Wren lives in a dying world. A world that is part of a mechanical solar system, created long ago, and now its inner clockwork is slowing down. That system is now dying, and it is up to Wren and some companions to make her way through the inner workings of the solar system to find the disparate “keys” that will connect to rewind the clock and save the Sun, and all of the worlds that are revolving around it.
Brass Sun (Wheels of the World) is an intriguing ride as a graphic story, immersing you fully into an imagined world in which a Blind Watchmaker acted as a sort of God to create the mechanical solar system, and then divvied out the keys to different planets so that they would have to work together in times of crisis. It didn’t work. Instead of seeing each other as partners, they went to war with each other, trying to be the planet that would have the upper hand with the most “keys.”
Part steampunk, part sci-fi, part tech adventure, Brass Sun centers on Wren, who is sent on her mission by her grandfather just before he is captured and killed by a government suspicious of his activities (which run counter to the political, religious narrative of the time). There are lots of complicated smaller stories unfolding in Brass Sun, and writer Ian Edgington never lets you forget that this is a strange world he has imagined. The art by I. N. J. Culbard is wonderful and engaging, particularly in the oversized book that I got from my public library.
This book is part of a larger series apparently (since the story does not resolve at the end of the version I read). It would be appropriate for any middle and high school classroom and would surely engage those young readers who enjoy the concept of alternative world building. Wren, as a protagonist, is a strong female character.
Peace (in the worlds beyond worlds),