Jack Mason... Wonderful Steampunk Middle Grade

The Lost Sword A Jack Mason Adventure Book Five
Written by Darrell Pitt
Middle Grade, Adventure, Steam Punk
Published August 26th 2015
256 Pages
Thank you to Text Publishing
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★★★☆
Book One Review
Book Two Review
Book Three & Four Reviews
As the dark clouds of another war loom, Jack, Scarlet and Mr Doyle travel from grimy streets of London to neon-bright metropolis of Tokyo.

They’re on a mission for the British government: to locate the Kusanagi sword, an ancient relic believed to have magical powers. If they can find the sword, the Emperor of Japan promises to keep the peace between his nation and the allies.

But in Tokyo, they soon discover that the Nazis are after the sword, too. And they will stop at nothing for world domination, putting the team’s lives in terrible danger.
Now fifteen years old, Jack Mason has been travelling the world with his mentor and guardian Ignatius Doyle, the famous and eccentric detective who had rescued Jack from the orphanage he was placed in after his parents both passed. Along with his fellow protégé Scarlett, the trio are off to the bustling downtown Tokyo where invention is coming along in leaps and bounds. While investigating a case of a missing ancient sword on behalf of the British government, Mister Doyle is invited to be the keynote speaker at the Darwinists symposium with an international field of experts in innovation. But finding the sword will be no easy task, with the Nazi hunters determined to find the sword and wield it against the world.

With their lives in terrible danger, the Darwinist League on the verge of collapse and an old friend who seems to have his own agenda, this is one mission that even Jack may not be able to complete.

Kelly's Thoughts

I've adored the Jack Mason Adventure series, it's a brilliant middle grade read that blends mystery, steampunk and a touch of humour that preteen and early teens will absolutely adore. Over the course of the series, we've seen the lonely orphan Jack rescued from a children's home and taken in by the eccentric and well travelled detective Doyle. It's there in which Jack meets the illustrious Scarlett Bell, the daughter of an international businessman who the detective has also taken under his wing while her father is away. Their dynamic was lovely, detective Doyle as a father figure to the two teens, readers seeing both Jack and Scarlett grow into well developed and intelligent young adults, now both fifteen years of age. The series is set in a world powered by steam, where the trio travel from their London home around the world solving international crimes. 

A modern day Nancy Drew, Scarlett is an incredible young woman, a voracious reader and advocate for women's rights. I loved her quiet determination. Detective Doyle is incredibly eccentric and charming, giving the impression of incompetence when nothing could be further from the truth. He carries an endless supply of lint covered cheese in his pocket and has a story about a former case for every situation. He's kind and treats the two young protégés as if they were his very own. His character is consistent and added comedic relief that children will really enjoy.

In The Lost Sword, we see both Jack and Scarlett grow as individuals and not unlike Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and The Olympians series, see our two young trainee detectives realise that they have feelings for one another beyond the close friendship the two now have. It was such a lovely storyline to see Jack come to terms with how he felt about Scarlett. The main storyline involving the Darwinist League introduces readers to new inventions beyond those powered by steam. Most were outrageous, like sea transportation inside of a whale which was not only bizarre, but brings to the front line a discussion about animal cruelty, even fictionally. I just couldn't imagine it.

Overall, it felt a little too busy. Too many new inventions and innovations introduced and the storyline of the missing sword was lost within the new world. I loved exploring the brilliantly bright lights of Tokyo during the steam age and the world building once again was brilliant, especially for a middle grade title.

the final verdict

Although not as engaging as previous series releases, The Lost Sword was an innovative finale for the middle grade audience. The series is fantastically written and instills a sense of wonderment and adventure in readers who will adore seeing Jack's character growth. Why hasn't this series been optioned for film or television rights? It would make for the ideal children's series with it's wacky and endearing characters and outlandish adventures.  

I adored it and it's only furthered my love for middle grade.

