Larklight by Philip Reeve
Review by Dash Cooray
‘It was just another normal morning in space,’ aboard the floating house aptly named Larklight, orbiting good, old earth like your nosy, next door neighbour. It was also normal that the gravity generator within the house was malfunctioning for the umpteenth time and Arthur Mumby, our narrator with plenty of wit and bucketloads of resourcefulness is having a nice, long argument with his world-weary, older sister Myrtle, who is just trying to practice ‘Birdsong at Eventide’ on the pianoforte for crying out loud, so will everyone just back off!
Art and Myrtle live on this floating house which has no top and no bottom with their absent-minded father. The house, although falling to pieces, is a treasured memory left behind of their beloved mother. Then suddenly the news of a visitor goes sour when it turns out that this Mr. Webster is not here just for a cup of tea. Soon the siblings are flung on a swashbuckling space adventure that takes them to the Moon, the abandoned colonies of Venus, the red plains of Mars and grand opening of the Crystal Palace at Hyde Park. Art and his sister realize that it is up to them to save each other and the known Universe from Dire Peril and along the way, learn important secrets about the world they live in and about themselves.
The best part of this classical adventure would undoubtedly be the crew and captain of the Pirate ship Sophronia. A motley crew of endearing proportions, hailing from all over the galaxy; loyal fighters, every man jack.
I particularly enjoyed the interwoven tale of Jack Havock and how his childhood – and ultimately, destiny – entwines with that of the Mumby siblings giving depth, character and a damn, good story to tell. Philip Reeve conjures up an assortment of steampunk inventions, my favorite of which are the hoverhogs who are technically pigs that clean the air by taking it in and… well… letting it out! There’s even a clever illustration by David Wyatt incase the subtlety eludes you!
Which, brings me to the amazing Mr. Wyatt; illustrator extraordinaire. The whole book is cleverly written around some of the most detailed and priceless illustrations I have seen and makes reading it an absolute pleasure. It’s a fantastic book and should be read together with the other two in the trilogy; Starcross and Mothstorm, the third book, which I have yet to get my hands on and I guarantee that you will not regret it!
You can also read my review of Starcross here at Fantasy Book Review.
What did you think about Larklight?
Submit your own reader review and award the book the rating you think it deserves.