‘Brightstorm,’ by Vashti Hardy, cover by George Ermos.

I have been lucky enough to read a flotilla of amazing adventure stories crafted by debut authors over the past few months. I think we’re currently in the midst of a period of absolutely fantastic children’s novels and the breath-taking  ‘Brightstorm’ is one which really stood out.

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When twins, Arthur and Maudie, are told the news that their explorer father has died in his efforts to reach South Polaris before any other expedition, they refuse to believe. Their disbelief is compounded when they’re informed that before he died, he had tried to steal fuel from a rival airship crew. As well as discrediting the family name, this also means that the twins are not entitled to any of the insurance money and are forced to fend for themselves in the depths of The Slumps.

Determined to clear their father’s name, one-armed Arthur and mechanically-minded Maudie set out to win their way onto an airship crew and search for clues as to what really happened. But there are some people who don’t want the twins to discover the truth, and will go to any lengths to stop them….

I fell headfirst into the vividly imagined world of Lontown, The Citadel and South Polaris.  Vashti has created a world to get lost in, to imagine yourself exploring and to fall in love with.  The map featured inside the front cover will help you chart your journey across The Great Wide.

I loved the central themes of family and hope which run throughout the story, embodied by the relationship between Maudie and Arthur as they set out to clear their father’s name. Their belief in his innocence in the face of seemingly damning evidence is unshakeable.

Something else I enjoyed was the fact that the main characters were women – good, bad, old and young.  Feisty, bright, independently-minded women with inventors’ brains and mechanics’ hands. Characters to inspire a new generation of aviators and engineers!

I also want an explorer’s tattoo. But which  family would I belong to? The bold Acquafreedas? The inventive Culpeppers?

Library Girl.

*Many thanks to Scholastic for sending me this title to review*

 

 

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