Authors: Benny Zelkowicz & Cam Baity
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Series: Books of Ore #1
Hardcover, 448 pages
Publication: April 15, 2014 by Disney Hyperion
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
For Phoebe Plumm, life in affluent Meridian revolves around trading pranks with irksome servant Micah Tanner and waiting for her world-renowned father, Dr. Jules Plumm, to return home. Chief Surveyor for The Foundry, a global corporation with an absolute monopoly on technology, Phoebe's father is often absent for months at a time. But when a sudden and unexpected reunion leads to father and daughter being abducted, Phoebe and would-be rescuer Micah find themselves stranded in a stunning yet volatile world of living metal, one that has been ruthlessly plundered by The Foundry for centuries and is the secret source of every comfort and innovation the two refugees have ever known.Before I get to my review, I just want to tell you guys how beautiful this book is in person. The end page (right when you open the book) has a black background with symmetrical patterns repeated from top to bottom, each page has another pattern that complements those end pages in lines/dashes and the book has silver gilded edges! That’s my favorite part of the book’s aesthetics!
Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz have fashioned an intensely inventive, engaging, and thought-provoking tale of two worlds on a collision course and the two young rivals who find themselves on the front line. The Foundry's Edge is the first book in a trilogy that will transport young readers down a mechanical rabbit hole and send them on an adventure that explores the hidden costs of indulgence, the perils of unchallenged nationalism, and the world-altering power of compassion and conviction.
I had a good idea of what type of book The Foundry’s Edge was when I started it. It’s Steampunk Fantasy, with a lot of reviewers comparing it to Alice in Wonderland. I definitely got that vibe; the world of Mehk is scary, enchanting and strange all at the same time. What I liked most about the book was all the gadgets and tech the authors created. it was just as unique as the city of Mehk…considering the gadgets derived from there. As for the set up of the story it is standard, somewhat formulaic. The Foundry’s Edge follows two preadolescent, Phoebe and Micah, on a rescue mission. It took me longer than usual to get engaged with the story and characters. Things didn’t get truly interesting till they entered the City of Mehk, where they met an ancient and a friendly Mehkie and from there it was nonstop action as they tried to outrun Goodwin’s men/ robots.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t like either kid at the beginning. Phoebe and Micah were cruel to each other. There were endless name calling and petty retaliation stunts and tricks. I didn’t find it funny or amusing. But when Phoebe’s father and Micah’s employer was kidnapped, the two put their differences aside to rescue him. It was a long time before the two called a truce, which literally happened in the last couple of chapters of the book. The two cannot be more different, which isn’t surprising since Phoebe comes from a wealthy family and Micah from the more questionable part of town. But at the same time they work well as a team (well, once they stopped competing). Phoebe was calculated and had better intuition. While Micah was more of a risk taker, the type to act/talk before he think but that didn’t stop him from outsmarting and outrunning the bad guys at every turn. Phoebe and Micah did a lot of growing up in the short span of the novel, which can be clearly seen at the end of the book. With the surprise ending that changed the two lives’ forever. I am intrigued to see where Baity and Zelkowicz will take Phoebe, Micah and Dollop next.
Overall, I enjoyed The Foundry’s Edge way more than I expected. Despite the book’s rocky start the world building and characters are pretty solid and the last half of the book was intense and full of action! I can’t wait to read book two of the series, Waybound! This series is meant for Middle Grade, but I think it will appeal to all audiences.