Brightstorm
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?

Brightstorm Details

TitleBrightstorm
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 1st, 2018
PublisherScholastic
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fiction, Adventure

Brightstorm Review

  • Kerry Mintern
    January 1, 1970
    A storming adventure that’s full of heart. I loved it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ A storming adventure that’s full of heart. I loved it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Lily
    January 1, 1970
    What good fun! I read Brightstorm in just one day, which is pretty rare for me. It's the first book I read for the #primaryschoolbookclub on twitter. It's engaging right from the start and takes you straight into the plot and the intriguing world of the characters. Twins, Arthur and Maudie, are told that their father, a famous explorer, has died attempting to be the first to reach the South Polaris, but also must live with the knowledge that he cheated and stole fuel from another competitor's sh What good fun! I read Brightstorm in just one day, which is pretty rare for me. It's the first book I read for the #primaryschoolbookclub on twitter. It's engaging right from the start and takes you straight into the plot and the intriguing world of the characters. Twins, Arthur and Maudie, are told that their father, a famous explorer, has died attempting to be the first to reach the South Polaris, but also must live with the knowledge that he cheated and stole fuel from another competitor's ship, shaming their family's name. Having lost everything and determined to find out the truth, the twins join a second expedition to be the first to reach the South Polaris, determined to either find out the truth of what happened to their father or to reach the South Polaris first and restore some honour to their family.What follows is a fun and fast-paced adventure reminiscent of a mix of Around the World in 80 Days and Lara Croft (if she was a kid), with mysteries to solve, a race to win, magical beasts, a steampunky world, and personal challenges to face. This is a very well-paced book, with plenty of action and high-stakes, as well as lovely personal and tender moments and introspection. I also loved how Hardy handled Arthur's feelings about his disability and how he overcame his anxieties around it. The writing is engaging throughout, with lots of humour and quirks, fun dialogue, and a style that felt close to Arthur but with enough distance to also give it an old-fashioned adventure style. The characters were great fun too -- I especially enjoyed Harriet, the sky-ship's captain, and the ship's ever-hilarious cook.The only things that dropped this book down a star for me was that I'd hoped to see more of the crew (especially the botanist and the meteorologist!) as they hardly featured at all considering how long the twins were travelling with them and how fascinating their professions. There were also a few scenes I'd have liked to have seen fleshed out more, especially towards the end of the book, as they felt too rushed. But overall, it's a lovely warm-hearted book (despite all the snow and ice) with engaging and interesting characters, a strong writing voice, and the possible promise of more Brightstorm stories to come? Oh and just look at that gorgeous cover! It's even better in physical with its gold foiling and French flaps.
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  • Sinéad O'Hart
    January 1, 1970
    This marvellous book sucked me right into its world from the very first page, and I couldn't leave it out of my hand until I'd finished it. I loved the characters - child, adult, and animal alike! - and every one of them could have their own book, such is the skill with which they are presented. As well as the excellent, pacy plotting and the fantastically well-rounded characters, this book is so beautifully written that it left me aglow with admiration. I loved clever, mechanically-minded Maudi This marvellous book sucked me right into its world from the very first page, and I couldn't leave it out of my hand until I'd finished it. I loved the characters - child, adult, and animal alike! - and every one of them could have their own book, such is the skill with which they are presented. As well as the excellent, pacy plotting and the fantastically well-rounded characters, this book is so beautifully written that it left me aglow with admiration. I loved clever, mechanically-minded Maudie, sensitive and intuitive Arthur, unflappable explorer Harriet Culpepper and the entire world of machines, technology, inventions and pure magic (including the amazing thought-wolves) that Vashti Hardy has created. Brightstorm has quickly become one of my all-time favourites, and it's one I'll read again with great joy.Arthur and Maudie, the Brightstorm twins, must fight to clear their family name after their father goes missing on an expedition to South Polaris - but is there more to his fate than meets the eye?
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  • Anthony Burt
    January 1, 1970
    This is a totally absorbing, no-holds-barred magical adventure by Vashti Hardy! If you’ve ever dreamed of soaring through the skies in your own sky ship, then you must must must read Brightstorm as it is fantastic, thrilling fun.Following the disappearance of their father, Arthur and Maudie, two wonderful characters, are both traumatically ‘taken into care’ in a horrible, scummy part of Lontown (where they live). They are treated like slaves by the Begginses (my precioouussss) and – whilst readi This is a totally absorbing, no-holds-barred magical adventure by Vashti Hardy! If you’ve ever dreamed of soaring through the skies in your own sky ship, then you must must must read Brightstorm as it is fantastic, thrilling fun.Following the disappearance of their father, Arthur and Maudie, two wonderful characters, are both traumatically ‘taken into care’ in a horrible, scummy part of Lontown (where they live). They are treated like slaves by the Begginses (my precioouussss) and – whilst reading this part of the book – I felt very sorry for Arthur and Maudie and was desperate for them to escape. There are elements of Oliver Twist to this story, and it pulls at your heartstrings…it’s told that well.Thankfully, the children befriend uber-cool explorer Harriet Culpepper who is setting out on a competitive, world-crossing trip to discover the South Polaris – so the children join her crew to hunt for the truth about their dad.Villainous – or rather Villainess – explorer Eudora Vane is in her skyship Victorious and will stop at nothing to bring Arthur and Maudie’s adventures to an end. So, with secrets abound at every corner, wild and tense drama in frozen forests, and a prose that skips along to keep you reading, Brightstorm is a must-read for all would-be steampunk adventurers!
