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Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy | Book Reviews

Children’s books are all time favourite genre for us here at Thinkerviews. Writing imaginative stories for young minds that also provide edutainment is a tricky treat to make and we are always exploring for new authors and adventures in this arena.

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Recently, we came across the Brightstorm series by author Vashti Hardy that features young twins who live in a world full of adventures and explorations and here are our views and reviews on the first book of the series.

Book Title : Brightstorm
A Sky-ship Adventure Brightstorm - 1
Author :
Published by : Scholastic
# of Pages : 343 (Paperback) 193; 2629 KB (Kindle EBook) 494 Minutes (Audiobook)
# of Chapters : 30
Purchase Link(s) :

Book Cover:

Let us take a look at the cover page of this book.

BrightStorm by Vashti Hardy | Book Cover

BrightStorm by Vashti Hardy | Book Cover

The cover page of this book is designed to convey the adventurous spirit of the book. In bright colours that will appeal to young readers, we see a sky-ship – sort of a floating ship that has an enormous balloon at top to help it fly…

Across the skyline of a city, a pair of young children are watching it with upturned faces, while a beautiful bird is venturing to it with open, unfolded wings. In the background the windows of a cityscape show light and warmth of people enjoying quiet time indoors….

An attractive cover page that will catch an eye of any browser.


Twins Arthur and Maudie are a pair of bright, intelligent children who have inherited their parents’ love for exploration. They live in the Brightstorm house in city of Lontown where exploring the far lands is quite a lucrative and prestigious way of life. We meet them as they receive news of their father Earnest Brightstorm’s expedition to reach the South Polaris – the southern most point on the compass in their world.

Unfortunately, the news is not good. Not only they learn that he has been lost, he is disreputed by claims of a rival Eudora Vane who has a story that Earnest Brightstorm stole their fuel and then was killed by savage beasts. Before they know, the kids have lost their father as well as their home and their housekeeper sells them off to a couple as slave labor in the slumps.

The only bright spot in their life appears when their father’s sapient bird Parthena comes to them with a pendant from their father. This gives the twins a reason to go exploring themselves. They manage to escape their captors and become part of an exploration crew headed by Harriet Culpepper on a skyship called Aurora.

But their father’s enemies are following them closely. Not only does Eudora Vane want to win a challenge against Harriet Culpepper, she also seems to have extra reasons to hate the Brighstorms and do them harm. The kids start to discover more about the exploration families of Lontown and of their interactions with the second and third continents.

As the twins face the challenges of the new lands, meet new peoples and learn of their cultures while trying to find what really happened to their father, they face a fair few dangers themselves…Will they find what they are looking for on this adventure?

Views and Reviews:

As you may guess from the storyline above, the book is set in a world that is reminiscent of the era when seafarers from Europe discovered new lands e.g., Americas or the competitive spirit of parties that wanted to reach North/South Pole first, or the ambition to circle around the world first. The author puts the venturing spirit of humans very nicely into the sentences below:

Expeditions are all a matter of motivation. My dream is to be the first to lay my feet where no human in this world has ever reached before – quite simply to see if I can.

The city Lontown reminded me of London, not only in physical set-up but also in its families divided in ‘old and new explorers’ and the institution of the geological society. Also, the self-absorption with which they are on the ‘First Continent’ and the rest are named ‘Second’ and ‘Third’ continents. They seem to look down a little on other cultures, but also seem to exploit the other lands for exotic colored fabrics and dies.

The book starts with a tragedy for the young twins and pulls at your heartstrings with a very familiar landscape of young, brilliant orphans who find their place in the world, friends and family and more through their courage and spirit. Its very easy for the readers to like Arty and Maudie, but also Welby, Felicity and Harriet. Just as easily we come to dislike the Beginses, the Vanes and others working with them.

The author combines our experiences of exploration through water and sky and gives us a sky-ship, an inventive hybrid ship that sails in the sky. One of my favourite passages from the book combines the lovely description of the landscape as well as the bond between Arty and Maudie:

They edged their way down the small rope ladder used for maintenance, crawled along the edge of the wing, then sat and swung their legs around so they dangled below. The sea was almost invisible, just the odd glint of reflected light. They put their fingertips to the sky and felt the breeze dance around them. The distant east was brightening to shades of light blue and orange. As a sliver of sun rose, Parthena spun in the air in front of them. Arthur held his arm out like a bird’s wing and Maudie did the same on the other side. For the first time in many moon-cycles, nothing seemed to matter.

The book shows us how the twins realise that life will be full of choices, and some of them will be more difficult then others. Once you decide to leave the comfort of the known, then only can you discover the beauty so far unknown to you:

Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will. You can be comfortable or courageous – never both at once.


A book taking us on the start of adventurous journey of twins searching for the lost reputation and honour of their name and family, while finding the spirit of exploration within themselves…

ThinkerViews Rating:

Around 7.5 stars out of 10.

Quick Purchase Links:

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