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Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure


Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure Reviews | Toppsta

Book Rating: 5 based on 13
13 Reviews
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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

Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure Reviews | Toppsta

  • ISBN: 9781407181707
  • Pub Date: 1st March 2018
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Imprint: Scholastic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 352

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20th January '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
5 stars
 This breath-taking, thrilling debut totally enchanted me with its rich storytelling, incredible world-building and compelling cast of characters. It opens with the heart-breaking news that twins Arthur and Maudie are left orphans after their father’s failed attempt to reach the South Polaris. Their family name is disgraced as he stands accused of trying to steal fuel from competitor before he died and they are cast out of their home. Determined to prove his innocence they convince Miss Culpepper to allow them to join the crew of her sky-ship ‘Aurora’ as the race to reach the South Polaris begins anew. Not only must they prove themselves worthy explorers to restore the ‘Brightstorm’ reputation, they must use all their wiles to uncover the truth about their father’s ill-fated mission. Will Arthur and Maddie find the evidence they need to prove their father’s innocence?
This is such a joyful, magnificent read, that totally entranced me from the very first page and captivated me till the very last page. The characterisation is just flawless, Vashti has assembled the most interesting and engaging cast of characters. Arthur has to be only one of a handful of disabled MG characters that I have seen featured but Vashti chooses to make his lack of self-belief his weakness and challenge rather than his disability. His bravery comes from drawing on and developing his inner resources not from fighting to overcome any physical limitation he may have in difficult times. I’m fascinated by Maudie’s inquisitive mind and her remarkable ability to understand the workings of mechanics and her wondrous inventive spirit which is capable of designing the most complex creations. We’re then blessed with the sky-ship’s Captain, the eccentric and rather marvellous Harriet Culpepper who is a genius inventor with an incredibly big heart. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better we have the dastardly, deliciously dark Eudora Vane who will stop at nothing to win the race and steal all the glory for herself. She is so cold and calculating she makes Cruella de Vil look positively saintly!
This is an story of truly epic proportions, it will sweep you away through the skies across frozen plains to unknown lands on a voyage of discovery, that will take your breath away. At the heart of this story is the need for courage and bravery in the darkest of times as both Arthur and Maudie face unsurmountable challenges which they must overcome to clear their father’s name. But it is the power of friendship that holds this story together, incredible bonds are forged in the most unexpected of places as they battle to win the race and complete their expedition.  Vashti has created this remarkable, fully imagined world that you want to lose yourself in. An exceptional story, beautifully told I just loved this thrilling adventure. 
13th May '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
5 stars
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!
18th April '18
I read it to Hstar aged 10 aged 10 & to Jemt aged 8 aged 8
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
5 stars
We loved this book the story is beautifully written.  It is a great adventure for both boys and girls.  Following their adventure to find out what happened to their Father on his expedition after they are orphaned.  Meeting lots of great friends and animals along the way.  The author describes this world so well that you can really imagine yourself their in the story.  We hope there are more books in this series.
22nd April '18
I read it to mrbear aged 7 aged 7
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
5 stars
This was a great adventure story full of imagination that my 7 year old and I enjoyed reading together.
17th March '18
I read it myself (an adult) & to Peacehaven Little Library Middle Grade aged 9 to 12
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
5 stars
Fast paced and full of adventure, this is a fantastic tale of exploration, friendship and finding yourself. Wonderful world building and characters that I desperately wanted to be friends with. Stonking stuff. I can’t wait to see what Hardy creates next. Perfect for fans of Cogheart and Philip Reeve.
12th March '18
I read it to LucasChops aged 6 aged 6
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
5 stars
What a super debut this is.  Firstly the cover is just stunning - bright and sparkly and inviting you into the adventure within.  Twins Arty and Maudie have been orphaned - their explorer father never returned from his last expedition.  Even worse he has been discredited and accused of theft and sabotage.  Consequently the twins lose their home too and end up in the slums under the "care" of a pretty unsavoury couple.
When they see an advert for a new expedition and their father's bird, Parentha, returns out of the blue it seems like a sign and they see it as a chance to clear the family name.
What follows is a fabulous adventure involving mind reading wolves, engineering and the ultimate race against time to expose the truth.  A good guys v bad guys tale of the best order.  Loved it and can't wait to read the next instalment!
25th March '18
BeeReaderK read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
5 stars
This was a brilliant book full of adventure and great characters. 
If you liked The Polar Bear Explorer's Club yoully love this. The book has a detailed map at the front that is very helpful. 
7th March '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
5 stars
‘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 Wanted
For 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.  Further to this you can see below, in her ‘Author Q&A’, a picture of Vashti’s impressive and meticulously hand-drawn map of the Continents and how it has evolved and been even further beautifully realised, with thanks to George Ermos’ striking illustrations and creative design at Scholastic.

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? 
19th June '18
I read it myself (an adult) & to Miss Cleveland's Bookshelf aged 8 to 11
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
5 stars
Maudie and Arthur Brightstorm are waiting for their father to return from his latest expedition – a race to South Polaris. When the Violetta fails to return, they learn that not only is their father dead, but he stole fuel before he died, contravening the Explorer’s Code, and leaving them homeless and penniless.
Determined to clear their family name and find out what really happened to their father, they apply to crew on a new airship, captained by Harriet Culpepper. Along with the rest of the crew, Maudie and Arthur are off on a race to find not only South Polaris, but the truth about their father too.
Stunning scenery, eccentric characters and a plot that never lets up combine to create a riveting read that I could not put down. Brightstorm made me laugh, and cry, with the young explorers as their sky-ship carried them from the heat of the Second Continent to the frozen Third Continent, aboard The Aurora with it’s crew that come together like family around the Brightstorm children.
I was utterly enthralled with the world Vashti Hardy created, and it’s inhabitants. Like Arthur, I took an instant shine to Felicity Wiggety, who proves categorically that tea can fix most things. I long for a sapient of my own, and even just a pinch of Maudie’s engineering expertise would be good. I loved the inclusion of STEM and environmental issues that slipped seamlessly into the story.
A dazzling debut! I really hope we get to go on more adventures with Maudie, Arthur and the crew of The Aurora. I’m certain Eudora Vane hasn’t finished with them yet…
Great for fans of Cogheart, Ned’s Circus Of Marvels, The Uncommoners and Sky Chasers.
29th May '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
5 stars
This is a fantastic children's book which ticks so many boxes. The characters are completely endearing and the magical world description is fantastic. A plot which would grip a KS2 class. Cannot wait to read more from this author.
26th March '18
I read it to Rory aged 10 aged 10 & to Addie aged 7 aged 7
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
5 stars
We loved it! This story was full of description and we could picture the world and the characters so easily. It is an adventure story with lots of twists and turns. Our favourite characters were of course the twins 
14th March '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
4 stars
I've just started reading this book and so far it is great and captivating. It is basically a story about twins setting out to find the truth about their father. The characters seem fantastic and I am enjoying the believable otherworld setting. Big thumps up!
14th March '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure 9781407181707
4 stars
This is a nice debut novel. It follows the story of twins Arthur and Maudie, who  receive word that their famous explorer father has died in a failed attempt to reach South Polaris. As they set off to discover the truth, they end up learning about themselves. The cover is amazing - certainly earns its place on the book shelf!! The plot, characters and theme are great. 
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