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  • Artemissia Gold
    January 1, 1970
    Une excellente surprise que ce roman jeunesse qui se lit tout seul. On prend vite partie pour les jumeaux qui perdent tout du jour au lendemain. On a envie de les suivre dans leurs aventures. Une épopée pleine de mystère et de magie qui les feront traverser des endroits extraordinaire et rencontrer un panel de personnages aussi attachants qu'inoubliables. Une quête de soi également où les jumeaux vont se dépasser pour donner le meilleur d'eux-même et découvrir des secrets sur leur famille. J'ai Une excellente surprise que ce roman jeunesse qui se lit tout seul. On prend vite partie pour les jumeaux qui perdent tout du jour au lendemain. On a envie de les suivre dans leurs aventures. Une épopée pleine de mystère et de magie qui les feront traverser des endroits extraordinaire et rencontrer un panel de personnages aussi attachants qu'inoubliables. Une quête de soi également où les jumeaux vont se dépasser pour donner le meilleur d'eux-même et découvrir des secrets sur leur famille. J'ai adoré ce roman aux allures des récits de Jules Verne, que j'ai lu d'une traite. J'aime retomber en enfance avec ce genre de récit entraînant et merveilleux !
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  • Peter
    January 1, 1970
    A great fun younger mg steampunk adventure. Fast paced and filled with broad, bubbly characters and bright, colourful world building, with lots of different sights to see. The friendly and enjoyable writing style evoked the feel and tone of Aardman’s pirates, or a classic kids anime-manga adventure series.
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  • Steph
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliant adventure, filled with friends, siblings and an evil villain. I absolutely adored this fast paced adventure. There’s some brilliant animal friends who help out too! Kids being brilliant and determined? Best kind of stories!
  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    The loveliest book I've read recently <3 Recommended for both children and adults who love fantasy and adventure. It has a vibe of Jules Verne and Lemony Snicket
  • B.B. Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    If you loved Northern Lights, then you need to read this, new worlds, exciting adventures and a story that leaves you turn page to page until you get to the end. I want to go and visit the three continents in a Sky ship and visit the thought wolves too!
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  • Laura Noakes
    January 1, 1970
    A sparking-ly good MG debut that feels like A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS meets COGHEART.
  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    Take a winged ship, a missing father and a great injustice. Add in twins Arthur and Maudie and a range of other compelling characters, both good and bad, and you have the recipe for an exciting adventure. Top that off with quicksand, wolves, caves and tunnels and you have Brightstorm. Awesome. Read it.
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  • Scott Evans (MrEPrimary)
    January 1, 1970
    ‘A scintillating, spectacular, spirited and special debut – the right kind of adventure… one that’s really going to go down a (Bright)storm!’ Batten down the hatches, start the propellers, look out through your binoscopes and soar! As we board sky-ships Aurora, Victorious, Fire-Bird and Fontaine in a race to explore The Wide from the First Continent across the Second and Third and onwards to the vast and uncharted territory of South Polaris for an absorbing, atmospheric adventure that will not ‘A scintillating, spectacular, spirited and special debut – the right kind of adventure… one that’s really going to go down a (Bright)storm!’ Batten down the hatches, start the propellers, look out through your binoscopes and soar! As we board sky-ships Aurora, Victorious, Fire-Bird and Fontaine in a race to explore The Wide from the First Continent across the Second and Third and onwards to the vast and uncharted territory of South Polaris for an absorbing, atmospheric adventure that will not only take you to the frozen south with magical lands and continents anew; but take your breath away and also take the world by storm.We first meet twin protagonists, Maudie and Arthur excitedly scaling the rooftops of Lontown to gaze skywards at the airships whilst longingly missing their father, an intrepid – yet not truly accepted – explorer who’s on his own sky-ship adventure to South Polaris, the furthest known point of existence. The siblings’ close relationship is shown here, even as early as the first chapter, where we discover that Maudie, an impassioned and gutsy engineer, has built a mechanical arm for Arty, her shrewd, book-loving, disabled younger brother, whose ingenuity and resourcefulness shrine through a little later on in the story.Soon after, however, news reaches the twins of their dad’s lack of return and all-abandoned ship, Violetta, and their worlds quickly change. Following an inquest attended by what seems like the whole population of Lontown, we – along with Maudie and Arthur – are led to believe that their father has not only disappeared but has also broken ‘explorer code’ by being accused by a certain someone as… a thief! Something that even for the established families of explorers is deeply reviled within the explorer community, let alone for any new blood to the explorer party. Tarnishing the Brightstorm family name for good and rendering their father’s life insurance invalid, this also leaves Maudie and Arthur home-, guardian- and possession-less.Having been taken in by the beastly, bedraggled Begginses and so seeking their escape from the drudgery of the lives they find themselves living, Maudie and Arthur answer an advert:Individuals WantedFor treacherous journey to South Polaris,Small wages, certain danger,Shared reward and recognition if successful. Well… what are they waiting for? With themselves knowing that this is their one and only chance, Maudie and Arthur don’t just have an amazing adventure to experience by following in their father’s footsteps but more importantly, they have a truth to reveal; their family name’s pride to rightfully restore and a point to prove to Lontown and the world.In any good adventure, you’re going to need a good crew and this is no different in Brightstorm with its cast of strong supporting