Series: The Books of Ore #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 15, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Sexual Content: N/A
Reviewed by: Megan
Two kids on a rescue mission.
A mysterious realm of living metal.
One secret that will change the world.
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.
A traditional set-up with a good helping of charm, THE FOUNDRY’S EDGE by Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz packages a lot of common YA fantasy tropes in an unconventional wrapper. Though the biggest ‘surprise’ of the novel is revealed in the first third of the book, it’s a dark twist with far-reaching consequences, and that edge turns the first Book of Ore from a predictable story to an adventure worth taking.
Though the tone can be a bit ponderous and detail-heavy – at least until the kids leave the city – the characters of Micah and Phoebe are spot on. They’re believable preteens, and the authors have done a great job highlighting the difference a few years can make at that age. Phoebe is caught between childhood and adolescence, developing faster than she’d like with all the insecurities that entails. Micah has a ten-year-old’s passion for taking things apart to see how they work, not to mention dreams of being a hero that lead to plenty of recklessness. They even acquire a cowardly sidekick with a devotion to a hodge-podge of religion who finds his courage during the quest, too.
Without spoiling the big secret, I’ll just say that there’s a darkness to this YA tale that will likely appeal to its target audience. Meridian has grit and the ‘mech-punk’ world is close enough to ours, at first, that the truth of it holds a stealth environmental message for a contemporary audience. (Maybe not that stealth.) The real cost of her affluent life in the city affects the emotional Phoebe more than it does the pragmatic Micah, and she has a better view of the bigger picture that will no doubt affect her decisions in the other books of the planned trilogy. Though not quite a cliffhanger, the ending does make the reader wonder, what will happen next?Series Titles:
- The First Book of Ore: The Foundry's Edge