Published by Scholastic on 1st March 2018
Genres: Children's, Fantasy
Source: Scholastic sent it
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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 seek?
Reviewed by Alex
I really enjoyed reading this book, I especially liked that the characters were so brave. If there is going to be a sequel I would definitely read it!
My favourite character was Arthur because he is able to live with an arm made of iron and it must have been really hard for him to do that every day. I didn’t have a favourite part – I loved all of it and Brightstorm is now one of my favourite books.
Maudie and Arthur’s dad was a famous explorer but on an expedition he died (don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler!) Maudie and Arthur go on an adventure to find out what happened to him.
I would recommend Brightstorm to people who like adventure books because I think it’s amazing and you’ll really enjoy it!
Interview with Vashti Hardy
Alex – How did you get the idea of the story for Brightstorm?
Vashti – I’ve always loved the real-life stories of explorers and adventurers and have a brilliant non-fiction book called A Teacup in a Storm which is packed with interesting snippets of explorer related information. In there I read the advert that Ernest Shackleton placed in 1914 to find the crew for his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition to Antarctica:
‘MEN WANTED for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honour and recognition in case of success.’
I thought it was a great start for a story idea – what sort of people would reply and why? It all sprang into a story and complete new world from there!
Alex – How did you come up with the idea for Felicity’s lucky spoon?
Vashti – Ah I love Felicity and her lucky spoon! Well with Felicity, tea is her answer for most situations, so a great big silver lucky spoon seemed to fit her perfectly. I also like lucky charms – on my writing desk I have a few special objects like a trinket box with a slip of paper from a fortune cookie which says ‘the tide of change approaches’ which I got just before the deal for Brightstorm arrived!
Alex – How did you get the idea for Arthur having an iron arm?
Vashti – Arthur just arrived in my brain with one arm – characters have a habit of doing that, almost as if there’s another dimension somewhere filled with characters just waiting to find the right story! The iron arm which Maudie made him became a bit of a symbol of their closeness and her ingenuity. As you know from the story, it also comes in handy, but also Arthur is more than happy not to wear it – he’s used to life with one arm as he was born like that and he’s found a way around most things.
Alex – Are you working on any other books? I really hope you are!
Vashti – Thank you! I have a few things on the go at the moment. There are potentially more adventures for the Brightstorm twins (a certain female explorer has some more dastardly things up her sleeve…) and there could be further sky-ship adventures with other characters too. There’s another different story in the early stages too which I’m rather excited about. There’s a whole new world of invention but carrying on a similar Victoriana slightly ‘steampunk’ feel.
Alex – My favourite place to read in the summer is our conservatory because we have bookcases in there and a comfy chair and big floor cushions. In the winter, I like sitting on the couch in front of the wood-burning stove. Where is your favourite place to read or write?
Vashti – That sounds really cosy. I love wood-burning stoves! My favourite place is on the sofa with a cosy blanket and snuggly socks, pyjamas, a hot chocolate and some fairy lights… In the summer I like to read in the park, but the day would have to be really warm (I’m not as brave as the crew of the Aurora with the cold!).
Alex – Who were your favourite authors when you were a child?
Vashti – I loved reading John Wyndham’s Chocky, it was my first introduction to a sci-fi book, which I love (being of the Star Wars generation!). Roald Dahl showed me how marvellously bad some adult characters could be and how incredibly brave and resourceful children could achieve great things. Another favourite was Terry Nation who was the creator of the Daleks, but he only wrote one book called Rebecca’s World. The world building was amazing and the friendship of an unlikely group of characters really stayed with me. It was the book that turned my imagination into a Tardis!
Alex – My favourite cake is carrot cake. What’s yours?
Vashti – Yum! I love carrot cake or lemon for the zing!
Alex – If I could go out for ice cream with any authors, I would choose you, Maz Evans and Pádraig Kenny. Who would you like to have ice cream with and which flavour would you choose? I’d have strawberry ice cream.
Vashti – That’s so kind of you! I would love to have ice cream with Sinead O’Hart author of The Eye of the North, and Juliette Forrest author of Twister. They are both lots of fun on Twitter and super supportive and they are big adventure fans too so I think we’d have a great time and have lots to chat about. Will I sound greedy is I say any flavour is good with me? I’m rather partial to pistachio, or mint-choc chip… I love the idea of author ice cream get-togethers with readers. This must happen!
Alex – Do you have an all-time-favourite book?
Vashti – I’m torn between Michelle Paver’s Wolf Brother and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Both of their world building is so convincing and absorbing, as are their characters – I adore them both!
Alex – Do you like hot chocolate with marshmallows and squirty cream? That’s my favourite drink!
Vashti – Absolutely! Hot chocolate with all the trimmings is the only way! Thank you for your great questions, Alex. They’ve been fun to answer!