characters. Steering the good ship, Aurora, at the helm is Captain Harriet Culpepper, a bold, innovative, young commander who leads very much from the front and inspires Maudie, who I think reminds Harriet a lot of herself.But then again, there’s also Eudora Vane (skipper of sky-ship Victorious) who visits Maudie and Arthur at the Begginses to tempt them to join her and her crew not long before take-off. A highly-esteemed explorer known throughout the land of Lontown, who so narrowly missed out on the prize last time around thanks to a particular Mr Ernest Brightstorm…So who will they join… Culpepper? Or Vane?Despite this array of human characters, my favourites (and what I think may end up being yours too!) are in fact the animals that we meet throughout their journey; steadfast, stealthy and sapient in nature. Parthena – the Brightstorms’ hawk – deserves a special mention returning from afar to help navigate them across the plains past the Great Ice Lake, Impassable Mountains and Silent Sea in to (and, thankfully, out of) the Everlasting Forest, where they encounter the at first terrifying, but actually terrific thought-wolves and a more menacing silver insect connected in some strange way to villainess Vane.But do they make it to South Polaris and do they find their father? Dead… or alive?The shimmering, gold-panelled cover and detailed inside-cover map really add to the world-building in this adventure bringing it all to life. A scintillating, spectacular, spirited and special debut – one that’s really going to go down a (Bright)storm! This book is the right kind of adventure that will leave you no doubt rooting for Maudie and Arthur along the way; is a journey of discovery not least just in the physical sense; and is a gentle reminder that where determination, desire and resilience combine to create a will, then there’s most certainly a way. One that I’ll be recommending every moon-cycle.I found so much to enjoy in Brightstorm because of Vashti’s effortlessly engaging and all-round exciting writing style which made it so that I couldn’t help myself just wanting to join the crew! I’m in! Where do I sign up? Because every crew needs a teacher, right?I’m already hoping that Vashti will be writing plenty more and I’ll be snapping up her sequel to this as quick as she can write it! Chime to write some more! So I ask this:‘I know I’m ready for another adventure.’ What about you, Vashti?
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  • Book-Social
    January 1, 1970
    The Blurb:“Twins Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm receive word in Lontown that their famous explorer father has died in a failed attempt to reach the southernmost point in the world. Not only that, but he has been accused of stealing fuel before he died!The twins don’t believe the news, and they answer an ad to join a new attempt to reach South Polaris. It’s their only hope of learning the truth … and salvaging their family’s reputation.”The book club bunch immediately took to Brightstorm noting th The Blurb:“Twins Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm receive word in Lontown that their famous explorer father has died in a failed attempt to reach the southernmost point in the world. Not only that, but he has been accused of stealing fuel before he died!The twins don’t believe the news, and they answer an ad to join a new attempt to reach South Polaris. It’s their only hope of learning the truth … and salvaging their family’s reputation.”The book club bunch immediately took to Brightstorm noting the line ‘are you ready for an adventure’ – they totally were and their enthusiasm was fabulous to see.Twin protagonists was an unusual twist to the proceedings, making it appealing to both boys and girls. I loved the role reversal – it was Maudi who was going to set the world alight with her engineering skills whilst Artie learnt the ins and outs of baking Marsh Cakes.Hardy didn’t stop there though. As well as role reversals, there were strong females thrown at you from left, right and centre. Harriet Culpepper, the captain and creator of the impressive Aurora. Eurodyce Vane, her competition in the race to South Polaris. Neither of whom would let a broken nail, or an un-darned sock get in the way of victory.I appreciated reading about Artie’s mental and physical struggles with his disability and there was even the very modern inclusion of an egg allergy. It all felt very current and relate-able, despite its Victorian-esque setting.Parental loss was a recurring theme of Brightstorm. Whenever I read the line, ‘the mother died at birth’ I always give a shudder. I get that a motherless child gives a writer a certain freedom. The child can suddenly participate in an adventure without the overprotective presence of the chief homemaker. I also get that sometimes, it’s important to deliver the message ‘we can choose our family’. Yet why so often does this have to mean the real families are absent, or evil? The twins could easily have set sail with their mother as captain of a ship they had built together, but no, she had died sometime ago so off with a stranger they travelled. It just felt a little cliched in an otherwise un-cliched plot.As with a lot of books taking place in an alternative setting, there was a lot of world building. The thought-wolves and sky-ships were simply fabulous, the children loved them. However there was a lot in the first few pages for the children to take in. This, alongside the introduction of characters we didn’t really meet again, left a few of the children initially getting bogged down. This changed when the Aurora took off and we settled on a fixed group of characters and location.If you are a teacher or fellow book clubber, Brightstorm really is a brilliant book for in-class activities. We created our own surnames based on what we had ‘discovered’. We made sky ships and decided upon family emblems. For those seeking ideas check out Hardy’s brilliant website that is chock a block with stuff to do.There was a lot packed into the latter half of the book, which was so good. I was surprised by one or two of the twists and by the sadness that the twins had to face. Hardy dealt with all issues sensitively and despite one book clubber saying she read it ‘with tears in her eyes’, no actual tears were spilled during the reading of Brightstorm.The children loved it, as did I as an adult reader. We awarded it 4 sky-ships out of 5 and are all hoping for a sequel. Any plans Vashti?
