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Fires of Invention

(Mysteries of Cove #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,233 ratings  ·  240 reviews
Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime and “invention” is a curse word.

Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, whose father died in an explosion—an eve
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Shadow Mountain
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J. Book 2, Gears of Revolution, will come out September 2oth, 2016. The final book, which I am currently calling, Embers of Destruction, will come out fa…moreBook 2, Gears of Revolution, will come out September 2oth, 2016. The final book, which I am currently calling, Embers of Destruction, will come out fall of 2017.

Thanks for asking!(less)
Brylee (Br-I-L-Ee) it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its soooooooooooooooo goooooooooooooood

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Jun 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Alright time to write the review for this book. I was approved a copy of this book from NetGalley, but I never ended up downloading it before it was archived, so because I like J. Scott Savage's Far World series, I bought myself a copy. So obviously the opinions in this review are completely my own.

This is a fun steampunk fantasy that's a bit strange in where it fits in terms of reading age bracket. I classified it as middle grade seeing as the main character is 13, but there is a bit of a focu
Jackson Porter
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't give many books 5 star ratings, but this one deserves it. I had recently fallen into a dry spell of reading when Jeff (the author) contacted me and asked me to read a very early rough draft of this book.

I read it in basically 2 sittings.

I don't think I'm allowed to say anything about it, but it is the first book in a very long time where I simply "had" to keep reading. The ending is fantastic, the characters are well-defined, and it's definitely one of J. Scott Savage's best published w
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One word: AMAZING!

Okay, that isn't all I'm going to say, but that word sums up this book perfectly. I absolutely loved this book. The imagination and creativity involved in this story is mind-blowing. I'm not surprised though, Jeff is an extremely talented author who dazzles me every time I read one of his books. I loved how it was illegal to think outside of the box, to change things, to invent something new. I won't get into the history of Cove in my review, but it is fascinating. Cove is a tr
Jolene Perry
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great adventure.
Great characters.
Great relationships, twists, and complications.
I also love that after taking a few classes from the author, I can see his pacing techniques at work.
FUN, FUN read. Highly recommend for people who love adventurous MG, and bonus if you love steampunk.
Oh boy. What a fun book this was! If you like steampunk, if you like dragons, if you like STEAMPUNK DRAGONS, I guarantee Fires of Invention is a book you will enjoy.

Here's the scoop on the plot: Trenton Coleman is always getting in trouble for being too creative. In Cove, his city home inside a mountain, creativity is frowned upon and punished, and "inventor" and "invention" are curse words. When he stumbles upon a machinery part like nothing he's ever seen before, and nobody else knows what it
Ms. Yingling
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it
E ARC from

