This hybrid of steampunk and alternate American history features a hell-raising girl’s school, Atlantis, and three highly likable leads in a yarn rip-roaring from start to finish. It’s 1875, and Archie Dent is the son of Septemberists, members of a secret society who protect humanity from the Mangleborn. There is a cyclical nature to their work: the Septemberists subdue the Mangleborn and lock them beneath the earth, but the Mangleborn eventually rise again. When Archie’s parents are brainwashed by a new Mangleborn threat, he sets out to recruit a League of Seven, the legendary combination of a Tinker, a Lawbringer, a Scientist, a Trickster, a Warrior, a Shadow, and a Hero. The first two are Fergus, a mechanic in a kilt, rescued from a maniacal Thomas Edison, and Hachi, a Native American girl who wants to assassinate Edison. Moments of humor and pathos enliven the history and fantasy. Though the main plot concerning Archie’s parents is resolved, there is plenty to address and discover in a sequel.
– Kara Dean