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The Foundry’s Edge by Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz eARC {4 Stars}

The Foundry’s Edge by Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz is a middle grade adventure that explores a fascinating alternative world with hints of steampunk and biopunk. Phoebe and Micah are two kids from different stations in the manor house who definitely don’t want to team up, but when the lord of the manor, Phoebe’s dad, gets abducted, neither is willing to to let the other take over rescuing him. The world of The Foundry’s Edge is somewhere between the Industrial Age and current day, with technology that doesn’t seem to completely fit the time period, because its origins are much different than everyone thinks.

Note: I received The Foundry’s Edge through Netgalley for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Foundry’s Edge by Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz eARC {4 Stars}

The Foundry's Edge by Benny Zelkowicz, Cam Baity (The Books of Ore #1)
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 15th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, MG, Steampunk
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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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.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • The Foundry’s Edge takes place in a secret world full of living metal creatures that seem startlingly similar to the latest inventions in Phoebe and Micah’s world. I absolutely loved this unique blend of steampunk technology and biopunk inspiration in a middlegrade story. I can’t wait for the rest of the series just to find out more about the world :D.
  • Many species in the metal world of The Foundry’s Edge appear to be sentient, which raises some really interesting questions about personhood for Phoebe and Micah. Because Phoebe and Micah’s world has come to rely so heavily on the technology developed, however, the kids have to confront some difficult moral grey zones and realize that there isn’t always an easy answer. I loved how The Foundry’s Edge presented these questions and worked through both sides of the story to really give younger readers something to puzzle over.
  • It is always refreshing to find adult characters that are actually well-developed in middle grade stories. Phoebe’s dad and other adults running operations in The Foundry’s Edge at first seem two-dimensional through Phoebe and Micah’s perspective, but develop into well-rounded characters once the kids start being confronted with the truth of their world.
  • What is a middle grade book without adorable secondary characters?? Dollop quickly won my heart with his underdog role as an outcast metal creature, but becomes so much more and even gets a few scenes from his perspective!

Weaknesses:

  •  Phoebe and Micah are really not very likable characters. They are pretty bratty and mean to each other and the other people around them. Phoebe especially starts as quite the spoiled child, treating the servants rather badly whether they deserve it or not. I’m hopeful since they both grow during The Foundry’s Edge, but it lessened my enjoyment of this first book when I couldn’t really root for them.
  • The Foundry’s Edge gets pretty violent towards the end and so might not be entirely appropriate for some younger readers. It deals with torture and the near death of central characters, so keep that in mind if you’re deciding on whether a youngster should read this one.
  • While I always hope that a middle grade story will have a plot to interest adult readers, The Foundry’s Edge didn’t manage to surprise me with any of the big plot twists since they were pretty heavily foreshadowed.

Summary:

The Foundry’s Edge is an excellent start to a really exciting new middle grade series. The world that Phoebe and Micah explore is just so cool and I can’t wait to see what else there is to discover. The Foundry’s Edge deals with some tough issues of morality and personhood as well as violence, so it is definitely on the older end of the middle grade spectrum. While I wasn’t really surprised at any point, I highly recommend The Foundry’s Edge for adults who enjoy middle grade and steampunk!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 The Foundry’s Edge by Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. I’ll probably give it a look for the steampunk/biopunk world, but it’s a shame the characters aren’t more likable. Fun characters are usually the strongest aspect of Middle Grade fiction. Thanks for the great review!
    Kel recently posted…Six-Month Blogoversary Celebration and GiveawayMy Profile

    • So true! Though I have to admit I didn’t much like Harry Potter when I first started reading those books, so I have hope for these characters!

  2. “Phoebe and Micah are really not very likable characters. They are pretty bratty and mean to each other and the other people around them.”

    Meh. Thanks for the warning.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Graphic Novel Review: This One SummerMy Profile

  3. Wow. 450 pages on a middle grade book? Is this the new normal? I didn’t realize MG books had gotten so long.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Fantasy Review: ‘The Last Continent’ by Terry PratchettMy Profile

    • Haha, look at Harry Potter! No, I don’t think that’s normal and I suspect the pages might be smaller than trade size…

Trackbacks

  1. […] Waybound by Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz is the second Book of Ore and continues the adventures of two kids in a world of living metal that has been used to make all the technology of their world. This story gets pretty dark and scary for a middle grade, but the world and magic are so freaking cool that I definitely recommend it as long as the reader can handle darker elements. If you’d rather check out my review for book one, here it is. […]

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