cover image The Sinister Secrets of Singe (The Sinister Secrets #1)

The Sinister Secrets of Singe (The Sinister Secrets #1)

Sean Ferrell, illus. by Graham Carter. Pixel+Ink, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-6459-5183-4

A boy’s determined search for his father lends emotional heft to this steampunk-inflected series starter, a middle grade debut from Ferrell (The Snurtch). Long overseen by distant mother Marie and robot caretaker Elijah, 11-year-old Noah isn’t allowed outside the family’s home, which grows larger each night, spiraling noisily and by unknown means into an ever-widening edifice at the edge of industrial city Liberty. After stumbling upon the schematics for a robot designed by his absent inventor father—whose “terrible mistake” once cost Liberty lives—Noah wonders if any of the man’s creations remain, and how they might be connected to the domicile’s growth. Noah soon unlocks an emissary of his father, and is swept up in a desperate quest to find his dad, fighting off terrifying machines and joining Winona, a girl his age, and her band of smugglers. Tackling questions about sacrifice and sentience, this speculative enterprise, accompanied by Carter’s moody illustrations, offers melancholic refinement to an otherwise straightforward adventure. Noah reads as white; Winona has copper skin. Ages 10–up. Author’s agent: Alec Shane, Writers House. (June)