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  • Teri B
    January 1, 1970
    This was an interesting read in so far as I was really interested to read this book, but then got into somewhat like a reading slump half way through.I loved the two main characters of this story, Maudie and Arthur Brightstorm, twins, who set out onto an adventure of a lifetime, sailing in a sky ship, looking for their missing father in the farthest possible south. And adventures they get aplenty. Meeting interesting characters, nice ones as well as rather shady ones and quite a few interesting This was an interesting read in so far as I was really interested to read this book, but then got into somewhat like a reading slump half way through.I loved the two main characters of this story, Maudie and Arthur Brightstorm, twins, who set out onto an adventure of a lifetime, sailing in a sky ship, looking for their missing father in the farthest possible south. And adventures they get aplenty. Meeting interesting characters, nice ones as well as rather shady ones and quite a few interesting magical creatures.Maudy is the engineer and mathematical brains of the two, Arthur on the other hand is more of a thinker, dreamer and writer. He was born with only one arm, but Maudie has meanwhile constructed an iron arm for him, that at times is really helpful. Both are very distinct characters. They each have their own preferences and yet know that in a situation of danger or need they can rely on each other 100%. The set up of the magical world we encounter in Brightstorm reminds specially at the beginning strongly of An unfortunate series of events and has also similarities to His Dark Materials. But then Vasthi Hardy builds her own world. Sometimes more convincing, sometimes a little bit less.The wilderness and nature as well as the sky ship the twins travel in is beautifully imagined, as well as the many magical creatures that show up throughout the book.A few times the book links to current themes like preservation, how we use natural resources, how we treat animals. These are the moments, where I felt being taken out of the narrative. It just might be that's because I am an adult reader. Each time this happened, I was wondering what the author intended with weaving this subject into the book as it was not necessary for the main plot. In the end this added up a little bit to feel like the book was trying to serve too many different goals/messages.Also, Arthur's iron arm made me wonder, once he got into the really cold climate of the third continent, how did he survive with this arm always attached to his body? Metal draws in the cold. Where the metal meets the body a cold spot should have developed and made Arthur uneasy at least, but it didn't. The central theme of family, siblings, growing up, living with a disfigurement, changing, looking for answers and finding a new home are well done in this book. Also the friendships that start to build during this epic journey are well done.The book I would say is definitively for younger readers, as the good people are good, and the bad are bad. Also, what I pondered at some time is the names the main characters were given, as they all have rather pretty telling names and are either positively or negatively charged. This creates prejudice that has not been reflected upon in the book itself, in the opposite, it got rather reinforced.What I loved throughout though, is the book cover, the book's title, the twins, and the animal characters in the book. I also loved the ending. It made me smile.
