Book Review: Cogling by Jordan Elizabeth

When Edna pulls a mysterious pocket watch from her brother's neck, she's horrified to find that he collapses into a pile of cogs. While looking for someone who can help her, she runs into Ike who explains her brother was taken by hags and replaced by a cogling, and the two of them head for the hags' swamp in order to save her brother and stop the impending hag revolt.

Book Review: Cogling by Jordan Elizabeth | books, reading, book covers, book reviews, fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, YA, middle grade
Title: Cogling
Pages: 333
My Rating: 3 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

This book was an enjoyable, fun steampunk-fantasy mash-up!

The plot was steady and kept me interested, and the twists were fantastic. I saw one or two of them coming, but others I didn’t see coming at all, though they made sense once I knew about them.

The characters were also good, definitely the go-get-em types, making plans and jumping into action to do what they thought was right and save the ones they loved, rather than sitting around waiting for things to happen to them. And Ike was lovable and interesting with his mysterious past, his protectiveness of Edna and even some of the other characters, and his willingness to keep fighting.

I’m not sure the book was quite for me though. Maybe I’m just comparing to other protagonists of the same age I’ve read, or maybe I expected something different because of Edna’s rough life, but Edna herself seemed younger than 15. (Then again, I don’t spend much time around teenagers and don’t really know how they act or think at different ages.) And even though Edna was 15 and Ike was a few years older than that, the whole book felt kind of young for my taste. I think it’d be wonderful for readers who are young (I can see my younger self loving this, and Edna is a great role model) or who simply like younger protags, but it just wasn’t quite right for me.

I was also confused by the world-building. It was steampunk, so there were automation robots, blimps, locomobiles, coglings, etc., but there were also dragons, soot demons, trolls, hags, ogres, and other fantasy creatures of, I believe, the author’s own creation. I’ve read steampunk-fantasy before, I just found the array of creatures to be a bit random as I never knew what might pop up next. (But I did think the baby dragon was adorable!)

Overall though, this was an entertaining read with a good story and idea behind it, and if you like the steampunk-fantasy aspects I described, I think you’ll like it even more than I did!


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  1. Bookworm Brandee

    Hmm, I’ve not read much steampunk (only one, actually) but this one does seem to have lots and lots of ‘clutter’?!? I’m not sure I’d enjoy it because of that aspect. But I do like the sound of the characters being go-getters, getting things done rather than waiting around on it to happen on its own or to be told what to do, even if they do seem younger than their age. YA/Middle Grade is sometimes hard for me – I like my characters to at least act their age. 😉 I guess I prefer a book with more mature characters – and I think you can get that even with characters younger than 15. Sometimes, though, it seems the author is aiming at a younger audience. Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed Cogling overall, Kristen. It does seem interesting – and hey, baby dragon!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I think you nailed it with the word cluttered. I’ve read other steampunk-fantasy, but they always stuck to one or two things, like steampunk and demons, or steampunk and faeries and mages, or steampunk and mermaids and mancers. But this one had a whole bunch of different creatures from different, how shall I put it, sects of fantasy/paranormal. I guess, combined with the steampunk aspects, it was a little overwhelming for me. I personally like to have a firm grasp of what the world is rather than be surprised by new things that pop up. (But seriously, who doesn’t love a baby dragon?!) And yes, I’ve read books with 14/15-year-old characters who seemed more mature, but, as I said, I think I would’ve liked this when I was younger, so I’d recommend this to younger teens. And go-getter characters are always a good thing!

  2. Lola

    I read some MG books and enjoy them, although I usually like it when the characters act a bit more mature as it makes it easier to relate to them. I have read a few MG books were the main character seemed very young and it can be hard to relate. I feel like those books work better for a younger audience. And the mash-up of steampunk and fantasy creatures sounds a bit random, I usually like the world building to make sense of or explain why and which creatures there are, which sounds like it was lacking a bit in this one. The plot twists and characters sounds good though. I have this one for review through netgalley and I hope I’ll enjoy this one as well! Great Review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I do read middle grade sometimes too, but yes, it’s too hard for me to relate if they act too young. And I feel like you completely understand what I was saying about the world building. Exactly, there didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to what creatures were included, so it just threw me off every time a new creature was brought in. But I did enjoy the twists! And even though the characters seemed a bit young, they were still good main characters 🙂 Thanks!