Della Mortika – The Library of Wonder by Geraldine F. Martin
Both reviewer Sam and I loved the steampunk Della Mortika Voyage to the Antipodes by independent author Geraldine F. Martin and we eagerly awaited the second book in the series, which was available on the 5th of December. i read the book in a day, but poor reviewer Sam has been caught up in Christmas concerts and in the end I could not wait for him to finish before doing this review. He has however promised to write his review in the comments when he is finished reading.
In the first book the Della Mortika sisters, Abigail, Beatrix and Zara, managed to lose their parents on a voyage from London to Melbourne. At the end of the book we left the girls in The Skipping Girl Home for Homeless and Wayward Girls. The second book still finds them in the Home and still squabbling about the best way to find their parents and escape the dreadful life they have found themselves in. It seems they might finally be leaving when they are adopted by brother and sister inventors – The Malefics.
The story is told by Zara, who manages to get separated from her sisters, but thinks she will be reunited with them at the Malefics Mansion. She is excited about the reunion, but also because the Malefics are inventors like her parents. Zara is very keen to work with them, especially on their new Library of Wonders. However, when she finally gets to the Malefic’s Mansion she finds her sisters nowhere to be seen and she is not allowed anywhere near the Library of Wonders. A whole new adventure has begun for the the Della Mortika girls.
This book has all the elements I love about steampunk – Victoriana, adventures and inventions that twist our perception of history. What I really enjoyed about this book is the imagination that went into devising the inventions, and how invention is integral to the story. The story itself is fast moving, perfect for pre-teen and teenage readers, with enough description to set the scene but not detract from the story, and just scary enough to be thrilling!
What really sets the Della Mortika books apart for me is though is the lead character. Zara is strong female character who is scientifically minded, and use science and logic to work her way out of situations. Zara makes girls being interested in science cool, which is great for girls, but also means boys reading will love the way her mind works as well.
I am so pleased I stumbled on to this series as it is great to read children’s fiction that is a little out of the mainstream, and especially pleased that the author has said she is already working hard on book three. And if you are looking for a last minute present for Christmas this might well be it!
Find out more about the Della Mortika sisters a www.dellamortika.com/