Penny Farthing was nearly dead when surgeon Calvin Warwick replaced her heart with a mechanical ‘Ticker’. With the brass heart, Penny became the first of the Augmented.
But Calvin is arrested and put on trial for mass murder when it is learned that many people died as he’s worked on them, trying to build an improved Ticker for Penny.
On the last day of the trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Penny’s parents are missing and she and her brother (Nic) receive a ransom note … they must turn over all the Augmentation notes if they ever want to see their parents again. On e problem … they don’t know where that research is! Penny and Nic know they are in over their heads and recruit three family friends to help them find and deliver the Augmentation research and get their parents safely home. And they have to do it before Penny’s Ticker runs down.
I am personally not a fan of steampunk – mostly because it often feels as though the ‘punk’ takes precedent in a story at the expense of character and plot. That would be one of my biggest issues with this particular book.
The first chapter was rather exciting and I enjoyed the descriptions and the set-up. Penny Farthing was a fun, energetic character and I immediately thought that this was the kind of character that teen girls would identify with and enjoy reading about.
But the rest of the book didn’t improve on that opening. Rather than developing the characters, which were off to a great start, they stay pretty much the same as when we first met them, all the way through the book. There is also a lot of emphasis on the gadgets. This is always a tough balance … you want to create a fun, unique world and YA and Middle Grade books want a high CTPP (Cool Things Per Page) quotient, but not at the expense of a story.
Looking for a good book? Ticker, by Lisa Mantchen, starts off well but never picks up speed. Young readers being introduced to steampunk with this book may find it exciting.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Lisa Mantchen
paperback, 273 pages