Trenton loves tools and machinery, but in his futuristic, protected town of Cove "invention" is a dirty word. Even stringing together a number of approved machinery to make a swing is enough to land him in trouble with the chancellors and get him recommended for retraining. Luckily, there is a problem in the mines that requires a small person with mechanical training to fix, and Trenton manages to escape that fate. What he can't escape is his appointment to the Food Produ
Helena Donaldson
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fires of Invention was an enjoyable read, though one of the few where I enjoyed the setting more than the characters. Trenton lives in a secluded civilization called Cove where innovation is discouraged, and rule breakers are threatened with re-education. Trenton, of course, is a rule breaker and what would be considered an inventor now (but there, the word invention is a curse word). He later crosses paths with the daughter of the mad, and now deceased, inventor named Leo Babbage. Kallista soon ...more
Kristine Hansen
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I do love a good story of civilization gone into hiding, and this is no exception. The Cove is a mountain hideaway, that was created in the beginning of the 20th century (think about what that implies historically speaking for a bit. Go ahead, I'll wait) and has lasted for 150 years. After all this time, of course things are breaking down, but somewhere in the mix creativity became outlawed, and there is no worse offense than in being an INVENTOR. Our scrappy teens of course are the creative sor ...more
Elizabeth A
May 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Jonah [11]
Shelves: kids-ya, 2016
The first book in this series was recommend to me by my nephew Jonah, age 11. He loved it and I can see why. This dystopian/steampunk story revolves around 13 year old Trenton Colman, who is creative in a world that harshly punishes anyone who rocks the status quo, and Kallista Babbage, who is year or so older than Trenton. She comes with her own baggage, and awesome mechanical skills. The community in this story retreated inside a mountain when the outside environment became too dangerous. Base ...more
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Savage makes you think, in a good way, from the first page of this book. You have to re-wire your brain almost as you dig into this world where words like invention and creativity are as frowned upon as lying and stealing! Since I'm a creative type, I really struggled with the re-wiring at first, but then I saw the plot begin to develop, and I could see how a society could become to wrapped up in it's self that it could fear any sort of change, or inventive improvement. This book is a total page ...more
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own, mg, 2015
I was so excited to be able to read an eARC of this book. I loved every second of it! Kids are going to go crazy for this book when it's released this fall. It was so well written, chock full of action, had fascinating and relatable characters, mysteries to keep you dying to find out what happens next, and incredible amounts of conflict. I can't wait until this book is available!
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Cove is an underground city that was built to protect its people from a deadly plague that ravaged the world above. At least that is what they are told. In Cove, everything must be preapproved by the Chancellor. Art or invention or free thinking are strictly forbidden and can lead to "retraining". Everything is regulated in Cove including what your job will be and what you are eating for dinner.

Trenton has just graduated from school and is looking forward to becoming a mechanic. He is therefore
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first book in the Mysteries of Cove series. This book started out a bit slow but I really enjoyed the last third or so of it. The last part of the book was enough to really pull me in and make me want to read more of this series. This is marketed as a middle grade steampunk book; which it really isn't. It is more of a middle grade dystopian novel. The society of Cove is definitely a dystopia of sorts.

The only steampunk element in this book is that our two main heroes build a dragon
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, young-adult
I really enjoyed this story, and wanted to continue reading to find out what was going to happen next in the story, and discover where the story was going. It was very entertaining, and full of adventure. I felt that this book did bare a few resemblances to The City of Ember though. It wasn’t until getting through quite a bit of the book that the story felt very different. The general idea of the city of cove, and how the city was run, reminded me the most of The City of Ember. However, the adve ...more
A. L. Sowards
I read this one with my twins and we really enjoyed it. It's a fun story. I especially liked the imaginative setting--a society that has moved completely underground, supposedly to escape widespread pollution. Creativity and curiosity are outlawed. But the main characters, Trenton and Kallista, can't help asking questions and wanting to make things better. Nor can they help following clues left by a "criminal" inventor (all inventors are criminal in Cove) or assembling all the parts they find in ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting dystopian future where things are not what they seem. It starts a bit slow but it picks up 'steam' and gets really good. The main characters are easy to like, Trenton and Kallista are developed well but there are times where you want to yell at Trenton but I digress. Solid book, onto book 2.
Wyatt A
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The reason I gave it five stars is that it takes you into thinking something is going to happen then it just does a complete 180. It is a mystery and science fiction so if that is what you like you need to read this book.
Emily Bates
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
STEAMPUNK DRAGONS!! That cover was enough to sell me. Really enjoyed the mystery and the puzzle of it, as well as the characters, particularly Kallista.
Michelle Stimpson
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: local-authors
Action, adventure, romantic tension, and STEAMPUNK. This is a really fun read with a fantastic lesson about the importance of CREATIVITY. Looking forward to passing this one on to my kids.
Traci Brown
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Listened to this audiobook with my kids. They all really loved it, and I was happy to listen to it, too! A great way to keep them happy in the car, etc.
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
You can support my blog by reading this review at
I want to thank Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC.

