Lily Hartman’s father has gone missing. Her housekeeper, named guardian in her father’s will, has turned into a tyrant, selling her father’s mechanical servants and searching the house for some mysterious item. When Malkin, her mechanimal fox, comes bearing a cryptic message from her father, Lily flees her house with a little rosewood box. Does it contain the perpetual motion machine that everyone seems to want?
Aided by Robert, the son of a local mechanic, Lily must escape ruffians with silver-plated eyes, survive an airship scrimmage, and make her way to the heart of steampunk London. Along the way, we will discover just what secrets her father has been keeping as both Robert and Lily use their wits and their hearts to save each other from the heartless villain that pursues them.
This middle grade adventure is a fantastic introduction to the steampunk genre. Lily and Robert both demonstrate loyalty and bravery in the face of terrifying odds. The mechanical creatures and airships that fill the pages are winsomely described as is the pseudo-Victorian setting. The book’s best feature is probably its pacing, which propels the reader like a streamlined dirigible from beginning to end at breathtaking speed.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.