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For years Grace's family have been wardens of the Griffin map, using its teleport technology to help people and fight crime across the land of Moreland. At thirteen, Grace is too young become a warden, but she longs to go on missions herself. After all, if her brother Bren can do it, why can't she?

So when Grace finds herself alone with the map when a distress call comes in, she jumps at the chance to prove she's up to the task. But the map transports Grace to a remote village where nothing is quite as it seems. Has she landed right in the middle of a treacherous scheme?

112 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2020

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About the author

Vashti Hardy

25 books136 followers
Vashti Hardy is a children’s book author who lives near Lancashire, England, with her husband and three teens. She has an honors teaching degree and an MA in creative writing from the University of Chichester.

Vashti Hardy est une auteure jeunesse. Elle a enseigné pendant de nombreuse années à l'école primaire. Après avoir quitté l'enseignement pour se consacrer davantage à l'écriture, elle devient conceptrice-rédactrice et cadre dans le marketing numérique. Elle est titulaire d'un M.A. en création littéraire de l'Université de Chichester. Elle compte également parmi les diplômés de la Golden Egg Academy, une école destinée aux auteurs de livres pour enfants et aide régulièrement les nouveaux élèves de l'institution. Vashti Hardy vit avec son mari et ses trois enfants près de Brighton dans le Sussex de l'Est.

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5 stars
98 (27%)
4 stars
139 (39%)
3 stars
91 (25%)
2 stars
21 (5%)
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3 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 75 reviews
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,034 reviews1,421 followers
March 2, 2022
This novella-length and illustrated story focused on the Griffin family, who use a series of magical maps and gates to fight crime all over their kingdom. The youngest family member, Grace, is not allowed to go on missions until she turns fifteen and instead must spend her time either in simulations or hearing the praise her older brother, Bren, receives for his crime-fighting contributions.

I immediately thought I would love this story, after the reader is introduced to a mechanical, talking family raven on the very first page. This blend of steampunk creations with more whimsical and fantastical elements continued throughout.

The story was fun, adventurous, fantastical, and engaging throughout. As an adult reader of middle grade and children’s fiction I can sometimes guess the story’s trajectory pretty early on. This does not ruin my enjoyment but, regardless, I failed to do so here and was carried along with the story and eager to uncover the mysteries it presented. I can see how it would become a favourite with younger readers, especially considering the illustrations that accompanied the story.
Profile Image for Sandra.
128 reviews
October 15, 2020
This is Vashti's first Barrington Stoke title and the good news is its part of a series with The Puffin Portal coming soon.

In The Griffin Gate, Grace Griffin and her family who are wardens who use a Teleportation map to get to the scene of a crime in an instant. The Griffin's have been wardens for generations, but it's Grace who feels invisible as she can't go on missions yet, even though her brother can, and she thinks she is a better fighter than him during their training sessions.

Grace is dying to go on a mission for real when she gets older, but will she have to live in her brother's shadow for long?

Vashti conjures a tale of family mystery where Grace is the third wheel when on a mission with her parents. Bren her brother gets all the praise, while she stays in the background, feeling unwanted and useless. Grace can only observe, which leads her to do something drastic! Use the map and go on a mission alone; the question is, can she handle it?

To be honest, I liked Grace's determination to show her family she had the skills to be able to fight crime and stop the culprits. Grace thinks she is ready when she answers a distress call from another village with her trustee Raven, Watson as her eyes and ears.

Watson is one of the best characters in the book, but what draws you in is the steampunk setting and the other villages that don't seem to be as technologically advanced as them. Where Grace has gone has a secret the townsfolk want to keep to themselves.

Vashti, author of Wildspark does all she can to make a thrilling debut with the Griffin family's youngest acts brave, intelligent and able to use her powers of deduction to find out the real baddies behind a dire plot that could see everything the Griffin's have done for the good of the village come to nothing. I felt the fear and sense of urgency from reading Grace's exploits in this village, hoping she wouldn't get caught. I wanted her to solve the crime and find out who would want to cause so much trouble for her family. This book is a really riveting read ready for Halloween!
Profile Image for Peter.
Author 12 books308 followers
April 21, 2021
This was another fun Barrington Stoke book - short children's read for dyslexic/ reluctant readers. Featuring steampunkery, magic and a dastardly plot. Grace Griffin was a good stem heroine with lots of smarts.
Profile Image for Michael Sorbello.
Author 1 book243 followers
December 26, 2021
Grace's family are the wardens of the Griffin map, a magical artifact that can teleport them to any place at any time to aid the common people and fight criminals. Being too young to be allowed access to the map doesn't stop Grace from answering a distress call when left alone with the map. Against her better judgement, she's thrown into the middle of a wicked scheme that could involve the execution and imprisonment of her family if she doesn't come up with a plan to put a stop to the culprit's schemes before they can hatch. With the help of her mechanical bird Watson, Grace aims to prove her worth.

