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Larklight (Larklight #1)

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3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,358 Ratings  ·  460 Reviews
Arthur (Art) Mumby and his irritating sister Myrtle live with their father Revd Marmaduke Mumby in the huge and rambling house, Larklight, travelling through space on a remote orbit far beyond the moon. One ordinary sort of morning they receive a correspondence informing them that a gentleman is on his way to visit, a Mr Webster. Visitors to Larklight are rare if not uniqu ...more
Hardcover, 410 pages
Published October 2006 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published September 19th 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
Jul 16, 2012 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Art and Myrtle Mumby live in Larklight, a house that orbits Earth beyond the moon, with their father, their mother having disappeared years earlier and thought dead in an aethership wreck, until one day, monstrous white spiders attack Larklight and send them scurrying. Can Art and Myrtle save their father, Larklight, and the entire British Empire?

First off, if I was thirteen, this would be my favorite book of all time. Larklight takes place in the 1850s, only it's an 1850's with Jules Verne-esqu
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Kathryn
Mar 02, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathryn by: Quasar (thank you SO much!)
2 March 2008

Huzzah! What a glorious tale. I loved it! Certainly one of my new-favorite books; besides being oodles of fun to read, it was thoughtful, imaginative, charming, adventurous, surprisingly well written with delightful illustrations. I would never have believed that a Victorian outer-space adventure with aether-ship pirates, giant talking spiders, plots against the Empire (oh no! God Save the Queen!) and hoverhogs could fit together so perfectly, conveyed by the pen of a brave British
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Ann
I honestly think this is one of my new favorite books! Absolutely wonderful! Funny, creative, cute, charming, endearing, fast-paced, and sweet!
Delightful characters fill the book from cover to cover. The plot is both intriguing and pretty complex without being too confusing or obvious. The illustrations add to story and seem very fitting to the style of writing.
The book is filled with wit and heart. I adored it!
***
So, I already love it! Just about 100 pages into it, and it's delightful! The char
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Amy
Oct 04, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mary, Elizabeth, Adam, Marsha. Steampunk fans, anyone wanting an easy (but not dumb) YA title
Shelves: steampunk, own, juvenile
It's the steampunkiest!
This book was so much fun. Literally my only complaint is a few things at the end seemed wrapped up a little improbably. But wait... this is a Victorian Space Drama! Who am I to question what's probable? Hah. Anyway, the narrator is a delightful little opinionated boy, and the plot moves along at a quite a clip, propelled by the chemical wedding in the aether engines, no doubt. I would totally recommend this to anybody, it's quick and fun. Definitely giggled outloud a bunc
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Zen Cho
Sep 22, 2007 Zen Cho rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, victorian, kidslit
So much fun! There isn't any other word for the book: just, fun. I'd pretty much recommend this without any qualifications.

More light-hearted than the Hungry Cities Chronicles. I'm not sure if it's better. I think I like it better, though I don't love any of the characters as much as I loved Hester, because I was really quite annoyed by the way the books ended -- I couldn't have told you what should have happened, but what did happen felt like a cop-out. I suppose I might get as annoyed over La
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Renay
Mar 21, 2016 Renay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Renay by: honestly mem
2016 02 23:
Still as adorable as I remember!!!!

2007 01 01:
I wish I knew how to get people to read this book. This book is fabulous. It's very much speculative fiction, told in a Victorian style, a what-if romp through what might have happened if space had been like people of the 19th century had imagined and the British took their colonization ideals out into the far reaches of the solar system. It is amazing and creative and so full of imagination I am not quite sure how all the fantastic elemen
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Kathryn
Aptly subtitled "A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space," this is an enjoyable read for ages nine (or thereabouts) and up.
It is an adventure set in a Victorian space age, written as Jules Verne or H.G. Wells might have imagined it. The plot is exciting, the writing deft and witty, so that adults are likely to enjoy the reading experience just as much as kids. There's some fun and interesting playing with gender conventions, too, as the narrator's older sister yearns
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Amy
Mar 08, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fantastic book. I laughed, I cried, I wet my pants. Well, the pants wetting part isn't true. And neither is the crying. But I did laugh quite a bit while reading this book.

Before I was even halfway through the book, I found myself trying to convince friends to read it by telling them, "It's kind of like Scott Westerfield's Leviathan series meets L.A. Meyer's Bloody Jack series mixed in with the television show Firefly."

No. I am completely serious. And IT. WAS. AWESOME. And funny. Did
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Sarah Churchill
In all honesty, I struggled with this book.

It's beautifully presented, well written and filled with fantastic illustrations that support the story perfectly. There's steampunk in outer-space. And pirates. All of these things should make it an incredible read. But for some reason I was bored.

