Jordan Elizabeth is not only a great YA author, she is one cool lady. In Cogling, Edna’s little brother, Harrison is stolen by Hags-replaced with a construct made of his breath, magic, and a pocketwatch: a cogling. Edna will stop at nothing to get her real brother back. Teaming up with an unlikely accomplice, Edna leaves the only place she has ever known and heads for the swamp where the Hags live, intent on rescuing her brother. Along the way, she discovers conspiracies and secrets all around her. Monsters help and hinder her. Her greatest ally reveals that he is not what he first seemed. Amidst all this intrigue, can Edna save her brother and, perhaps, the kingdom?
Cogling is filled with Elizabeth’s trademark kindness to animals and tolerance of others themes. Though the creatures in this steampunk glory are fantastical (think scurrying soot demons instead of mice and foxkins who are hunted like foxes even though they wear clothes and can speak), Elizabeth leaves no doubt that cruelty and intolerance are not her cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t heavy-handed stuff. You pick it up from Edna’s thoughts and reactions, and you can’t help but feel the same way. Which is a really good way to sneak in a lesson against prejudice on your littles. Yeah yeah.
One of the things I love about Elizabeth’s books is that she never quite ends them where you expect them to end. She always has something else to say. The poetically cryptic chapter headings intrigued me just as much as the story did. The lavishly built world through which Edna and Ike fight their way to truth and tolerance is never boring, and the perils our heroes face are many and varied. Listen, this book is one harrowing adventure after another. Edna grows from a meek, uncertain thing into a heroine with real backbone. Ike forgives himself for a past over which he had no control anyway. And the kingdom… Well, I’ll let you read it and find out for yourself.
I would caution that while there is no sex in the book, there are some allusions to it that you might feel are too much for your tween or early teen. I’ll leave that up to you–every parent has her own threshold. Regardless, Cogling is a wonderful fantasy adventure with believable characters set in a rich world that rivals any invented. It’s an excellent read.
Because I loved it so much, and because Jordan is just cool like that, I’m offering a free e-copy to a winning reader. Jordan has said she can provide a mobi, epub, or pdf copy directly to the winner. So make sure you enter, and you can read this excellent novel for yourself. You have until midnight on Monday, February 15, to enter , and I will announce the winner during next Tuesday’s YA Book Review. Good luck!
If you want to learn more about Jordan and her other books, you can visit her website.
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