I admire Vashti Hardy's writing immensely. Her books are imaginatively daring, vibrant and adventurous - 'The Griffin Gate' is no different. This is a Tardis of a book. A shorter length but still bigger on the inside. Hardy's imagination has no bounds!

Grace is desperate to be a warden of the Griffin Map; a device which enables her family to teleport across Moreland to fight crime. If her brother can do it, then so can she! So when Grace is left alone with the map and a distress call comes in, she jumps at the chance to take the case and prove herself worthy. But the village she lands in is a little bit peculiar and a monster awaits...

As with the 'Brightstorm' books and 'Wildspark', Hardy has a unique ability to teleport the reader into dazzling worlds that feel exciting and fully-realised. In short, simple prose. she does the same here. Moreland could be another continent of the Great Wide found in 'Brightstorm' (in fact, I'm convinced Hardy is going to surprise us in the future and find some way of linking all the worlds in all her books). 'The Griffin Gate' is similarly steampunk, with sentient technology, and plenty of action and adventure. The use of teleportation is a great device to catapult the story on, keeping us on our toes and keeping us reading. Grace is a wonderful character too - if you love Arthur and Maudie from 'Brightstorm' then you'll immediately be captivated by Grace as well. Natalie Smillie's illustrations are absolutely terrific too  - a perfect pairing with Hardy's text.


'The Griffin Gate' is little book that packs a big punch! Barrington Stoke really set the bar for short, accessible books for children for all ages and this is another fabulous example! I look forward to more adventures with Grace in the future. Please!


© 2020 by Chris So 

© 2021 by Chris Soul