Kelly is currently reading What We Left Behind by Robin Talley and colouring in like a boss #stayinsidethelines


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18 comments

  1. Oh wow! I didn't know that this was the last book in the series. I thought there were going to be eight books? Ah well, at least I can cross another series off my list after I read this one (it was at the library the other day, and I snatched it up very quickly).

    I'm glad to know that Jack and Scarlet realised their feelings for each other! I have wanted those two to realise that since *I* realised that, way back when. I think they complement each other adorably.

    I am a bit wary since you mentioned animal cruelty, and that is something I am never up for reading about, so thank you for the heads up, lovely.

    It's a shame that it felt a little too busy, but maybe that's because it was originally planned to be a bigger series? Either way, I'm glad you enjoyed it! And I definitely think it would make an awesome kid's show! :D

    Lovely review, Kelly! <3

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    1. I'm pretty sure that it is Chiara, although I could be wrong. I loved that shy and really lovely almost romance. I'm not sure it can be called a romance, but definitely a friends who like one another type scenario. It felt so delicate and really sweet. It's not really animal cruelty in the typical sense, but still worth being prepared for. I just don't like animals used for any purpose in fiction that could be seen as questionable.

      I'm a massive advocate to have this as a weekly kids television series. It would be incredible!

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  2. Great post dear! Have a wonderful weekend:)

    irenethayer.com

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    1. Thanks Irene, you too and thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Great post dear! Have a wonderful weekend:)

    irenethayer.com

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  4. I love that you're reading more of these, Kelly. Goes to show you don't discriminate. :) Keep 'em coming!

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    1. Thanks Joy. I really enjoy middle grade for a change, especially adventure type reads. There's something so incredibly lovely about them and I love how uncompleted and easy to read most of them are. This series especially.

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  5. Sorry you didn't LOVE this one, but thanks for sharing. I hadn't head of this series! It seems like a fun series and I like the sound of the characters too.

    -Lauren

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    1. The characters are brilliant Lauren, and although it felt a little busy I still really enjoyed it. So much so. Even being middle grade, I think even those who want a break from young adult tropes will enjoy this one too.

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  6. Looks like it's a fun series, Kelly.

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    1. It really was Christy and I would love to see parents grab a copy for their primary school and middle grade children.

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  7. It's a shame this wasn't as strong as the previous books in the series, but it still sounds very interesting. I love steampunk and I'm disappointed that there aren't more YA books with the genre. I have to admit though, animal cruelty is one of those things I just have a very hard time even just reading about. :(
    Anyways, I'll have to pick these up for my nephew. I'm trying to get him to read more so maybe the idea of cool gadgets will appeal to him.
    Lovely review, Kelly!

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    1. I think it'll blow him away between the inventions and humour, that's what really drew me into the series, then I fell in love with the characters. I love steampunk too and have only read a small handful. Masque of the Red Death is an incredible read if you're looking for young adult steampunk. Loved that duology.

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  8. I don't know why Kels but I'm not a HUGE fan of MG and it's such a shame because I USED to be, you know? I'm going to add this to my TBR pile and I'll let you know if/when I get to it because I want to have a new love for MG since I'm always so stuck up in YA and NA. Teehee

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    1. I've only recently been getting into more middle grade Keionda, it makes such a nice change from young adult which I haven't been having much luck with lately. I think it all started with Percy Jackson, I just had no idea how brilliantly entertaining middle grade was.

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  9. oh wow, how have I not noticed this series yet. A middle grade steampunk? how exciting, the characters look charming, and there is even development? yes please. Sorry this wasn't the strongest book, thats always a shame since it sounds like it's the last?

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    1. I think it was Lily, but it was still a wonderful read nonetheless. I've really loved the series overall, seeing the characters grow and really form their own unique personalities and opinions even. A fantastic series for the middle grade audience especially.

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  10. Sounds like you're really enjoying the MG reads at the moment which is wonderful! The Steampunk aspects sound fascinating, even though it seemed too messy at times. I do love a close friendship that develops into something more! Awesome review Kelly

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