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firebird mysteryWhat: The Firebird Mystery – A Jack Mason Adventure by Darrell Pitt

Who: Text Publishing

When: February 26th 2014

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Text Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Jack Mason has grown up as an acrobat in a circus. Now, after the tragic death of his parents, he must live inside the gloomy walls of Sunnyside Orphanage in London, a city of fog and snow, filled with airships, steam cars and metrotowers that stretch into space.

Luckily for Jack, he’s taken under the wing of the brilliant and eccentric detective Ignatius Doyle. Little does he know how dangerous life is about to become.

A girl named Scarlet Bell comes seeking the great detective’s help. Her father has been kidnapped, and the future of the world itself may be at stake. Is the evil hand of Professor M pulling all the strings? Mr Doyle and Jack know there is no time to lose.

With all its twists and turns and helter-skelter action, The Firebird Mystery is an addictive story and a spellbinding homage to the world of Victorian literature that will appeal to readers of all ages.


The Firebird Mystery is the perfect middle grade book for a young boy (or girl) who is a fan of Doctor Who, steampunk, and/or Sherlock Holmes. In all reality, if my brother was still 14, and not 24 I would be thrusting this book into his hands. He would have been OBSESSED with Jack Mason.

Even though The Firebird Mystery is quite a long book for such a young audience, I don’t think the reader would actually notice how long it was. I certainly didn’t. Why? Because every chapter is filled with adventure, and daring, and mystery. It’s fantastic! I read this book five chapters at a time, and it was as if each of those cluster of chapters was its own little novel. And I think this would definitely appeal to its target audience.

Just as I am not known to cry over books, it takes a lot to get me to laugh – even just those ‘huh’ laughs which aren’t really laughs at all. But The Firebird Mystery actually made me laugh (and not the ‘huh’ laughs). I think it’s pretty great that a book about someone a lot younger than myself can make me laugh.

And I also think it’s great that I wasn’t bored for a second. I was right there along with Jack wondering who was the mysterious M and who would die next (there are a lot of dead people in this novel, be warned – but it’s not graphic).

One thing that was a little irksome was that there was a lot of telling, and little showing. Sometimes something would be shown to us really well, but the majority of the book involved telling. There was such great opportunity to show us this amazing world that Pitt has created, but I felt like it wasn’t really exploited. Whilst the telling really emphasised on what everything looked like, it was in a way that felt like looking at a 2-D version of the world, rather than being pulled into it and made to feel as if you were there.

I liked the characters, and thought that they were fleshed out nicely. Ignatius was fantastic – an eccentric twist on Sherlock Holmes if I’ve ever read one. Scarlet is a young suffragette who is quite a heroine in her own right. And Jack who is at once naïve and brave – I liked him very much.

If someone you know wants their geeky son (and I say this with love because I had a geeky brother and I am a geek myself) to get into the wonderful world of reading, or know a geeky boy who wants to find themselves a series to sink their teeth into: I suggest you give them The Firebird Mystery.

© 2014, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

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Posted on: May 12, 2014 • By: Chiara

6 Responses to Review: The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt

  1. I haven’t read much steampunk, but it definitely intrigues me. Plus, middle grade is awesome. Annoying that there’s a lot of telling – for some reason I’ve found that MG does that a lot. Not sure why that is. Unfortunately I don’t have any geek MG-aged relatives, though! Otherwise I’d totally share this with them :)

    • Chiara says:

      I love steampunk, haha :D I think it’s a great genre and I wish it was more popular!
      Perhaps it has something to do with the target audience? I didn’t mind too much since the story was pretty awesome.
      I really wish I did because I just know that they would love it!

  2. I love certain middle grade books so I might like this one. I would probably give it a try should the chance arise. Plus I like geeky books so maybe. :P

  3. Kelly says:

    That’s the first thing that struck me with this one too, it was a bit long for the middle grade audience I would have thought as well. It was entertaining, but I needed more of detective Doyle. He reminded me of a quirky Johnny Depp character, nailing toast to the door to test powers of observation? The book needed more of that and less of Jack working alone most of the time. Great review, absolutely spot on :)

    • Chiara says:

      I definitely think this book would have been awesome with a few more Doyle + Jack scenes. Every time they were together, they’d be thrown apart again. I think their relationship was fantastic, and a little more development between the two would have been great.
      Thanks, Kelly! ^.^

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