Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space (Larklight, #1)
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Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space (Larklight #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  3,081 ratings  ·  404 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
Published (first published September 19th 2006)
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Dan Schwent
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...more
Kathryn
Mar 02, 2008 Kathryn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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...more
Zen Cho
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...more
Amy
Oct 04, 2008 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
S.
Some books are a lot of fun in spite of themselves and this book is one such.

What made me adore the Mortal Engines series were the well-fleshed out characters, especially the females: In fact, if that series had been less character driven it wouldn't have been nearly as good.

Reeve shoots himself in the writing arm by making his characters too two-dimensional.
All of them, unfortunately, are made of cheese and cardboard and if it is intentional, it doesn't make it a better book.
The tone is younger...more
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...more
Qt
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...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
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
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
Amy M
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...more
Erin
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
X
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!
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
Stefan
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...more
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...more
Melissa
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...more
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...more
The Airship Librarian
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...more
Raj
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 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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...more
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...more
[Name Redacted By Goodreads Because Irrelevant to Review]
I had high-hopes for this one, an alternate-history blend of sci-fi and fantasy just brimming with potential, but it proved remarkably disappointing in the end. The primary protagonist was quite the stupidest boy I've ever read about, and his sister was both stupid and obnoxious -- I'm sure her obnoxiousness was intended to be funny, but it failed gloriously in that respect. And while there were a lot of fascinating plot elements and world-building details, the author seemed to be in such a rush...more
Kerry
NOW READING WITH MARCUS.

ORIGINAL READ: 8/10 (finished 17 January 2009)

This book is totally insane. It’s also absolutely gorgeous and I loved it.

While I think I had heard of Philip Reeve previously, I had never heard of this book before I saw it reviewed on someone’s blog (sorry, I didn’t bookmark the link and I no longer remember where it was – if it might have been you, drop me a note and I’ll add a link to your review). While a children’s book, it sounded like a lot of fun – and something bein...more
Sean
This rollicking steampunk (spacepunk?) adventure began fairly strongly, with a fascinating premise: Back in the seventeenth century, Sir Isaac Newton discovered an alchemical reaction that could power spaceflight, an event which has pushed humanity out into the stars centuries earlier than would have been predicted. The British Empire now stretches across several parts of the solar system instead of just a large portion of the globe. And a small family lives in a strange, draughty house called L...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Sep 22, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: if you liked Peter & the Starcatchers
I wish I could say I tore through this, but somehow it dragged for me. More character development would have been nice. The best part was Jack's story, he was the only main character with an interesting past.
Brother and sister Art and Myrtle Mumby flee their extraterrestrial Victorian home, named Larklight, which is under attack by giant space spiders. They get picked up by the dreaded pirate Jack, who turns out to be not so fierce, and to be about the same age as they are. Together, they uncove...more
Lee French
I found this book at the library and picked it up to read to my son, who is 8. It went over his head, but I found it charming. It's steampunk as steampunk can be, written in a Victorian England style, and taking place in that time period. As it says on the cover, this book is truly "A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space".

Such imagination went into this story. It's gloriously absurd in nearly every way. The assertion of the breathability in the vacuum of space is the...more
Jennifer
A review from my 12 year old son:

Arthur Mumby lives in Larklight with his father and sister. Life at Larklight is rather boring until they get a letter from a Mister Webster but when he comes, things start to go wrong. When the real adventure begins, they get stranded on the moon and get rescued by the infamous pirate, Jack Havock, and go on an adventure to save the solar system.

This action filled alternative steampunk history is placed in the 1850's. I do think this is a reasonably complicated...more
Cheryl in CC NV
May 15, 2012 Cheryl in CC NV marked it as skimmed-reference-dnf  ·  review of another edition
I suspected I wouldn't like this, but several different friends recommended, so I tried it. I don't think it's bad - and maybe I just wasn't in the mood, but I did give up pretty quickly anyway. I'm not into contraptions, I'm not into iconographic characters, and I don't like so many pictures that a complete thought can't fit on the page (full-page illustrations would work better than marginalia integrated with large font and long sentences).
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art's mother 2 22 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.

Philip has been writing stories...more
More about Philip Reeve...
Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles, #1) Fever Crumb (Fever Crumb, #1) Predator's Gold (The Hungry City Chronicles, #2) Infernal Devices (The Hungry City Chronicles, #3) A Darkling Plain (The Hungry City Chronicles, #4)

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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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