Friday 24 January 2020

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 24th January 2020: "Darkwhispers: A Brightstorm Adventure" by Vashti Hardy (Scholastic)

Vashti once again makes our Chapter Book of the Week slot her very own with another delicious slice of sky-ship-soaring adventure, sizzling with steampunky goodness.

"Darkwhispers" follows in from "Brightstorm" and plays in the same gorgeously inventive book universe, this time pitching the Twins and Eudora Vane into a desperate search for missing adventurer Ermitage Wrigglesworth (god, how we love Vashti's names for characters!)

Harriet Culpepper and the crew of the skyship Aurora head for the Eastern Isles, on the dwindling trail of Ermitage's last know whereabouts. Arthur and Maudie aren't entirely sure that Eudora's motives are good, in fact as their desperate quest unfolds, the lines between allies and enemies become more and more blurred.

When disaster strikes and the twins are separated, will they ever find their way back to each other, and eventually track down the missing explorer?

From the moment you dig into the first chapter, you're there - you're in Vashti's absolutely incredibly detailed and beautifully imagined bookworld as Arthur and Maudie dig into their own inner strengths, building on their adventuresome escapades in Brightstorm. The thrumming jungle setting almost makes you hear distant drums, the sinister swish of vines, the buzz of insects and the suffocating heat as the story begins to clamp its addictive talons around your senses - and if you're anything like us, you'll be diving in for a second read as soon as you turn over the last page.

Many comparisons have been made between Vashti's work and the work of Phillip Pullman, but for our money she writes with far more enticing immediacy and a ton more humour (Pullman is dreadfully serious and morose most of the time, sorry Phil) as each amazing moment of action segues perfectly with the next, and we get to know a lot more about the adventurous twins and the mysterious Eudora Vane - a sizzlingly good baddie if ever we've read one.

As my daughter said after her first run through this one,  "you can tell the author's having a lot of fun writing these stories".

I really couldn't have put it better myself.

Utterly brilliant stuff. If you're looking for your next addiction after polishing off stuff like His Dark Materials, or fancy digging into a brilliant avianautic adventure series, pick this up, it's truly stunning stuff!

"Darkwhispers: A Brightstorm Adventure" by Vashti Hardy is out now, published by Scholastic (kindly supplied for review).