Monday, March 23, 2009

Larklight by Philip Reeve (5/5 stars)

I have previously read "Here Lies Arthur" by Philip Reeve and was impressed by both his writing and story creativity. I decided to check out some of his other books starting with this one. All I can say is "wow" this book was a joy to read.

I have always been fascinated by the HG Wells era of sci-fi. When spaceships were all brassy ships with huge sails; when space was pictured as an ocean. Imagine if Great Briton had succeeded at space travel in the 1800's. Well that is the setting this book takes place in.

Art and his sister, Myrtle, live in the house of Larklight. A house that floats out around earth. When their house is attacked by giant spiders they are forced to use the escape pod and they end up on the Moon. Here they encounter more dangerous creatures and end up being rescued by Jack, a famous space-pirate who is much younger than anyone thought.

The story moves fast, is wonderfully creative without feeling forced or contrived, and really captures your imagination. Jack was my favorite character with his jaded past and determination. But all of the characters are well-developed and interesting. The book is written as a memoir with crazy footnotes and little drawings inside. It is mostly from Art's point of view, but there are sides to Myrtle's diary. It is done in a very light and tongue-in-cheek style; with much of the overdone and grandiose thinking of that era.

I have a small complaint about this book and that's that I think all the girls were sold a bit short; I suppose it is a reflection of the era. For the most part they are all simpering and needy; although Myrtle comes into her own by the end. This is definitely more of a boy's book; but I still enjoyed it thoroughly.

This book is going on my shelf as a keeper and I am excited to read the next two book in the series (Starcross and Mothstorm).

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