Savage, J. Scott. Fires of Invention (Mysteries of Cove #1)
September 29th 2015 by Shadow Mountain
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Trenton loves tools and machinery, but in his futuristic, protected town of Cove "invention" is a dirty word. Even stringing together a number of approved machinery to make a swing is enough to land him in trouble with the chancellors and get him recommended for retraining. Luckily, there is a problem in the mines that requires a small person with mechanical training to fix, and Trenton manages to escape that fate. What he can't escape is his appointment to the Food Production level of Cove after his graduation from school. On the one hand, he gets to be near Simoni, a girl he really likes, but on the other, there is no equipment for him to fix. When a strange gadget he has found leads him to the Kallista, the daughter of infamous inventor and criminal Leo Babbage, he finally has an outlet for his mechanical leanings. Kallista thinks the gadget, found in the mine, is a message from her father, and the two follow clues that were left-- clues that lead to instructions and parts of a mechanical dragon that the two build, as well as to deeply hidden secrets about the founding and workings of Cove itself. With the aid of Simoni, as well as the unexpected help of Angus, the son of the cancellor, Trenton and Kallista learn that their world is not what it seems, and have to decide how to proceed.
Strengths: There aren't a lot of books for readers who like machinery, and this combines gears and cogs with puzzles leading to the equipment's discovery. The characters are well-developed and appealing; Trenton's love of machinery despite all of the obstacles he faces shows his passion. Cove is described very well, from the details of the different levels to two different versions of its history.
Weaknesses; The concept of the government choosing jobs for young people has been done several times, but there are other fresh twists that make up for this.
What I really think: Steampunk-like but not exactly. Reminded me of City of Ember. Solid action/adventure fantasy with some fresh facets. Will purchase.