Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Larklight: a Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space by Philip Reeve, decorated throughout by David Wyatt

What if Isaac Newton had invented space travel and by the mid-1800s space travel and colonizations of the planets in our solar system was commonplace? What if Queen Victoria of England extended the influence of the British Empire around the globe but also to planets like Mars and Jupiter? Author Philip Reeve dares to explore this shocking advancement of space exploration in Larklight!

Art Mumby lives with his father and sister in a very strange house called Larklight. Art's father is a scientist who studies rare varieties of icthyomorphs, which are sort of like fish that swim in the aether of space. The Mumby's receive regular supply ships, as their home, Larklight, it traveling through space on an orbit far past the moon. Art's older sister Myrtle is concerned about the proper ladylike behaviors for a girl of her age, but Art is more concerned with adventure, especially when an unexpected visitor arrives. If huge, invading, and destructive space spiders weren't enough of a challenge, Art and Myrtle soon encounter man-eating-moths and are rescued by space pirates who are running from the Royal Navy (who use space ships to pursue their enemies in the vast aether of space.) If they survive, maybe they can get back to Larklight and save their own father from the giant spiders, who seem to be awfully intelligent and organized compared to others of their species and are much too large to swat with a rolled up newspaper.

I think that children and adults of all ages will enjoy this adventuresome romp through the universe with Art and Myrtle. The writing has a Victorian Britain influence, but is still quite understandable for the 21st century reader. Black and white drawings by artist David Wyatt illustrate almost every page, bringing the strange characters and creatures to life.
Even better, you can expand your reading by visiting the book's website; it is designed to evoke the Victorian era and continues the old-fashioned advertisements and quaint language of the book. A sequel is now available: Starcross: An stirring adventure of spies and time travel and curious hats.

I read it - 400 (child sized) pages.


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