Thursday, June 9, 2011


There are not many modern science fiction series written for children. I was interested when I heard about Philip Reeve's Larklight series. I requested the first, Larklight from the library.

I was amused at the comparisons people made about this book. As usual everyone compares all children's adventure series to Harry Potter. Others saw Star Wars. While I did see a Scotty reference from Star Trek I actually thought the pirate story focused on orphans reminded me more of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance.

This story is set in an alternate universe where Isaac Newton discovered space travel and the British Empire has extended to create a Victorian space empire. Larklight is the home of a brother and sister who live with their father there. Mother's fate seems uncertain. Father's fate soon becomes questionable during a spider attack on Larklight. A space pirate who take pity on their orphan status rescues them.

The story follows their adventures in space and we learn more about the origins of the spiders and the fate of the children's parents. Without giving any spoilers, there is more to Mom's story than the children could possibly imagine. As the children learn more about their mother and their home Larklight, they become an integral part of solving the problems facing the Empire.

This is one of the better attempts at science fiction for young adults I have read in a while. I have picked up the second book from the library so I will have a chance to see how the series continues. The series was written as a trilogy, so it would not be too challenging for most children to complete.

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