***Spoiler Alert*** While I try to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible, a few always slip in! So, if you don't want any spoilers, save this review for later. If you're feeling brave, read on!
Larklight is a fantastical, steampunk novel - the third in a series by Phillip Reeve. The novel opens with Art, the main character, talking about life on Larklight (and how he would look back on it later after their adventures had begun,) and also discussing his sister - Myrtle - a person he finds to be altogether irritating. That's natural - after all, he is a ten year old boy.
A few pages into the novel, the family receive a letter indicating they will get a guest. They think nothing of it, since their father isn't worried. However, the guest arrives, and all hell breaks loose. I won't tell you who the guest is, but I will tell you this: his arrival initiates the start of a fantastical, and albeit a bit frightening, space adventure for Myrtle and Art. Throughout their space adventure, Myrtle and Art spend time on the moon, meet a rather young looking pirate named Jack (and his companions,) visit a shopping city called Far'poo - the on planet of Io, and spend time traveling around in a space ship (literally a ship in space) called the Sarfronia.
Larklight was my first adventure into the world of steampunk, and I loved it so much that I know I'll be reading more! The adventures the kids engage in are humorous and charming. The characters are well developed and the writing is excellent. It's refreshing to read a kids book that is well-written and actually treats kids like they are smart, instead of talking down to them.
I especially enjoyed reading the excerpts from Myrtles diary - she is funny and sassy, and keeps the other characters on their toes. It is clear that even though Myrtle is a "young lady," she is intelligent and quick witted. She has a wonderful ability to think on her toes, and doesn't let the time period dictate her behavior. She behaves like a lady while still being strong and independent.
Art, our charming protaganist, is one of my favorite characters in this book. He is a head strong, funny, kind boy who obviously cares about his sister in spite of the fact that he always gives her a hard time. He seems to have a clear head even in the face of danger, and adds an element of humour to the space travels with Jack and Co.
This is a book that can easily be enjoyed by kids and adults. Some younger kids might get confused by some of the terminology, but other than some hard words and technological speak, it is age appropriate for kids 7 and up. Fun, funny, and enjoyable - 5 stars all around!