What a cracking debut. Anything starting on an airship is going to hook me right from the start! I love steampunk.


After the explosive prologue, where Lily’s father’s airship is shot down and he’s feared lost, we meet Lily at school showing her feisty character and protecting the mechanical maid who the other girls treat appallingly. We get a feel for her as a character very quickly and soon the reader is immersed in a world of ‘mechanicals’ and ‘mechanimals’ many of whom were designed and built by Lily’s late father. Lily is desperate to find any news of him, refusing to accept that he is dead. Meanwhile, she and her human sidekick, Robert and her mechanical fox, Malkin set out to find answers and to discover the lengths that their unknown nemesis will go to to possess the Cogheart.
I listened to this on audio and thoroughly enjoyed it. Peter Bunzl has created a wonderful world of aeronauts, airships and villainy. Okay, the discovery of who the bad guy is was no surprise at all (it was pretty obvious from the start) but children probably won’t spot the early hint and will love the world building, action and the fabulous Lily who is a truly wonderful character. Highly recommended and an impressive debut.

Rating out of 5: ♦♦♦♦♦

Suggested age: 7 -12