I struggled to read more than a couple of chapters at a time. Maybe it's because I didn't particularly like any of the characters (Myrtle in particular needed a good slap, although to be fair she did get bet
...more
Qt
Oct 05, 2007 Qt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This book was a really neat one, a sort of Victorian-era sci-fi. That is, it was set in the 1800s, but in this version of the 1800s, Earth had space travel capabilities, Mars is populated by Martians, and it is far from uncommon to meet alien races.
There were lots of neat characters, space pirates, exciting adventures, and exotic, otherworldly locales, and I loved the semi-Victorian writing style! All in all, I thought it was a very imaginative, clever book. The inside back cover says the autho
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Andrea
Larklight takes many historical notions about space and runs with them. Instead of vacuum we have aether - a breathable if thin atmosphere between planets. The moon is populated by mushrooms, Mars by rust-coloured elves, and the great storm of Jupiter is a thinking being. Colonies are firmly established on Mars, the Moon and (once) Venus, and interplanetary travel a matter of alchemic engines.

There is endless amount of adventure in this middle-grade story, told by Art, and with excerpts from his
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Phoebe
There is a lot to like about Larklight. It has the form of Victorian scientific romance and the stylistic flair of postmodern irony. The touch of absurdity is, dare I say, Lovecraftian, and yet beneath all the nonsensical madness, there is the honest desire for a better past, a better present, and a better future. To be fair, I don't think Reeve intended it to be a story about how things could be better, but you have to admit, writing about a different past reveals more than listlessness but a s ...more
Angelsouth
I must have read this series a dozen or more times. Utterly captivating and imaginative. Admittedly, Reeve's casual use of the imperial adventure tropes made popular by H. Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling is troubling. For an adult reader, it is easy to attribute a layer of irony to Art's blind patriotism but I suspect that those lines are more easily blurred for the target audience. However, it is true that foregrounding such tropes does make them easy to discuss and easier to debunk, unlike t ...more
Ingrid
May 17, 2013 Ingrid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As part of my "go back in time and read happy nostalgic books" project, I picked up this wonderful Juvenile fiction novel. As with Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick(you can read my review here,) I found myself captured by the simplicity, craziness,and childish charm of this book. Simply put, if I'd read it a few years ago, I would have loved it.

As far as it goes now... I liked it quite a bit, but I was missing depth and more intricate characters. Even though it wasn't amazing, this book was very good. Some reasons why:

1Airsh
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colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
3.5

A steampunkish space adventure based on the old Victorian adventure stories, complete with huzzahs! to the glorious Empire - but also those against the Empire and characters pointing out how not so glorious it is to come about and muck with people quite happy on their own, thanks much.

It's hard to really say whether this is sci-fi or fantasy. One would expect sci-fi since there are aliens and space adventures; however, there's nothing remotely realistic about the science, what with people ru
...more
Thomas
Jun 20, 2015 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is captivating tale of adventure of space pirates, giant spiders and mysterious beings. The book kept me on the edge if my seat and I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the trilogy.
Erin
Jan 02, 2009 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Normally I reserve 5 stars for books that make me think or speak to me on a deep level, but this one was simply pure whizz-bang fun from beginning to end. And unlike some other children's books I've read recently (I'm looking at you, _House of Power_!), the prose, the plotting, and the character development lived up to the gosh-wow premise. And also, who wouldn't love a book with a subtitle like "a tale of dauntless pluck in the farthest reaches of space"?

I've already started the sequel, _Starcr
...more
Sesana
Dec 04, 2015 Sesana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much more light-hearted than Reeves's Hungry City books. Like, by a lot. I loved the Victorian adventure story feel of the thing. The world building is fairly well done, and it's a very different version of space and space travel. Myrtle could get on my nerves sometimes, but she seemed to be improving by the end of the book, and I think there's hope for her character. I'm interested to see where this is going, because I generally have a lot of faith in Reeves.
X
Mar 26, 2011 X rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the steampunk aspects of this book. As it is the only steampunk novel I've read (so far), I really have nothing to compare it to, but Victorian space travel is very appealing. Some parts seemed a bit detached, though that may have been because the first person narrative only gave one viewpoint. Other than that, it was a delightful, fun and exciting book, and certainly a good introduction to steampunk!
Martini
Nice story, wonderful illustrations and I loved the various hints to pop culture: Dune, Star Trek, Spiderman, Dracula...
Don't you want to try and find them yourself now? ;-)
Mangrovejane
I am not at all sure quite what to say about this book. I am quite fond of it and a little confused by it. It was a strange sort of steam punk space opera tale, told in a very light hearted way through the voice of the boy hero, Art Mumby. There was no wasted words, or flowing passages of prose. The story jumped quite quickly from one drama to the next. It was quietly amusing but not belly laugh hilarious.

I enjoyed the setting, the plot, the characters mostly. I did not feel any great empathy f
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Allie
Jul 01, 2016 Allie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. That turned into quite the chore to read. The only thing that piqued my interest was the hoverhogs, which are floating pig-like creatures that clean up rubbish. That was it.

