“Every theory of the course of events in nature is necessarily based on some process of simpliﬁcation of the phenomena and is to some extent therefore a fairy tale .” – Sir Napier Shaw, Manual of Meterology, in The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan
“So full of verve and imagination that the sinister steampunk world practically pops off the page. The prose sparkles, the inventions astonish, and the characters are ones you’ll root for from the moment you meet them. Loved it, beginning to end.”
– Stefan Bachman, author of The Peculiar
Fantasy books continue to be immensely popular with intermediate and advanced readers. In Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times, a boy discovers a mysterious mechanical world he may never escape in this steampunk fantasy that’s “a thrill a minute,” set in nineteenth-century England.
Ten-year-old Jack Foster has stepped through a doorway and into quite a different London.
Londinium is a smoky, dark, and dangerous place, home to mischievous metal fairies and fearsome clockwork dragons that breathe scalding steam. The people wear goggles to protect their eyes, brass grill insets in their nostrils to filter air, or mechanical limbs to replace missing ones.
Over it all rules the Lady, and the Lady has demanded a new son—a perfect flesh-and-blood child. She has chosen Jack. His only hope of escape lies with a legendary clockwork bird.
The Gearwing grants wishes—or it did, before it was broken—before it was killed. But some things don’t stay dead forever.
Fans of books like Splendors and Glooms and Doll Bones will find Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times irresistible!
According to Booklist:
Feeling bored and unloved in his stuffy, late-nineteenth-century London home, Jack follows an enigmatic magician through a portal into an alternate world. There he explores the eerily familiar, yet frighteningly different city of Londinium, where brass grills embedded in the inhabitants’ nostrils enable them to breathe heavily polluted air. After being ensnared by the malevolent magician and adopted by the unstable Lady, who rules the land, Jack escapes and works with his few friends to free an ancient creature that can set things right in this damaged world. Clockwork creatures, metal fairies, and industrial pollution give the fantasy a steampunk twist. Like the story’s setting, its tone is bleak—uncommonly so for a novel apparently aimed at middle-graders. The dramatic plot twists, more than involvement with the mostly adult characters, will draw readers to finish the story, as will the vividly described settings and smooth pacing. The black-and-white illustrations were not available for comment, though the jacket art is intriguing. An unusual take on the alternate-worlds theme.