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.
Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags’ swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors.
Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family.
I received a copy of this book by the author for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way aside from the enjoyment of the book.
I would like to clasify Cogling as a mix of fairy tale and steampunk. Though, I want to say more fairy tale fantasy than steampunk. There are elements such as factories and airships, but there is magic and a plethora of magical creatures that roam with the people of the world. It is an interesting world that I wouldn’t mind seeing again. However, this book is a stand alone (I can still see another book set in this world though).
The concept of a mechanical changeling is what got me wanting to read this book. I love changelings. They can be disturbing (like in Supernatural) or they can be beautiful trolls (Trylle Trilogy). The idea that a magical being can kidnap your child and replace it with another is both terrifying and amazing. I love that Jordan Elizabeth thought to use this type of mythos and twist it to a mechanical creature.
The main characters weren’t bad, but I wasn’t emotionally in them as I was with the concept of the world. Edna is opinionated and is only open minded about some of the creatures. I didn’t care for her outright prejudice of the Hags and Ogres in the beginning despite the fact that I knew a faction of their kind was the main antagonist. I felt Edna was a bit hypocritical for the openness that she had for the other creatures of the world. Though, this makes her a more human of a character. That I cannot disagree, she did feel lifelike. I just didn’t care for her in the beginning. She did eventually grow on me.
Ike was a pretty cool character. There was some depth in the family history and his mysteriousness. However, I felt he was a fairly basic kind of character. It was obvious he had ulterior motives in helping Edna (even she saw that) and he had a feel of trying to be that rougish character, but I pegged him fast. Again, not too sure of how I felt about him in the beginning, but he did grow into a noble character.
The story was fairly easy to peg, but again that is very much like the fairy tale element. It isn’t the character archetypes that intrigue me as much as the world the author crafts. If the world is amazing enough, it doesn’t matter that Luke Skywalker is now a wizard with a lightning scar (yes, I went there). In the case of Cogling, the world was interesting.