I think the general idea of this book had a lot of potential, but only if everything was different. Haha! But seriously -- I would've preferred reading about older kids and leaving the parents out of the picture completely. I basically wanted the entire book to be more mature.

My biggest beef with this book? Censorship.
...more
Stefan
Feb 03, 2009 Stefan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book was read in english, but review is in german. Sorry to those who cannot comprehend it... ;o)

Wir schreiben das Jahr des Herrn 1851. Im britischen Imperium herrscht Königin Victoria über England, die amerikanischen Kolonien und die Besitztümer der Krone auf Mond, Mars und anderen Planeten des Sonnensystems. Das Universum von Larklight ist definitiv nicht das, welches wir kennen – 1703 entwickelte Isaac Newton den Ätherantrieb, seitdem eifersüchtig gehütet von den Alchimisten der Royal Alchem
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Helsic 伊明海
this is by far one of the best books I have ever read.
First I have to say I really love science fiction and fantasy literature for young readers. This kind of book was like an delicious mint-chocolate candy for me. I find the victorian-futuristic universe just wonderful. I had never read a book like this one before but I know this style is not new. Even thought there is another literature and movies in this style I find this book pretty much enjoyable and interesting. The sense of humor of the
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Melissa
Sep 28, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Update - a fun space adventure with a steampunk twist! I really enjoyed this book and will be picking up the next two books in the series soon!!

"Among my mother's books I had one discovered a volume of stories by a gentleman named Mr. Poe, who lives in Her Majesty's American colonies. There was one, The Premature Burial, which gave me nightmares for weeks after I read it, and I remember thinking that there could be no fate more horrible than to be buried alive, and wondering what type of derange
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Ottery StCatchpole
To begin with I feel I should explain that at first I resisted reading anything by Philip Reeve because honestly he seemed to be all over the place and writing fantasy and science fiction and I've been burned already by Scott Westerfeld's lack of writing skills, in spite of his really imaginative stories. I felt, unfairly it seems, that a book with such a good sounding plot must surely be badly written, like Leviathan and Behemoth.
But on hearing that Peter Jackson was interested in The Hungry C
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Raj
Sep 05, 2010 Raj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fairly slight young adult steampunk novel, set sometime in the mid 19th century, about two youngsters who live in a ramshackle old house called Larklight, and what happens when a Mr Webster comes to visit. The thing is, Larklight is in orbit somewhere beyond the moon and this is a world where Isaac Newton's theories led to engines that could sail the solar system.

This is a living solar system where every planet and most moons are inhabited by aliens and are inhabitable by humans with n
...more
Wealhtheow
Oct 31, 2010 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Lemony Snickett, Flora Segunda
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: ellyddan, Kelly Hawkins
It is the mid-nineteenth century, Queen Victoria is on the throne, and the British Empire stretches into the stars. With their absent-minded father for their only human company, Arthur and Myrtle live in a ramshackle house named Larklight floating in deep space. But then giant spiders invade Larklight and kidnap their father, and Art and Myrtle barely escape. They join up with a pirate crew led by the notorious Captain Jack Havock and have a number of thrilling adventures whilst evading the spid ...more
Edward's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
Other than that piece of shit known as The Maestro this book holds the honor of being amongst the first few books I've given up on since I was 9.

Firstly the plot was highly far fetched and rather stupid and infuriating to be quite honest. Ditto the characters. From the first page I found it extremely difficult to connect with ANYTHING in this sad piece of work some refer to as a story. I give this nil stars because (well first of all I didn't enjoy it one bit) the author marketed this as a midd
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Amanda
Space pirates, alien spiders, and flying pigs!!

The story of Art and Mrytle Mumby takes place in an alternate Victorian England. The Brits have taken to Space during Queen Victoria's reign. Alien spiders have a bone to pick with the British, and the Mumbys are the first to feel their wrath. Art and Mrytle must escape from the clutches of alien spiders, and team up with notorious space pirate Jack Havock to try to save the world.

There's a lot of adventure and humor. The book is told mainly from A
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art's mother 2 23 May 25, 2008 07:32PM  
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Philip Reeve was born and raised in Brighton, where he worked in a bookshop for a number of years while also co-writing, producing and directing a number of no-budget theatre projects.

Philip then began illustrating and has since provided cartoons for around forty children's books, including the best-selling Horrible Histories, Murderous Maths and Dead Famous series.

Railhead, published by Oxford Un
...more
More about Philip Reeve...

Other Books in the Series

Larklight (3 books)
  • Starcross (Larklight, #2)
  • Mothstorm (Larklight, #3)

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“I felt a little like saying 'Eeeeeeeeek!' myself, but seeing Myrtle so afraid reminded me that I was British, and must be brave.” 6 likes
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