The Foundry's Edge: The Books of Ore #1
Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz
Hyperion, 2016 (2016)
Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto
he Foundry's Edge
, the 'First Book of Ore' by Cameron Baity and Benny Zelkowicz, attempts to be a steampunk fantasy adventure for middle grade readers. Unfortunately, the whole package falls just a little short.
hoebe Plumm has felt rather alone since her mom died and her father plunged himself into his work at
. To keep her distance from everyone, she
classmates and the hired helped with what she feels are harmless pranks. A favorite target is Micah Tanner, the young handyman son of the housekeeper. However, when her father is kidnapped by strange clones, Phoebe must rely on Micah's help as they travel through the land of Mehk hoping to save him.
ehk is unlike any world they could have imagined, populated by
, living, breathing, machines. They are joined by Dollop, a misfit mehkan, who steadily clings to his religion to get himself through his tough life. The three of them encounter many interesting mehkans as they travel through Mehk, some friendly, some not, but nothing can prepare Phoebe for when they find her father.
he premise of
The Foundry's Edge
sounds unique and promising, but the execution just is not there. First off, neither Pheobe nor Micah is likable, and both act about two years older than their ages, which somehow distances them even more. Dollop is likable, but his religious fanaticism just does not seem to fit with the rest of the story.
nother problem is the world-building. Many of the inventions are very hard to picture (and it is very important to understand what they look like), but some are just existing technology renamed. Plus, every one of these inventions is capitalized without explaining if it is because they are brand names or if the authors just felt they needed to be capitalized (the sheer number of capitalized words leads me to believe the latter). Both issues severely hurt the pacing of the story, which is detrimental when appealing to a middle grade audience.
here is so much that Cameron Baity and Benny Zelkowicz could have done in
The Foundry's Edge
to make it a creative and stellar read. Unfortunately, nothing hit the mark.
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