Larklight – Philip Reeve

I mentioned this book in my April TBR (to be read) as one of the books that I got from the phonebox library that I wanted to read in April. It is a 400 page children’s novel that fits into the steampunk, action/adventure, and science-fiction genres.

I have to admit, that this took me longer to read than most books because the first half was quite slow paced. It took me a while to get into the world of the story and to connect with any of the characters. My favourite thing about this book was definitely the characters and creatures created by Philip Reeve. I particularly liked Jack Havock, the young pirate, as I found that the reader got given the most back story on him and his past, and this really fleshed him out as a character and made the reader sympathise with him a lot more than with any of the others. On the other hand, Myrtle was really irritating throughout most of the book and was a bit contradictory in parts as she claimed to want to be a proper lady but then was very impolite and insensitive at some points. However, I felt that she really grew as the story progressed and I really liked that some of the chapters were from her point of view.

I have never read anything else by Philip Reeve, and although, like with a lot of children’s fiction, he seemed to use too many exclamation marks, I found the descriptive writing style really suited the book.

This novel was mostly told from Art’s point of view, but in the second half, his chapters are intertwined with chapters containing passages from Myrtle’s diary. This allowed the reader to get to know each of the characters and the way that they were feeling and reacting to their situation from their own perspectives and I really enjoyed that.

I really enjoyed this book towards the end and although parts of it were a bit slow-paced, I found the action-packed ending really finished the story off well and all of the plot points were tied off perfectly. Knowing that this is the first book in a series, I was a bit dubious going into it whether or not it would finish in a way that meant you would have to read the sequels to get all of the relevant information to finish the story, but I feel that this would be great as a standalone novel.

I have to say that the illustrations in this book really make this a more fantastical read as they completely fit in with the text and enhance the story beyond just the words.

Overall, I would give Larklight by Philip Reeve 4 out of 5 stars and would definitely recommend it to younger children and YA readers that enjoy adventure, steampunk and science-fiction.


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