Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: November 8th, 2016
Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Jack Buckles is great at finding things. Not just a missing glove or the other sock, but things normal people have long since given up ever seeing again. If only he could find his father, who has disappeared in London without a trace.
But Jack’s father was not who he claimed to be. It turns out that he was a member of a secret society of detectives that has served the Crown for centuries–and membership into the Lost Property Office is Jack’s inheritance.
Now the only way Jack will ever see his father again is if he finds what the nefarious Clockmaker is after: the Ember, which holds a secret that has been kept since the Great Fire of London. Will Jack be able to find the Ember and save his father, or will his talent for finding things fall short?
The Lost Property Office is an intriguing mash-up of fantasy, steampunk, and history with even a little Sherlock and Watson thrown in, and for the most part it’s a winning formula. 13- year-old Jack is an ordinary teen thrust into extraordinary circumstances. He’s a reluctant hero who is dragged into this quest by the overly enthusiastic Gwen and the villainous Clockmaker. All Jack really wants is his dad back. Instead he finds himself over his head with family secrets, a mysterious society of detectives and a gift that he neither understands nor wants. But following in the footsteps of other reluctant heroes, Jack rises to the occasion with help from the persistent Gwen. They’re such an appealing team and the dialogue between is clever and humorous. I wish some of the secondary characters had been developed a bit more, in particular Jack’s younger sister, Sally, who seems to have a mysterious gift of her own. I have a feeling though she’ll be playing a larger part in subsequent books. There’s a lot of history mixed in here about the Great Fire of London which I found fascinating, but I think it might slow the pace down a little for younger readers. The world-building though is wonderfully written especially in regards to the Buckle family’s history with the Lost Property Office. Overall, this is a solid middle-grade adventure that I think will appeal to a wide audience. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the author takes this series next.