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  • Justine Laismith
    January 1, 1970
    This is a middle grade adventure. Twins Maudie and Arthur set out in a sky-ship to find their missing explorer father. The setting is probably Victorian time, in a world with a First, Second and Third Continent. The first continent looks like the south of England. The second continent seems to be part-Australia and part-middle East. The third continent is, without a doubt, the Antarctic.Even at the start, the book promises great things as the twins quote their father's words of wisdom."Fear kill This is a middle grade adventure. Twins Maudie and Arthur set out in a sky-ship to find their missing explorer father. The setting is probably Victorian time, in a world with a First, Second and Third Continent. The first continent looks like the south of England. The second continent seems to be part-Australia and part-middle East. The third continent is, without a doubt, the Antarctic.Even at the start, the book promises great things as the twins quote their father's words of wisdom."Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.""Don't call it a dream, call it a plan."News of his death came at the start. They lost their inheritance and were heartlessly thrown out of their family home. What an injustice. Straightaway, I rooted for the twins. They are sold off to a couple. The setting is reminiscent of Dickens' stories. In one of those dark days, their intelligent pet bird, who went on the expedition with their father, returned. Pets in this story setting are intelligent. They have a special bond with their owner, and understand human speech perfectly, even though humans are incapable of understanding them back. This reminds me to The Golden Compass. The Thought-Wolves are a brilliant creation.Despite the tragic setting, the author has put in brilliant mentors for the twins. The chef Felicity has a special gift of sixth sense; she gets an uncomfortable tingling in her toes. Any scenes with Felicity give me the warm feeling of being looked after. I love it that they were still able to enjoy honeyed tea and cake despite the harsh conditions. I have been looking for books with female mentors and I am very pleased to find her here. Harriet is a great role model. She designed and made the sky-ship that does not drain natural resources nor pollute the air. She imparts her engineering and navigation knowledge to Maudie, who shows great interest in all things mechanical. Despite her intelligence, Harriet is thoughtful of her crew members. I enjoyed the narratives on the ship and their various expeditions. This book is a mixture of several stories I've come across: Captain Scott, Lieutenant Hornblower, The Golden Compass, Oliver Twist. The author has taken bits from them and come with something of her own. An enjoyable read.
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  • A.J. Avery
    January 1, 1970
    This book in 3 words - Thrilling, friendship, thought-wolves Here are three things I think you need to know about this book:1) This story is jam-packed with high stakes adventure both on the ground and up in the air. Maudie and Arthur have a name to clear and a score to settle.This pacy adventure will keep you up past your bed chime as you race along with the crew of the Aurora in their attempt to reach South Polaris first. With giggles and tears along the way, it's an adventure you won't forget This book in 3 words - Thrilling, friendship, thought-wolves Here are three things I think you need to know about this book:1) This story is jam-packed with high stakes adventure both on the ground and up in the air. Maudie and Arthur have a name to clear and a score to settle.This pacy adventure will keep you up past your bed chime as you race along with the crew of the Aurora in their attempt to reach South Polaris first. With giggles and tears along the way, it's an adventure you won't forget in a hurry.2) Just as an airship is only as good as her crew, (and state of the art green technology engine), so a book is only as good as its characters - and Brightstorm has a worthy and efficient crew. You'll be rooting for the Brightstorm twins from the first page. With a cast of excellent supporting characters - Captain Harriett Culpepper is now my ultimate sky piloting hero! And, with a baddie that will have you itching to man a hunting party full of Sapient thought-wolves, you'll love getting to know what will no doubt become iconic kidlit characters.3) The landscape of this book is epic! From the dirt-strewn streets of Lontown to the pristine snow filled lands of the Third Continent, each place the Aurora encounters will have you wishing for your own airship. The descriptions of the three continents are real and vivid; you'll be slipping on your sunnies for the Second Continent and shivering in your base layers by the time you reach South Polaris in the third. Brightstorm is a glorious adventure that will see you heading straight to the nearest tattoo parlour for your explorer's mark before packing up your airship and making wind for the third continent.I'm off to get my Brightstorm Moth Tattoo tomorrow - thought-wolves, here I come! Thank you to Vashti Hardy and Scholastics for supplying me with an ARC for Brightstorm and getting my 2018 reading off to a brilliant start!
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  • Maia Moore
    January 1, 1970
    Original review posted here* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *This was a fantastic middle-grade story, jam-packed full of action and adventure, family and friends and flying machines!When Arthur and Maudie’s father is reported dead on a mission, after supposedly stealing fuel from another explorer, they set out to complete his mission and clear his name.I loved the pace of this story. So much happened in such a short space of time: it moved quickly from one Original review posted here* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *This was a fantastic middle-grade story, jam-packed full of action and adventure, family and friends and flying machines!When Arthur and Maudie’s father is reported dead on a mission, after supposedly stealing fuel from another explorer, they set out to complete his mission and clear his name.I loved the pace of this story. So much happened in such a short space of time: it moved quickly from one thing to the next, not lingering too long on anything so even the sad moments aren’t sad for too long.There’s a great host of characters, not least of which are the twins. Arthur is desperate to prove he is useful on the ship, despite having only one arm, and to clear his father’s name, so much so that he sometimes doesn’t think before he acts. I loved how smart and practical Maudie was, and how supportive she was of her brother.Their captain, Harriet Culpepper, is an amazing leader, and there’s a villain that’ll make your toes curl too.I also want to shout out to the amazing cover – it’s so beautiful I could stare at it all day. I’m sure a lot of people will pick it up off the shelves based on its looks alone, and they won’t be disappointed by what’s inside!This is such a fun book with a host of quirky characters and non-stop action and adventure from start to finish. Get this for the young readers in your life and let them join Arthur and Maudie on the adventure of a lifetime!
