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A Dastardly Plot

(A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  46 reviews
It's 1883—the Age of Invention! A time when great men like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Nicola Tesla, and George Eastman work to turn the country into a land of limitless opportunity.

And it all happens at the world famous Inventor’s Guild headquarters in New York City—a place where a great idea, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck can find you rubbing elb
320 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Walden Pond Press
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  178 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Mar 15, 2015 marked it as to-read
I'll read anything this guy writes.
Mark Baker
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, middle-grade
New York City is gearing up for the 1883 World's Fair, and Molly Pepper is hoping her mother, Cassandra, will be able to snag a spot in the inventor's hall to show case some of her amazing inventions. However, when the spot is given to a man - again - Molly and Cassandra devise a plan to break into the Inventory's Guild. That's where Molly stumbles upon the plans to sabotage the opening ceremonies. Who is the villain? Can Molly stop them?

The book starts out a little slowly, some of which is intr
Wing Kee
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun, quirky and full of charm.

World: The world building is wonderful. Just like his Prince Charming series this series' world is full of archetypes and cliches that get turned on it's ear. The ideas of the turn of the century and the worlds fair and the industrial revolution is a beautiful backdrop for this story. The pieces of history both real and fictional coming together is a beautiful steampunk dream.

Story: The story is great, it's fun, it's charming and features a strong female character.
Brandy Painter
Jan 31, 2020 marked it as set-aside
My stance on AU histories probably doesn't make sense to many people. There are some things I'm willing to let slide. Others not so much. If you're going to have real history mixed with fake history, at least have it make sense. When it's aimed at children, think carefully and remember they haven't had the same opportunity as adults to learn actual, real history yet. I just couldn't swallow a lot of the tampering here.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun, girl-power, science is not just for boys/men, twisted history surrounding a World's Fair in NYC that didn't actually come off. It's an over-the-top adventure that has a lot in common with Back to the Future as well as Healy's first series, The Hero's Guide to.... Instead of fairy tale heroes and heroines, we have historical inventors mixed up in a plot to take over the US government. Molly Pepper, her inventor mother, and Chinese immigrant Emmett Lee (maybe the first name is an h ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this funny, smart, fast-paced adventure!
I seem to be in the minority but I thought this book, which had so much potential, was soooooo bad. It kept me entertained, which is why I didn't rate it a 1, but I didn't love it, or even like some of it, which is why I don't rate it a 3.

Here's my issue with it: it's fiction, yes, but with fiction I still want characters to be believable, which this book has NONE.

The MC is a 12 year old girl who acts, behaves and talks more like a 17 or 18 year old. She's smart but also real dumb. The bigger is
A fan of Healy's first (and also latest) works, I was excited to give this one a try. It didn't meet my hopes, sadly. While it might appeal more to the younger crowd (or my younger self), I grew a bit tired of the somewhat harebrained scattered plot. Additionally, I grew frustrated thinking there was a sequel when it easily could have been written as a stand-alone and benefited from that. Too little substance being dragged out does not a happy reader make.

I did like our main cast of characters,
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arcs, 2018, middle-years
2.5. It started off fun, but became so madcap and zany that it wasn't cohesive or understandable. It's also so chock-full of historical references cheek-and-jowl with made-up people/places/things that I could see myself as a kid being utterly baffled as to what is historically accurate or not. There's a disclaimer at the end clarifying some of those things, but too little too late.
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's hard not to like the Pepper's, both Molly and Cassandra, though maybe a bit more of Molly. They've had to survive some hard knocks in life from the passing of her father to the ruination of their business to the scraping through mud of the family name, but as their family saying goes...Peppers never give up! Something to remember when things are looking severely down and all seems lost....just sayin'. I really loved Molly's spunky nature, relative quick thinking on her feet, and her ability ...more
Becky B
Molly Pepper is determined to see her mother's inventions in the World's Fair. But certain powers that be won't let a woman showcase. Upset, Molly decides to do a little sabotage work and inadvertently stumbles across plans in Alexander Graham Bell's office for something dastardly to be unleashed at the World's Fair. With the help of Emmett Lee, an orphan who works for Bell, her mother Cassandra, and others they pick up along the way, Molly is out to save the world.

