What: 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.