York – The Shadow Cipher #1

by Laura Ruby

A steampunk world grown up to present day, a cipher to be solved and three children to solve it!  The cover of York is a beautiful piece of artwork, and I have to admit it really drew me in, but what made me really want to read this book was the story outline on the back cover.

I am drawn the idea of steampunk and the different spin it gives to our history (see my reviews of Della Mortika sisters), but the thought of a book set in a city I have visited with a modern steampunk twist was too much for me to pass up. In this book the Morninstarr twins created an array of machines in 18th century York then disappeared, leaving a Cipher promising treasure beyond all imagining. Jump ahead to present day and the cipher has never been solved, but thirteen year old children, Tess, Theo and Jamie, decide that if they solve the cipher they will be able to save the Morninstarr building they live in from destruction.

This wonderful, imaginative story idea was brought to life by some great writing and characterisations. The story is told in turn by the three children, interspersed with some of the other characters to give the story a little more depth. The world in which the children inhabit is familiar and yet a little strange, and the York of this book is almost a character in itself, adding to the atomosphere and the mystery. There are twists and turns in this plot that are not easy to see, and frankly I found the book a little hard to put down.

Clearly I would recommend this book, and if I had a star system it would be a top rater. The paperback version I read has over 450 pages, so the size may put some children off. For this reason I would recommend it for teen readers, although if you want to read it to younger children then the subject matter would be suitable for 10 and up. It is a book for boys and girls, steampunk readers, those that like mysteries and those who like stories about friendship and family. Be prepared though, this may be a book it is hard to get your children out of once they dive in! And then there is the long wait until book two comes out……

 

 

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York – A New Perspective

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