Book Title: Cogling
Author: Jordan Elizabeth
Amazon Link: Click here
Star Rating: – Did not like it!
Disclaimer: I received this free book from NetGalley in exchange for an un-biased review.
I wanted to enjoy this book. But it was not meant to be. The description was promising …
When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother’s neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.
Sounds fascinating! A new YA Steampunk Fantasy book would be a wonderful read. Plus get a load of that cover! Unfortunately, from the beginning, things didn’t start out well. As a mom of one teen and a younger child I was a little shocked to read, in the very first chapter, references to Music Hall ladies flashing their privates at patrons. What in the world?! In the same chapter, descriptions of catcalling men shouting out “harlot and alley whore” at a young girl absolutely stunned me. I had to do a double take and make sure I really was reading a YA book. Sure enough, that’s how the book is classified. Did they mean older teens? Maybe I’m reading too much into this. Let’s just get into the story. Things went downhill from there.
I found the characterization haphazard. The main character Edna, was presented as independent, and kind hearted. She is tolerant towards people and creatures, who were less fortunate and particularly those rejected by society. However, she was not consistent in her viewpoints. I guess only the cuter creatures warranted her concern because she could be downright bigoted about other groups who didn’t merit her approval. This was a major failing in the construction of her character for me. I found it difficult to relate to her. She was unlikeable. She was not the only character who suffered in this way. They were all for the most part two-dimensional. This culminated for me in the main character’s reaction to a death in the first half of the novel (no names, no spoilers). There simply wasn’t a reaction. It was as though the people present noted this passing, said they were sad, shrugged their shoulders and moved right on. They lacked heart and compassion in favor of pushing the plot ahead.
The action of the novel was uneven. It lacked grace and fluidity. The plot moved like a giant steam engine out of control. Switching tracks and tossing the reader around willy-nilly. Whenver the heroine was facing a sure and dangerous end, someone, at one point quite literally, just threw her a rope. No real explanation for why anyone was going out of their way to help her. I guess people just liked her that much. I’m willing to suspend disbelief to a certain degree in a Fantasy book, but it happened so often it got to be too much.
Unfortunately, this was not the book for me. It’s what I’d call a popcorn novel. A little fun, and a quick snack. I feel certain that it will appeal to younger readers. The world is atmospheric, and does have a nice variety of creatures and steampunk devices. A younger reader might feel the book is more of a romp. Am I just an old lady who doesn’t like rollercoasters anymore? Perhaps. I think the book has a nugget of a good idea. I wish the author had the time and space to stretch it out a little more. That likely would have helped.
Ugh, I hate writing a bad review. I’m sorry Ms. Elizabeth.