Book Title: Darkwhispers (available here)
Author: Vashti Hardy
Illustrators: Cover illustration by George Ermos & map illustrations by Jamie Gregory
Publication Date: February 2020
Most Suitable For: Years 4-6
Sequel to: Brightstorm (review here)
Reviewed By: Nia Talbot, Assistant Head
I absolutely adored Brightstorm and was excited to read this second instalment (I’m hoping for many more!) of adventure, engineering, magic and identity.
This book sees the twins, Maudie and Arthur, along with the other members of the Culpepper Crew, engaged in an expedition on the sky ship Aurora in search of missing adventurer Ermitage Wrigglesworth. They set off to the Eastern Isles, alongside other explorer families, to search the numerous islands for Ermitage.
Unfortunately, the expedition is led by none other than Eudora Vane and you get the sense very quickly that this expedition is not all it seems. Eudora is the villain that you love to hate, with her scheming ways and stop-at-nothing attitude. The voyage sees the crew encounter new sights, perilous confrontations and some tragedy, in order to find out what really happened to Ermitage Wrigglesworth.
Alongside a brilliantly written expedition, this second instalment sees Vashti Hardy develop the characters further, exploring how their personalities and relationships grow and shift as they get older, develop their skills and go through different experiences. Maudie’s love of all that is STEM and her fascination with developing and improving the brilliant knowledge that captain Harriet has is inspiring to all and especially for girls who are interested in science, technology and engineering. Arthur’s dreamy nature coupled with his sense of empathetic understanding (ideal for spotting clues that others have missed) is much more apparent in this book and I applaud this development of a male character. Giving the twins the opportunity to branch out on their own allows readers to really see their personalities.
There is so much more I could say about this skyship adventure - but really what I want to say is that I hope you read it, become enthralled by it and love it as much as I do.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Nia for reviewing it.
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