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  • Sophie Jones
    January 1, 1970
    Brightstorm is a lovely little adventure. In the beginning, I found it very reminiscent of books like 'a series of unfortunate events'. Its very easy to read and I would recommend to ages between 8-14. The book takes you on a huge adventure through a world unknown to you. We chase airships and meet fierce explorers and interesting animals. Even though the book never gets super dark or goes into depth its still a fun adventure which leaves you satisfied as you reach the end. You want to know more Brightstorm is a lovely little adventure. In the beginning, I found it very reminiscent of books like 'a series of unfortunate events'. Its very easy to read and I would recommend to ages between 8-14. The book takes you on a huge adventure through a world unknown to you. We chase airships and meet fierce explorers and interesting animals. Even though the book never gets super dark or goes into depth its still a fun adventure which leaves you satisfied as you reach the end. You want to know more about the lore.I can see many more of these books being written as the possibilities are endless especially with how it ends but in the same vein if it were not to continue it wraps up quite nicely.Despite feeling predictable the ending did catch me slightly off guard as I felt like the main characters were in no real danger throughout so when the ending wasn't all rainbows I was a little surprised. It appears the 'unfortunate events' vibe in this book is strong and will continue.Great little adventure with enough twist and turns to keep you engaged. if you like 'a series of unfortunate events' you will like this for sure. It's a bit more upbeat as well so in ways its a bit better.
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  • Eilis O sullivan
    January 1, 1970
    This is actually a really good adventure novel. Each twist in the plot is twisty and shocking, which cannot be said for all children's fiction. The element of sadness and despair that clouds over the beginning of the novel luckily doesn't last by the time they take off in their skyship. Hardy shapes her world rather well and represents a world that feels strange and familiar all at once. The venture into other lands exposes the nasty elements of explorer culture from our world but in a way that This is actually a really good adventure novel. Each twist in the plot is twisty and shocking, which cannot be said for all children's fiction. The element of sadness and despair that clouds over the beginning of the novel luckily doesn't last by the time they take off in their skyship. Hardy shapes her world rather well and represents a world that feels strange and familiar all at once. The venture into other lands exposes the nasty elements of explorer culture from our world but in a way that is understandable to children. At the heart of the story are the Brightstorm twins who's relationship can be very heartwarming at times. Their dynamic and how they complement each other is exactly what is needed in the story. Their adversary against Eudora Vane seems like one that is bound to continue for the rest of the series and it feels a bit like the Bauldelaire Children from A Series of Unfortunate Events constantly battling Count Olaf. It is what you expect and it keeps the plot moving at a good pace. My only problem was how much the story focused on Arthur Brightstorm's voice and what happened to him. It seemed like all the discoveries and accidents had to happen to him, even though an equal amount of danger for Maudie would have made it a little bit more interesting. It seemed a bit too convenient that every time something big happened Arthur was at the centre of it with or without Maudie, while things could happen to her while Arthur was there. Harriet on the other hand just feels like a combination of all those badass women you want to read about and have read about. Overall the fact that she listens to the children and helps them made it all the better to read.
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  • Lilyfae
    January 1, 1970
    Vashti Hardy’s Brightstorm is a fantastical steampunk sky ship adventure with a world and atmosphere reminiscent of a ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ pre-war era of discovery and expedition and the thrill to be the first human to reach or achieve something. There’s echoes of Jules Verne and Phillip Pullman in this wonderful book, I’m just sad it took me so long to get round to reading it!! There is a feel of classic adventure stories and films here with Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm’s fall Vashti Hardy’s Brightstorm is a fantastical steampunk sky ship adventure with a world and atmosphere reminiscent of a ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ pre-war era of discovery and expedition and the thrill to be the first human to reach or achieve something. There’s echoes of Jules Verne and Phillip Pullman in this wonderful book, I’m just sad it took me so long to get round to reading it!! There is a feel of classic adventure stories and films here with Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm’s fall from grandeur after their father is accused of terrible crimes not to mention being sold to a mean couple before escaping to help man the crew of an amazing and ingenious sky ship manned by the frankly awesome Harriet Culpepper who has invented a new fuel method to outwit the competition.The Skyship Aurora is a piece of literary genius, it hits so many points of the imagination; steam punk engineering with the hot air balloon sky ships, swashbuckling adventures just in the air and futuristic environmental thinking switching to a cleaner fuel.
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  • Nichola Grimshaw
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this! The relationship between twins Arthur and Maudie is lovely - they’re two very different characters but they make a third character in combination. I enjoyed:• the machines and engineering (and the *women* who excel at it)• the villains (who are PROPERLY nasty)• the adults who become Arthur and Maudie’s friends and allies without just completely protecting them from the difficult times• the strength of the twins and the control they are given over what happens to them• links with I enjoyed this! The relationship between twins Arthur and Maudie is lovely - they’re two very different characters but they make a third character in combination. I enjoyed:• the machines and engineering (and the *women* who excel at it)• the villains (who are PROPERLY nasty)• the adults who become Arthur and Maudie’s friends and allies without just completely protecting them from the difficult times• the strength of the twins and the control they are given over what happens to them• links with ‘real’ explorers and survivalists and their trials - Vashti Hardy acknowledges her use of Bear Gryll’s TV programmes as reference material and links with Shackleton are clear• the exploration of racism and gender / cultural / class stereotypingThe writing isn’t perhaps as beautiful as I’d like myself, there weren’t any ‘oooooooo....’ moments for me in relation to language use, but the plot and settings and characters are compelling and a sequel is clearly flagged - I’ll be reading it when it comes!