A cute Sherlock Holmes mystery novelette with elements of steampunk fantasy. The whimsical fantasy charm and the comical ways the story unfolds are fun. This book is a great way to introduce a very young audience to the mystery and crime genre without overwhelming them. Perhaps a little too predictable and formulaic for older audiences, but a fun and quick read nonetheless.
77 reviews1 follower
November 12, 2020
Another book from Barrington Stoke. The Griffin Gate is aimed at children aged between 8 and 12 (I would probably say a bit younger than 12). The Griffin family are the wardens of Moreland and 'the map', dedicating their time to keeping the residents of Moreland safe. All Grace Griffin wants is to be allowed to join on the missions with her Mum and brother but she isn't old enough. One day Grace notices that an area of the map is calling for help and there is no one else around to respond. She decides to take matters into her own hands and ends up on an exciting and dangerous journey. Would be fantastic for children that enjoy adventure stories.
Profile Image for Chris Callaghan.
Author 35 books196 followers
March 12, 2021
Vashti Hardy has created another fantastical world, this time brimming with curious maps and curious people. There are wonderful illustrations from Natalie Smillie throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed this magical mystery that will enchant even the most reluctant of readers.
Profile Image for Sasha .
293 reviews287 followers
December 29, 2021
It was a very enjoyable Fantasy/Thriller Middle Grade that I would highly recommend to a young audience as an introduction to the genre.

I personally would have loved to know the characters a bit more but it is very short so kind of understanable.
Profile Image for Mindy.
128 reviews3 followers
November 13, 2020
Such a fun story! I finished this in 1 sitting. I was intrigued right from the beginning and had to know what happened next! This is my first Vashti Hardy book and it did not disappoint!
Profile Image for BookBairn.
310 reviews9 followers
October 9, 2020
What a fun little book! I'm so impressed with these Barrington Stoke books, designed for less able readers, as the authors manage to fit so much in with such concise phrasing and language and over fewer pages but you still feel like you've had a gripping story! I would love to see this world developed into a full novel with more world building and character development and has made me want to read more from the author.
Profile Image for Steph.
925 reviews70 followers
October 3, 2020
This was brilliant. Smart, clever and wonderfully done. I loved that Grace was curious and asked lots of questions! You can’t beat a good bit of story about great young minds! Really enjoyed this and it was great fun. I can’t wait for more from Grace and this world. I’d love a magical map that I could transport into!
Profile Image for Lin.
177 reviews60 followers
January 9, 2021
Awww was this book cute and heartwarming. I really enjoyed the story and the characters. It was fast paced and straight to the point. Highly recommended! Cannot wait for the next book to come out of the series :)
85 reviews
November 3, 2021
This story follows Grace through the adventures and puzzles of what is means to be a warden. This book is excellently written and kept me wondering about what was going to happen next. A brilliant read for any child and a book which I would love to have in my own classroom.
Profile Image for Vicky.
368 reviews16 followers
October 10, 2020
A lovely quick and easy read! I really enjoyed the quick world building and I was fascinated by the map (I love a good map!). The mechanical raven was a fantastic edition. All in all a great story.
Profile Image for Nurhuda Utami.
31 reviews
December 29, 2021
Great book! I can not imagine myself getting curious while reading this book. You will find many jokes and unexpected interesting stories from this book.
Profile Image for Lucy Lane.
2 reviews
January 22, 2023
It was excellent because it is a mystery book and she was kidnapped but she didn’t give up she figured out a way.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Caitlyn.
199 reviews1 follower
November 3, 2020
This was such a great sci-fi, mystery read (I've tagged it as sci-fi because it's set in the future and has lots of mechanical devices which have been invented rather than the characters using magic to aid them but it could also fall into the category of fantasy).

The story is set in a world where a special invention called the Griffin Map allows wardens to teleport around the country and fight crime. 13-year-old Grace is the youngest member of the Griffin family, a family who have the responsibility of monitoring the map for distress signals and responding to these calls. Grace's brother, 15-year-old Bren, has just reached the age where he is allowed to go on missions, which has left Grace feeling left out and determined to prove herself. An opportunity to do this arises when she is left alone with the map, just as a call for help comes in. However, the situation quickly escalates and Grace realises she might have got herself in over her head!

