I have wondered for a while about the Steampunk genre. It seemed to spring up overnight and everyone was talking about it. I knew that the stories were set during steam locomotive times - Victorian era. And I remember someone saying people something about combat boots. I got the picture that it was a fantasy genre and I'm super picky when it comes to fantasy.
Then I ran across my friend's book for FREE! So I couldn't pass it up.
And I LOVED it! And I think my niece and nephew will enjoy it as well.
Crown Phoenix: Night Watchman Express by Alison DeLuca is a middle grades/young adult fantasy series set in Edwardian England. Miriam is a bratty orphan (reminiscent of Mary Lennox of The Secret Garden) whose new guardians are up to no good. They take over Miriam's home, going as far as giving their son Simon and his friend Neal Miriam's bedroom.
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Much as our sympathies for Mary Lennox makes us like her, I think in the beginning I only liked Miriam because you knew she was getting a bad deal. But her character grows, particularly under the tutelage of Mani, and I come to like her for her. But the character I really liked was Neal and he actually plays the biggest role in the Night Watchman Express.
The characters are very rich. DeLuca does an excellent job bringing them to life. And though the story clearly is fantasy, it reads like a historical novel - like it is real. Kind of like reading Harry Potter.
Night Watchman Express is full of adventure and intrigue. Plenty of entertainment for kids and adults. There is a mystery that has put Mani, Neal, and Miriam in danger. Simon is in danger, too, but it looks like he may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. But it is unclear if that will make a difference.
The book ends with some resolution, but there is still plenty of story left and I can't wait until I can pick up The Devil's Kitchen.
# of pages: 323 (paperback)
published: October 2012 by Myrddin Publishing
ISBN13: 9781939296160 (paperback)
Source: Barnes & Noble
Genre: Steampunk, fantasy middle grades & young adult fiction
Read: August 2014
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