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  • Stephen Connor
    January 1, 1970
    A thrilling, slow-burner adventure that really sets its pace in the second half. Arty and Maudie are twins who are determined to clear the name of their father, who, presumed dead, has been accused of sabotaging another sky-ship’s voyage in order to gain glory for himself. They do this by setting sail with Harriet Culpepper, an ambitious explorer who wants to be the first to reach the South Polaris. Other ships and crews have the same ambition, and one by one they encounter problems. We soon lea A thrilling, slow-burner adventure that really sets its pace in the second half. Arty and Maudie are twins who are determined to clear the name of their father, who, presumed dead, has been accused of sabotaging another sky-ship’s voyage in order to gain glory for himself. They do this by setting sail with Harriet Culpepper, an ambitious explorer who wants to be the first to reach the South Polaris. Other ships and crews have the same ambition, and one by one they encounter problems. We soon learn that the source of these problems is Eudora Vane, another explorer whose dark past soon reveals itself. There are lots of elements of recent classic children’s literature (Cogheart, The Last Wild, Beetle Boy) but Harry’s world and characters stand out on their own, not least Arty, whose disability doesn’t slow down his determination, and Maudie, a superb female engineer. The last few chapters tie everything up beautifully, leaving the twins nicely set up for a sequel.
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  • Amy (Golden Books Girl)
    January 1, 1970
    Vashti Hardy`s debut is so incredibly special, and I can`t wait for everyone to be able to read it. It`s about twins Arthur and Maudie as they set off on a skyship adventure and attempt to clear their dad`s name of stealing fuel from another ship on his last expedition. I absolutely loved the twins, and their relationship with one another, and I thought the secondary characters added to the story marvellously. The thought wolves, especially gentle, noble Tuyok were simply incredible, and more th Vashti Hardy`s debut is so incredibly special, and I can`t wait for everyone to be able to read it. It`s about twins Arthur and Maudie as they set off on a skyship adventure and attempt to clear their dad`s name of stealing fuel from another ship on his last expedition. I absolutely loved the twins, and their relationship with one another, and I thought the secondary characters added to the story marvellously. The thought wolves, especially gentle, noble Tuyok were simply incredible, and more than one part of this book left me breathless and in tears because I fell so hard for this world and these characters. Another addition I liked hugely was that it championed STEM, and I was impressed with it tackling disability, a real rarity in fantasy worlds, with Arthur only having one arm. I guessed a twist or two but I still had quite a few surprises, and after the conclusion I`m already desperate for the sequel. 5/5
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  • Seawood
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of Brightstorm from Toppsta and was very keen to read it - but then it was chosen for #primaryschoolbookclub, so I put off reading it until the end of April. Circumstances then conspired that I wasn't able to read it in time to join in, but my goodness I wish I hadn't put it off! Brightstorm is a fantastic debut and a great addition to the thriving world of middle grade steampunk. It absolutely stands beside Peter Bunzel's Cogheart and Siobhan O'Hart's The Eye of the North as o I received a copy of Brightstorm from Toppsta and was very keen to read it - but then it was chosen for #primaryschoolbookclub, so I put off reading it until the end of April. Circumstances then conspired that I wasn't able to read it in time to join in, but my goodness I wish I hadn't put it off! Brightstorm is a fantastic debut and a great addition to the thriving world of middle grade steampunk. It absolutely stands beside Peter Bunzel's Cogheart and Siobhan O'Hart's The Eye of the North as one of the best of this genre. Arthur and Maudie are immediately likeable characters and the world they live in is lightly drawn initially, but very convincing, tapping into Dickensian imagery before tossing our main characters aboard a wonderous sky-ship in a bid to clear their family name. Don't hesitate - jump into the adventure!
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  • Nicola Alone
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 stars The ending saved this book. Things I liked -The fact that the most of the characters in this story were strong female leads; I loved Harriet and Felicity especially. Harriet needs her own spin off where you hear about her adventures. -The thought wolves- I was actually more concerned about them at one point than any of the other characters! - Some of the messages that came through about family not necessarily always being about who you are related. Things I Disliked- I think the main 3.5/5 stars The ending saved this book. Things I liked -The fact that the most of the characters in this story were strong female leads; I loved Harriet and Felicity especially. Harriet needs her own spin off where you hear about her adventures. -The thought wolves- I was actually more concerned about them at one point than any of the other characters! - Some of the messages that came through about family not necessarily always being about who you are related. Things I Disliked- I think the main problem with this book is that it's marketed as an adventure but is actually more of a mystery.-The book spends 20 chapters building up to all the action before it then happening in the last ten. It is so slow. Very little that happens in the first 2/3 of the book is relevant to actual adventure.