As with all Barrington Stoke books, this story was quite short (just over 100 pages) but Vashti Hardy manages to pack in so much intrigue, suspense and action you feel like you've read a full novel. The plot of this book is engaging and I found myself trying to solve the mystery along with Grace - I loved the answers to the mystery and the way the story concluded! The setting for this story is also really interesting. I love the concept of places on the map flashing up when there was trouble and then teleporting through the map to solve crimes. These creations were enhance by Natalie Smillie's beautiful illustrations throughout. I'm definitely a fan of Grace and the Griffins and I am looking forward to her next adventure in book 2.

I think readers 8+ who enjoy mystery/crime novels, superhero stories and science fiction would enjoy this book.
Profile Image for WhatBookNext .com.
906 reviews32 followers
March 2, 2021
Grace’s family have an important job. Grace, her mum and big brother Bren are Wardens of the GriffinThe Griffin Gate Book Review Cover Map. Grace’s grandmother invented the map which lies on a huge table showing all the towns and villages of Moreland.

If any town is in trouble and needing assistance, they can call for help and a gate symbol will glow on the map. Each gate is a portal and the Griffin family leaps into action and travels through the map to help.

There is serious training involved in becoming a Warden. At 13 Grace is just as good, if not better than her 15 year old brother at combat, first aid and other honed skills, but rules are rules and she has to wait two more years before she can attend any missions.

Fed up and sick of waiting, when an opportunity arises to use the map, Grace grabs it, taking her trusty (mechanical) pet raven Watson with her.

A small town claims a monster has been terrorising them. Grace investigates, keen to finally prove herself. All is not how it seems however and Grace stumbles across a plot not only to undermine her entire family as Wardens but to steal the Griffin Map too.

An age-old story of a younger sibling trying to prove herself, with an ingenious fantasy twist. The setting is a place of mechanical animals, inventive gadgets, and portals. A touch of Steampunk!

This is the first in an illustrated chapter book series where a young teen called Grace faces danger and mystery, digging deep for courage as she finally travels on missions of her own.
Profile Image for Jo Clarke.
Author 2 books13 followers
February 5, 2021
Blue Peter Book Award winner Vashti Hardy is renowned for creating the most fantastically imagined worlds full of the unexpected, so I was intrigued to see how she would bring the world of Moreland to life in just over a hundred pages. Yet somehow she still manages to conjure up a vivid world – where the wardens of Moreland protect their people wit the use of teleport technology and the Griffin map – in this thrilling and fast-paced story. Grace is desperate to be a warden like the rest of her family but she is too young to go on missions. When she finds herself alone and a distress call comes in, she can’t resist the temptation to prove her family wrong but unwittingly she finds herself in a desperate and dark situation. Can she find a way to outwit the despicable villain? Exciting and mysterious, this story is completely compelling and I absolutely raced through it. It’s a perfect of Vashti’s signature style with an intriguing mix of monsters, mechanicals and brave characters. I have to mention Natalie Smillie’s glorious illustrations which wonderfully enhance the story building the drama and tension as it unfolds. I particularly love the illustration with the Griffin map, it helps the reader imagine this magical creation. A wonderful collaboration and I can’t wait to read their next adventure, ‘The Puffin Portal.’
Profile Image for Mathew.
1,492 reviews170 followers
October 13, 2020
Set on the fringe of a dystopian future, this short gem of a book by Hardy and delectably illustrated by Smillie, tells the story of the Griffin family (Mum, Bren and our protagonist, Grace) whose job it is to maintain law and order in Moreland. Through some impressive portal technology and the help of their robotic raven, Watson, the three can travel throughout the land instantaneously in order to jump in and solve crimes.

Although Grace has yet to complete her warden training there comes a moment in which she must answer a distress call alone. In doing so though, she puts not only herself at risk but her whole family.

With a twisting, enjoyable plot set within a richly imagined future-world, The Griffin Gate is a promising start to a series. Great characters throughout, an enjoyable plot and all presented in Barrington Stoke's dyslexia-friendly, short-chaptered, packaging; it is a book for both the newly independent reader and the established one too.

