does not share his find with the authorities but decides to try and figure out what it is on his own. In the course of his sleuthing he meets a girl named Kallista Babbage who knows the origin of the mysterious object–it is a clue to a project left to her by her notorious “inventor” father who died in an explosion.
Together the two of them begin following the clues Kallista’s father left behind and soon discover that their search may threaten everything they know.
Middle grades–and older readers–will find these books engaging and enjoyable. The characters are well thought out and the action is well-paced, allowing the story and the characters to develop. There is also a good cast of supporting characters that add depth and interst to the story line. Not only did I enjoy this book, but my older teens are lining up for their turn to read.
As a little bonus to this review, I found this fun video trailer for the book to help get you excited to read it. Maybe we’ll get lucky and this will lead to a movie.
Mysteries of Cove: Fires of Invention is available through Amazon.com or a bookstore near you.