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  • Angela Brown
    January 1, 1970
    Brightstorm is a dashing tale of exploration and adventure. It’s a perfect read for intrepid souls who have known the ache of wanderlust, or for anyone dreaming of a far away adventure. Joining Arthur and Maudie on their quest to reach far wild unexplored lands, the Brightstorm twins are wonderful companions along with their new friends. With their creativity and inventiveness, the journey is always thrilling, particularly as the mode of transport is the most remarkable airship technology you ca Brightstorm is a dashing tale of exploration and adventure. It’s a perfect read for intrepid souls who have known the ache of wanderlust, or for anyone dreaming of a far away adventure. Joining Arthur and Maudie on their quest to reach far wild unexplored lands, the Brightstorm twins are wonderful companions along with their new friends. With their creativity and inventiveness, the journey is always thrilling, particularly as the mode of transport is the most remarkable airship technology you can imagine!With fantastic engineering, the menacing threat of baddies, learning from mistakes, meeting magical wild animals and the awe of wild natural phenomena, Brightstorm is a spellbinding mix of technology, nature and fantasy. I loved this book can’t wait to join The Brightstorm Twins on their next adventure!
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  • James
    January 1, 1970
    Brightstorm is a rip roaring adventure stuffed to the cogs with steampunk charm. This brilliant new book introduces us to an exciting new world full of skyships, sapient creatures, brave explorers and the wickedest nastiest baddie that you will just LOVE to hate! The story gallops along like a full speed skyship taking you for a wild ride to discover new and wonderful lands and charming characters on every page. There are enough twists to keep you guessing, enough shocks to keep you gasping and Brightstorm is a rip roaring adventure stuffed to the cogs with steampunk charm. This brilliant new book introduces us to an exciting new world full of skyships, sapient creatures, brave explorers and the wickedest nastiest baddie that you will just LOVE to hate! The story gallops along like a full speed skyship taking you for a wild ride to discover new and wonderful lands and charming characters on every page. There are enough twists to keep you guessing, enough shocks to keep you gasping and plenty of laughs and even a few moments that will tug at your heartstrings and bring a tear to your eyes! A wonderful adventure!
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  • Paul Stevenson
    January 1, 1970
    My 11yo daughter bought this polished it off very quickly, saying that she enjoyed it, so I took a look, and did exactly the same. I raced through it, keen to know what was going to happen next in this adventure story set in a kind of steampunk alternative Earth. There are hints of Lord of the Rings and especially His Dark Materials, but the story and the feeling evoked is its own.The heroes are a nicely-matched brother and sister who each take equal prominence, along with a supporting cast of a My 11yo daughter bought this polished it off very quickly, saying that she enjoyed it, so I took a look, and did exactly the same. I raced through it, keen to know what was going to happen next in this adventure story set in a kind of steampunk alternative Earth. There are hints of Lord of the Rings and especially His Dark Materials, but the story and the feeling evoked is its own.The heroes are a nicely-matched brother and sister who each take equal prominence, along with a supporting cast of adult goodies and baddies. The story ends with news of what will be the start of the next story, and I know what book to get for my daughter next.
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  • Arianne
    January 1, 1970
    Readers alight in a world of sky-ships and expeditions in this plucky adventure. An eye-catching blue-and-gold cover peels back to reveal a plot with plenty of vigour and an accessible, effective writing style. While it touches on some big themes like loss and letting go, Brightstorm’s cartoonish villains and exciting set-pieces should go down a treat in the hands and classrooms of readers aged 8-11.The full version of this review is up on The Paper Alchemist: https://thepaperalchemist.wordpress Readers alight in a world of sky-ships and expeditions in this plucky adventure. An eye-catching blue-and-gold cover peels back to reveal a plot with plenty of vigour and an accessible, effective writing style. While it touches on some big themes like loss and letting go, Brightstorm’s cartoonish villains and exciting set-pieces should go down a treat in the hands and classrooms of readers aged 8-11.The full version of this review is up on The Paper Alchemist: https://thepaperalchemist.wordpress.c...
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Brightstorm is a fabulous book full of friends, family and adventure. Maud and Arthur are in Lontown waiting for their father to return from his latest expedition to discover South Polaris. But then the unthinkable happens and the twins find their world turned upside down. Now with a band of new friends the pair set off on their own adventure to find their father and clear the Brightstorm name. This story is just really really lovely, yes it's aimed at 8-12 year olds, but I don't care. I whizzed Brightstorm is a fabulous book full of friends, family and adventure. Maud and Arthur are in Lontown waiting for their father to return from his latest expedition to discover South Polaris. But then the unthinkable happens and the twins find their world turned upside down. Now with a band of new friends the pair set off on their own adventure to find their father and clear the Brightstorm name. This story is just really really lovely, yes it's aimed at 8-12 year olds, but I don't care. I whizzed through the book and I can't wait to read book two. It made me want to fly a sky-ship and meet the thought-wolves. 
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