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'Brightstorm' is a brilliant blockbuster of a book! I absolutely loved it. Adventurous, addictive, exhilarating and delightful, this is Middle Grade fiction at its finest. 

Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm recieve devastating news: their father has died in mysterious circumstances on an expedition to the South Polaris. Not only that, but he has also been accused of stealing - his reputation in tatters. Determined to prove their father's innocence and discover the truth, Arthur and Maudie set off to the South Polaris themselves with the fabulous crew of the sky-ship Aurora. But danger and disaster awaits...

I've heard a lot about how wonderful 'Brightstorm' is after it was published in 2018. The hype is completely justified. This is immensely enjoyable from the first page. Vashti Hardy has an incredible imagination, and like 'Wildspark', 'Brightstorm' is panoramic, vivid and bristling with electric detail.

 

Arthur and Maudie are two of my favourite characters in children's fiction. The stakes are high for them and Hardy renders the twins with warmth, charm and spark.  I love that Maudie is the engineer and Arthur the ship's cook - what great role models! But it's also the rest of the crew that are a joy to read and follow on the adventure. There are many dramatic moments, twists and turns that the story feels (and I must use a cliched word here) epic and cinematic in scope. From Lontown to the Second Continent to the South Polaris; from sky to sea and snow to under mountains, 'Brightstorm' is a fabulous adventure to enchant children for a long time to come!

In January I am starting at the Golden Egg Academy in Lontown  (Hardy being a recent graduate). 'Brightstorm' is surely the exemplar of how to write MG fiction to the highest possible standard  - one to be revered (this as well as 'The Apprentice Witch' and 'Beetle Boy' of course!) This must be the most golden of the golden eggs to hatch! I can't wait for this sequel, 'Darkwhispers'! Shhhhh...

https://www.waterstones.com/book/brightstorm-a-sky-ship-adventure/vashti-hardy/9781407181707