Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review: Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage

Book Cover: Fires of Invention by J Scott Savage Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage
Published September 2015 by Shadow Mountain Press
Source: eGalley ARC from NetGalley

Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime and “invention” is a curse word.

Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, whose father died in an explosion—an event the leaders of Cove point to as an example of the danger of creativity.

Working together, Trenton and Kallista learn that Leo Babbage was developing a secret project before he perished. Following clues he left behind, they begin to assemble a strange machine that is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. They soon discover that what they are building may threaten every truth their city is founded on—and quite possibly their very lives.

My Thoughts

I keep having problems categorizing Fires of Invention. J. Scott Savage has produced an intriguing futuristic dystopian steampunk novel for mid-grade to young-adults. And it appears to be the first in a series. I look forward to reading more about the world of Cove.

In Cove, to be an inventor is forbidden. Creativity is punished. Not only is technology at a standstill, there's no art or books. As Fires of Invention begins, Trenton is just turning thirteen, graduating from school, and about to enter training for his life-long profession. His job will be assigned to him, and Trenton hopes very much to be selected to train as a mechanic. He loves working with tools and repairing machines. So when he's assigned to food production, he's devastated to think that his future is to be a farmer.

A chance encounter in a repair shop introduces Trenton to Kallista, daughter of a rogue inventor. Following clues left by her father, Kallista and Trenton secretly construct a machine that looks suspiciously like a dragon.

I was first attracted by the cover with its fire-breathing mechanical dragon. Then, reading the description, I knew that this was a book I just HAD to read. And I wasn't wrong. Fires of Invention was a thrilling book full of adventure and mystery. The main characters, Trenton and Kallista, are well drawn. The setting is unique. The pace is just right. The outcome is a total surprise.

I highly recommend Fires of Invention to young people as well as adults. While aimed at a younger reader, there's a lot for adults to enjoy. The author has delivered a new look at a possible future—a bleak future when all progress and art is forbidden. But he's also delivered hope because the creative spark cannot be quenched. When least expected, it flares up again.


Disclosure: I received a free copy of Fires of Invention from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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