This isn't as funny as Healy'
After loving his first series, A Hero's Guide, I was eager to pick up this new book. And I was not disappointed. While having more of an alternative history feel rather that the fairy tale vibe of the first series, the book still manages to have the trademark humor. Molly makes for a great main character. She's an empathetic character but she's also a fighter. She's also rather impulsive which gets her into a lot of trouble, but luckily for her, she's also a quick study. And she has others aroun ...more
Amanda Delap
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveways
I received an Advanced Reader's Copy through a Goodreads giveaway. The young adult historical fiction theme was interesting especially since it focused on mostly women inventors and how they were seen as inferior to male inventors. I liked the mix of fiction with facts, though at times it seemed a bit over the top and too much going on at the same time to keep all details in check. It didn't grab hold of me or seem to be as interesting as other young adult fiction that I've read, but it didn't b ...more
Humorous action story set in 1880s New York City. Really enjoyed the blend of historical elements with an action-adventure plot. I especially liked that the story does not ignore the plight of women and immigrants in the time period but addresses them directly. Exciting, fast-paced, and fun.

A note if you’re big fans of Healy’s A Hero’s Guide series: this new series has humor but is not as laugh-out-loud funny. I look at A Hero’s Guide as a humor series set in the fairy tale world. This series is
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Not as exciting as I thought it would be but still entertaining enough. Beginning was slow and hard to get into but once the MOI showed up, my interest was piqued! They are the best part of this story. And some people criticize Cassandra on being a terrible mom and Molly for not acting her age but I think that's exactly what the author is trying to portray: how the dynamic of mother and daughter is switched and unconventional. Overall, a pretty good read. Not sure if I will continue but I do wan ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Clever! Witty! Fun! And other words that describe it’s awesomeness! Sometimes when I find a series I love I am let down when I then find a series I do not love by the same author. But that is not the case! I absolutely loved his other series, (Heroes Guide) and I also loved this! And I will now dutifully count down the days until the next installment series comes out!
Brittlyn Doyle
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Hard not to compare this to his Hero’s Guide series. It just wasn’t as good. However, the kids and I enjoyed this after we got into it. (I did think that there was a little too much action haha. I kept thinking that now THIS was the final showdown with every altercation starting at only halfway through the book!)
Ms. Yingling
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Public library copy

This reminded me of a couple of other Victorian era adventure books. I liked it, but they are a hard sell in my school, so I may pass. Do love the Hero's Guide books, but even those haven't been going out as much this year as in the past.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
This was pretty cute -- I didn't love it as much as his Hero's Guide series, but it still had some good laugh-out-loud moments, and you gotta love a book that celebrates under-regarded female inventors while also taking some excellent burns on Thomas Edison.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fabulous inventions, fun takes on historical figures, recurring jokes, parental/child conflict in several different directions -- this book is packed with good stuff. I liked the pacing and the twists and the main characters.
stan the Bookman
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
the begging of the book was a little slow and boring. but it got a lot faster near the end. I like molly and Emmett both are funny and good characters. but some of the story was lagging in some areas. I will still read the series to find out what happens to them.
3.5 stars

Something to give kids who are too young for the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger or Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series. Steampunk historical fiction with a bent on advocating for women's intelligence and presence in groups previously only allowing men.
Memory Toast
I don't usually like impulsive main characters, but there was so much humor and character growth packed into this steampunk-ish historical fiction that I forgave Molly (and her mother) for their lack of forethought.
Rory Richardson
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tedious start. 2 chapters in, the style gets better and funnier. We almost didn’t get past the the slow, sad intro. It was like it was written by a different, lamer author. Not as geniusly wacky as the Hero books, but differently good. I read it to my 8yr old and 10 yr old.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a fun book jam-packed with action, adventure, & unique characters. I appreciated the fact vs. fiction section at the end as there are a lot of historical figures in this novel. ...more
M.T. DeSantis
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mg, historical
Fun and adorable! I always enjoy Healy's work, and this book promised all the humor, action, and emotions I've come to expect. Looking forward to the sequel!
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Didn't like it as much as the Hero's Guide books, but it definitely made me chortle.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this story. I laughed out loud several times. Love the historical aspects woven into the sci-fi. Great author's note at the end.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
Hilarious historical sci-fi from the author of the Hero's Guide series!
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Christopher Healy is the author of the Hero's Guide trilogy: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle, and The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw. The series is a comedic adventure that follows the exploits of four different Prince Charmings in the aftermath of their not-quite-accurate fairy-tale fame. Published by Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins ...more

Other books in the series

A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem (3 books)
  • The Treacherous Seas (A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem, #2)
  • The Final Gambit (A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem, #3)

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