Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy

Brightstorm book cover
Rating 8.8/10
A wonderfully paced, absorbing read that delivers a special feeling of adventure reserved for stories that you just cannot put down.

Brightstorm is a wonderfully paced, absorbing read that delivers a special feeling of adventure reserved for stories that you just cannot put down. The story focuses on twin siblings who are searching for answers about their missing father, a famous lost explorer who went down with his airship under mysterious circumstances. After losing their only living parent, the twins find themselves in dire straits and soon find themselves destitute. But their ingenuity, intelligence, and determination land them on a new airship in the midst of a global race to explore a new and dangerous land, and possibly find out the fate of their father along the way. But there are hidden forces willing to try anything to stop them.

When I requested a galley of this book, I didn’t realize it was targeting a middle-grade audience. Nevertheless, I’m very glad I put my preconceptions aside and took a chance on it, as I devoured it in two sessions. (It would have been one, but that nuisance called sleep reared its ugly head.)

If I were to compare this book to a film, I would recall some PG-rated classics such as ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’ or ‘The Princess Bride,’ fantasy films that both children and adults could adore. I can picture myself reading this in middle school and becoming one of my favorites. Brightstorm would be an excellent birthday present to a niece or nephew, or just to read to your kids at night. If not just for yourself, of course.

It appears that this book is only currently available in the UK and the reviews for it are sky high. I assume it will be released in the US and worldwide soon enough, and I would not be surprised to see it in the cineplex soon after. It really is a wonderful story: colorful, well-rounded characters; imaginative steampunk contraptions; unique creatures and their bonds with humans; a surprising depth to its world-building; enough table-setting for many more adventures to come. Vashti Hardy has crafted something special with this series. I never thought I’d be looking forward to a middle-grade sequel, but life is full of surprises. See you in February 2020 for book two.

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