I was so impressed with how much Hardy managed to fit into those 100 short pages and await the sequel with great anticipation. Smillie's illustrations are a delight.
Profile Image for Amy (Golden Books Girl).
891 reviews17 followers
December 17, 2020
In her first Barrington Stoke novella, Vashti Hardy tells the story of Grace Griffin, whose family is responsible for the safety of the world in which they live as they are Guardians of the Griffin Map, which allows them to teleport to the scene of a crime or emergency of any kind in order to help. I thought this was such an interesting concept, and this packs in a lot of plot for roughly around 100 pages- it sees Grace take on her first solo call, even though she’s not meant to until she’s 15 and properly trained. She’s a great heroine and I really liked her, but I have to admit the family raven Watson was the real star of the show, for my money! The plot was really interesting as well, and because it’s so short it’d be great to pick up and finish in one sitting. I’m definitely planning to pick up the Puffin Portal once it’s out!
46 reviews
July 12, 2021
At first I didn't know if I was going to like this but after the first couple pages I was engrossed.

Throught out the book you could feel tension and the suspense of the story line and I really enjoyed it as I haven't read a book like this before where there has been advanced technology like teleportation in a none Science fiction setting which I enjoyed.

I really enjoyed the bond between Grace and Watson as they both helped each other and with out each other the story wouldn't have played out the same.

I like how you didn't figure the plot or the character involved in the mystery before the story told you as it is unexpected at first but when looking back after reading you can see hints of the plot and characters throught the book.
Profile Image for Anthony Burt.
288 reviews1 follower
November 7, 2020
What a fantastic little adventure of a book the Griffin Gate is! Filled with an imaginative world of inventions and villains, Vashti gives us a brilliant story about how young Grace wants to join her family in becoming a Griffin warden.

Grace is not old enough to be a warden yet, but she is dragged into a weird conspiracy when she is sucked through the magical map the wardens use to travel across their world. This adventure - where she tries to help people but is held hostage instead by some nasty evildoers - is a brilliant first story in what I think will be a really great new series for Barrington Stoke!
50 reviews1 follower
January 12, 2021
This short middle-grade fantasy was a fun read. I wish it was longer as it really had a great concept and could have easily had an extra 100-200 pages. Giving the shortness of the book it wasn't as fleshed out as I would have liked and am hoping that there will be sequels that will do this, such as providing more information on the town's history before the griffin gate and how it became that, as well as background information on the characters.

I am definitely going to read more from Vashti Hardy, and would highly recommend this read as it is quick to pick up and a fun little adventure.
Profile Image for Krystal Campbell.
325 reviews73 followers
March 23, 2021
*A special thank you to Allen and Unwinded for my review copy*

This book was just what I needed. A cute adventurous middle grade read to break up the big chunky books I had been readying. I'm reviewing it for what it is not as an adult reader. This book is aimed at readers 7-12 but I would say 7-10 would enjoy it most.

Its a pleasurable read with a great main character and like all middle grade books it had a great message for children about believing in yourself, having now fear and trusting your family.

It also is full of thrilling twists and turns and the best level of action.
Profile Image for Lazyeyereader.
121 reviews
November 9, 2020
This was such a fun quick adventure... I love a good portal story hehe... in many ways it's classic and seen before... but there are elements that lifts it above that... I am taking a star because I was missing some atmosphere and character work... no one really has a personality... what I'm really saying is that this is REALLY written for children it is big texts on thick paper and you get straight to the point, no roundabout or scenery explaining...
Profile Image for Bekka.
48 reviews7 followers
November 12, 2020
This is quite a basic story in my opinion I feel it needed fleshing out in all areas really. I know it's going to be a series but it still seemed pretty plain considering what it could have been. The characters weren't developed really. It's a shame I think as this seemed like a cool idea for a story with the map and teleporting to fight crime etc. Hopefully in future books they'll be more detailed even just a little.
Profile Image for Kirsten Barrett.
207 reviews1 follower
December 6, 2020
Every book that Vashti has written I just love. This book is perfect for older pupils who are put off by the length of other novels. It uses language perfectly and still challenges the reader.
I love Barrington Stoke - I wish more publishers considered making the changes they have.
The story is an exciting adventure about Grace who wants to be seen as more than just a child who fidgets too much... Will her family trust her to take on more responsibility?
Profile Image for Dreximgirl.
1,053 reviews23 followers
December 19, 2020
This was a really cute middle grade, it was shorter than I was expecting and left me wanting more but the world set up was really well executed. I loved the idea of the gates on a map and liked that our main character was quite resourceful but by no means perfect. It was a fun adventure which wrapped up nicely, if a tad too quickly for me, and I want to read more by this author. She had an easy style of writing which I found enjoyable.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 75 reviews

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