A major thing I love about this book is that there is definitely the feel of a dystopian or post-apocalyptic society here, but it isn't depressing. I'm very tired of the no-hope, doomed-civilization worlds. With Fires of Invention, there's a fun, playful essence to the story that's infectious. It's just a group of people who decided to hole themselves
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I received an eARC (Electronic Advance Reader Copy) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Trenton lives in Cove, a city that sealed itself inside a mountain 150 years ago in order to escape an atmosphere poisoned by war and technology. As technology destroyed the world, only the most basic of machines are allowed in Cove, and any creativity is forbidden. “Invent” and all forms of the word are considered foul language, and calling someone an “inventor” is the harshest of insults. Trenton
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved-books
I'm modifying my review because, apparently, I can't form a proper sentence after finishing a book in the middle of the night.
Thank you, grammar police, for not arresting me so my typos could live to see another day.

Fires of Invention converted me to the world of steampunk. I would've LOVED this book as a kid, and I can't help but wonder if discovering steampunk at a younger age would've influenced my career choices (or at least helped me appreciate math). Parents, if your kid loves math and l
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh. My. Goodness. This book is amazing!

I loved everything about this book. It is so well-written that you almost feel as though you are there with Trenton, Simoni, and Kallista. I loved the setting that J Scott Savage created for his characters to inhabit. They live in the city of Cove, it's built deep within a mountain to try to keep the evils of the creative world outside the mountain from getting in. The citizens of Cove are not allowed to create anything new, to them inventor is a bad word
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Trenton lives in a strange dystopian world. it isn't the "future" but it isn't quite steampunk either. from what I could gather about the dates it's ridge around the late 90's, not they the year matters much. The society that Trenton lives in its strictly controlled. but not as strict as some dystopians. Foods ate regulated (This day is beef, that is fish), but families choose how to prepare each meal. Students also are assigned their career based on aptitude tests.
Creativity and invention ates
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good book, but not really sure how the series will progress

I don't usually start a new series by an author when I haven't even finished the first series I begun with them. Some people can write awesome books, but when it comes to closing things out....they could use help. Well, so far I have been very impressed with the Farworld series (and am impatiently waiting for the library to send me the last installment!) so I decided to go ahead and start this brand new series from Savage in the meantime
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-collection
Can't wait for the sequel!

I heard this book being described as steam-punk/dystopian, and immediately got in the line to get a paperback copy (signed arc) at BookCon last month. I've never read anything by Savage before, so I can't compare this to any of his previous works, but Invention was a great introduction.

This story is set in the city of Cove where creativity of any kind is illegal, and revolves around a 13 year old boy named Trenton Coleman. Right off the bat you can tell Trenton is some
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
***4.5 stars***

An underground community committed to stop innovation and creativity is where this book takes place. They left the world above when they felt threatened by pollution, machines, technology, etc.

Trenton is a boy who has mind that can't help think of new ways to make things better. He can calculate math in his head and see's possibilities all around him. An unfortunate incident threatens his creative mind and he is reminded to conform. He discovers a curious object that has technolog
Luke Marks
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Graham Bradley
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I expected to "predict" all the twists and turns in this book, based on A) the jacket description, and B) the pace at which things developed throughout the first act. Then he started throwing in new ideas not hinted at by the marketing description, and that was the right move. I was pleasantly surprised by the actual story, didn't see it coming at all.

I also liked the fact that the story wrapped up, even though it's the first in a series. There's a clear segue into a sequel, but it's not a "firs
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J Scott Savage is the author of 19 novels including the Mysteries of Cove series, the Farworld series, and the Case File 13 series, and the Lost Wonderland Diaries.

He has been writing books for over twenty years. His books have received various recognitions including Junior Library Selection, Starred reviews from PW and Kirkus, Amazon Book of the Month,
Barnes and Noble Select book, and several st

Other books in the series

Mysteries of Cove (3 books)
  • Gears of Revolution (Mysteries of Cove, #2)
  • Embers of Destruction (Mysteries of Cove, #3)

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