Juniper Mae: Knight of Tykotech City
Flying Eye Books
Juniper Mae, a young inventor, lives in Tykotech City, a wonderful place on account of its residents having their energy sourced from within by The Core, so that they have no need to venture into the deep dangerous forest surrounding the city to obtain resources. Now though unexplained problems with The Core have started causing power cuts.
One night when out testing her latest invention, the Juni Jet, (a high velocity jetpack with miniaturised hyperdrive), The Core’s power cuts out causing Juniper to crash land in the forest. Hearing a sound, she fears it heralds the approach of one of the terrible beasts the city folk talk of, but instead what appears is a tiny creature – a tama-tama – that looks rather endearing.
The creature introduces himself as Albie, offers his help to guide her home and accompanies Juniper in the hope that she’ll show him the city.
First though, Albie shows her his own village where she notices some unusual plant lights she’s told are sourced from kabbage seeds, and then in his hut, the artefact he’d mentioned that could help her. He also tells Juniper that this object had once belonged to the Guardian Knights, the ancient protectors of both humans and tama-tamas, thus giving both groups a shared antiquity. Albie gives his new friend both the ancient sword and an ancient map and they both go back to Juniper’s home.
Juniper investigates how the kabbage seeds work but just as she’s done so the city is invaded by metal monsters. Are they responsible for the power losses? Juniper is a determined character and with Albie’s assistance, together with the artefact and the newly discovered power source, she sets about saving the city and the forest. Can the spirit of those Guardian Knights supercharge her confidence.
Sarah Soh’s graphic style presentation of Juniper’s world is immediately immersive with its wealth of glowing images and lots of mechanical detail; there’s a gripping fast-paced plot that includes lots of dialogue and leaves readers satisfied with the resolution of one mystery but eager to meet Juniper and Albie again in the two further tales. I love the mix of technology and nature and that the main protagonist is passionate about STEM subjects.