The Ship of Doom by M.A. Bennett
Published By: Welbeck Children’s Books
Released: 3rd March 2022
Rating: 4 ★
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Greenwich, London, 15th February 1894.
Luna thinks that an evening at her aunt’s butterfly club sounds deathly boring.
But it turns out that the meeting, held in the Butterfly Room at the Greenwich Observatory, is not at all as Luna expects. The Butterfly Club is a society with an unusual secret . . . they use time travel to plunder the future for wonders.
Together with her friends, Konstantin and Aidan, and a clockwork cuckoo, Luna boards the Time Train. The gang travel to 1912 and find themselves aboard a great ship travelling from Southampton to New York. They locate a man called Guglielmo Marconi and his new invention: the wireless radio. But as the ship heads into icy waters, they discover its name:
The RMS TITANIC
Can Luna and the boys save Marconi and his invention from the doomed ship?
Can they get the radio back home to the Butterfly Club?
And how will their actions change the rest of time?
After being invited to a meeting of her aunt’s butterfly club, Luna thinks it’s going to be boring and she could think of other places she’d rather be. However, her mind is changed when she finds out the Butterfly Club is a society with a hidden secret, they use time travel to pillage the future of wonders, including inventions. Soon after this discovery, Luna along with friends Konstantin and Aidan find themselves on the time train, travelling to 1912 to find a new invention – the wireless radio invented by a man called Guglielmo Marconi. As the ships travels further into icy waters, the group discover the ships name – The RMS Titanic. Soon, Luna and the boys are stuck trying to answer three questions; can they save Marconi and his invention? Can they get the radio back home to the Butterfly Club and will their actions ultimately affect the rest of time?
I have loved M.A. Bennetts YA novels , so, when I heard she was writing a Middle Grade series, I ultimately knew I had to get my hands on the first book – The Ship of Doom. I went into this book with high expectations, and well it certainly lived up those. It was a unique, gripping read that was packed full of adventure, all within a historical moment that we all know well.
We follow Luna, Konstantin and Aidan as they learn about the secretive Butterfly Club and travel forward to 1912 to try and find a new invention – the wireless radio invented by Guglielmo Marconi. The group soon discover that they are on board the fated RMS Titanic and must battle with several questions, including how they are going to save the invention and it’s inventor and how their actions will affect the rest of time. I found the notion of time travel in this book to be such an endearing concept and one that piped my interest from the very first chapter. The fact that the group could only travel forward in time was also rather intriguing, and got me thinking what if? What if they did go back? What would happen then? Would time be altered? It’s a fascinating thing to think about for sure. I, for one, haven’t read many books featuring time travel especially in middle grade fiction so this was distinctive concept to focus on, and one that kept me absorbed til the very end.
The story mainly takes place on the Titanic, and although we all not what happened to the fated ship, it’s still refreshing to see the events played out differently through fiction. In The Ship of Doom we see our three protagonists going on it now knowing what’s going to happen. We see them battle to save the ship and it’s passengers all whilst trying to find and take an invention that will change the world. As the events unfold in the book, I felt all sorts of feelings, a few being excitement, fear, dread and hope. Fear and dread, as I knew what was going to ultimately happen and excitement and hope for our heroes and their determination and grit to do what’s right. The plot also takes quite an unexpected turn towards the middle of the book, and I’ll admit this did shock me. After this, I was literally on the edge of my seat, heart racing, as I desperately read on, wanting to know what was going to happen. The adventure that was packed into the book was next to none, as you can tell from my reaction.
Our three protagonists were all incredibly different from one another, but all gelled well and the bond they created was rather moving at times. We had Luna, who had no idea about The Butterfly Club but almost instantly became a part of it, we had Konstantin, who after being sheltered bis whole life, longed for adventure and we had Aidan, who knew about the club and was willing to risk it all. Despite not knowing each other long, they built up an amazing rapport and became determined to work together and save each other if the matter arose. We also find something out about one of the trio further into the book, and this was just discussed amongst them, but I do hope its explored in the sequel.
The Ship of Doom was a unique read with an intriguing concept. It was packed full of excitement, adventure and thrills which had my heart racing. This was an incredible start to a new series, which I know for sure I will be continuing. Bring on book two.