Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Brightstorm - Vashti Hardy

Twins Arthur and Maudie receive word in Lontown that their famous explorer father died in a failed attempt to reach South Polaris. Not only that, but he has been accused of trying to steal fuel from his competitors before he died! The twins don't believe the news, and they answer an ad to help crew a new exploration attempt in the hope of learning the truth and salvaging their family's reputation. As the winged ship Aurora sets sail, the twins must keep their wits about them and prove themselves worthy of the rest of the crew. But will Arthur and Maudie find the answers they seek?

If you're looking for a fast-paced, steampunk-ish, middle-grade adventure story, then look no further. Brightstorm by debut author Vashti Hardy is all that and more. Featuring twins Arthur and Maudie, grieving for their father who has been accused of a crime he didn't commit and evicted from their family home,  who join Harriet Culpepper and her crew on the sky-ship Aurora, heading for South Polaris, from whence nobody has ever successfully returned to civilization before.

Desperate to clear their father's name Arthur and Maudie decide to join a new expedition heading to the last place he was seen alive, on an unknown sky-ship that has been ridiculed by the Geographical Society. Maudie is ecstatic, she has always loved all thing engineering and mechanical (including the iron arm she made for Arthur) but Arthur is quieter, more sensitive, a bookworm and just about the only male character who features prominently. The captain of the Aurora is Harriet Culpepper, aided and abetted by Felicity Wiggety and Welby, her butler. Harriet is like Maudie, highly inventive, and where other ships might fail to reach South Polaris, Harriet has devised a new type of engine, one which might mean they are the first crew to discover the unknown reaches of South Polaris.

Vashti Hardy has created a stunning new world, one which is easy to get lost in, and one in which I would love to join them on an expedition. There are whales and kings, sapient animals (Parthena, the Brightstorm's white hawk, and Queenie, Harriet's cat) which are no doubt a nod to Philip Pullman and his daemons. There are talking wolves (my favorites) and bandits, and villains trying to stop them reaching South Polaris by any way necessary. The writing is a sheer delight to read and for a debut novel was almost perfection, Brightstorm is going on to the 'keeper's' shelf and I can't wait for the eight-year-olds to read it. The books itself is gorgeous with a foldout flap featuring the map of the Great Wide and the cog & compass illustrations at the start of each chapter are a wonderful addition.

Brightstorm is a fresh, amazing debut about friendship and family, and I can't wait to read more, whether it's more adventures with Arthur, Maudie and the rest of the crew or something completely different. Huge thanks to Scholastic for sending me a copy of the book and inviting me to take part in the blog tour! If you want to read more reviews, guest posts and interviews with Vashti, then do check out all the blogs taking part.

Brightstorm - Vashti Hardy
ISBN - 9781407181707
Publisher - Scholastic
Release date - March 1st, 2018

About The Author

Vashti Hardy lives near Brighton and was a primary school teacher before moving into digital marketing. She is an alumni member and buddy at the Golden Egg Academy. Brightstorm is her debut novel published by Scholastic.

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