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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mothstorm: Larklight 3 by Philip Reeve

Mothstorm: Larklight 3 by Philip Reeve, David Wyatt (illustrator)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (387 pgs)
Rating: 5 suns
Reviewed by Orchid

When the festive season arrives at Larklight, so does some unsettling news. A sinister-looking cloud is fast approaching the outskirts of the Known Universe. The closest planet, Georgium Sidus, has but two human inhabitants: the missionary Revd Cruet and his daughter Charity. Their most recent communication read: ‘Great danger . . . imperative that –’

And so, aboard a naval gunship, Art, Myrtle and family bravely go where only one man and his daughter have gone before, to determine the nature of the menacing cloud and rescue the Cruets.

But the evil which awaits them is far beyond their imagining, and it looks as though Mother may have finally Met Her Match. Lucky, then, that Jack Havock is hot on their heels to help in the battle to save the Universe (again) from an evil demigod and its army of blue lizards, who are intent on deposing none other than Queen Victoria to gain control of the Universe.

Moths are gentle creatures—right? Not when they’re in Mothstorm the third in the Larklight series.

On the edge of the solar system a strange cloud appears and the Mumby family get a cry for help from their friends the Cruets. Art and his family decide to investigate, secure in the knowledge Mrs Mumby can protect them from anything. However this time Art’s four-and-a-half-thousand-million year old mother might have met her match.

Jack Havoc arrives for Christmas with Art’s family to find all of them have departed for Georgium Sidus (known as Uranus to those of us less ladylike than Art’s sister Myrtle). He sets off in hot pursuit.

Together the companions must fight the moths, their blue lizard riders and the ruler of them all—the Mothmaker.

Art and his friends soar from one end of the solar system to the other in spaceships driven by alembic combustion. Separated in battle, Art drops onto a planet with a floating surface and underwater inhabitants. The separated friends are eventually reunited and turn together to fight the Mothmaker. But where is Art’s mother and father? No one seems to know.

Once again Philip Reeve has spun a fascinating story set at the time of Victorian England but with a difference. Knowledge of science has to be suspended when reading this books. The Larklight universe has structure and order, but in the way of fantasy rather than science. Art, his family and friends are reminiscent of the rollicking stories of the mid twentieth century, but with humor woven into the story.

Mothstorm is a book that children of all ages will love and that includes adults. It seems this might be the end of the Larklight series, but no doubt Philip Reeve will come up with other amazing worlds and universes to entertain his readers.

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