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

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Overview

Arthur (Art) Mumsby and his irritating sister Myrtle live with their father in a huge and rambling house called Larklight…that just happens to be traveling through outer space. When a visitor called Mr. Webster arrives for a visit, it is far from an innocent social call. Before long Art and Myrtle are off on an adventure to the furthest reaches of space, where they will do battle with evil forces in order to save each other—and the universe. A fantastically original Victorian tale set in an outer space world that...

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Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space

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Overview

Arthur (Art) Mumsby and his irritating sister Myrtle live with their father in a huge and rambling house called Larklight…that just happens to be traveling through outer space. When a visitor called Mr. Webster arrives for a visit, it is far from an innocent social call. Before long Art and Myrtle are off on an adventure to the furthest reaches of space, where they will do battle with evil forces in order to save each other—and the universe. A fantastically original Victorian tale set in an outer space world that might have come from the imaginations of Jules Verne or L Frank Baum, but has a unique gravitational pull all its own…

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
On the surface, Larklight doesn't seem very different from any other huge, sprawling Victorian mansion. But the abode of Arthur Mumsby, his irritating sister Myrtle, and their father doesn't sit on some London street; it moves in a mysterious orbit far beyond the moon. But even that peculiarity will seem slight after the arrival of a visitor named Mr. Webster, who will set the Mumbys on an uncharted course toward the farthest reaches of the universe. A magical story that seems a hybrid of Jules Verne and L. Frank Baum.
Publishers Weekly
Reeve (the Hungry City Chronicles) evidently has a fascination with giant, mobile structures, but here he turns his considerable talent to a whimsical story of Victorian houses floating in space, a Jules Verne-like concoction filtered through the sensibilities of Douglas Adams. Art and Myrtle live with their scientist father in a "shapeless, ramshackle, drafty, lonely sort of house" called Larklight. After fleeing an attack from space spiders, the siblings, adrift on a lifeboat, find themselves on the moon, then aboard the ship of legendary pirate Jack Havock. Readers travel a lot of very strange ground, from the Changeling Trees of Venus and their poisonous pollen, to the offices of the Royal Xenological Institute. Art and Jack discover that the spiders were in fact man's precursors in this universe, and the mad Dr. Ptarmigan is working to help the arachnids reclaim it. Larklight itself is a key piece of the puzzle, as is Art's mother, who was presumed dead and who turns out to be alive and much, much older than anyone suspected ("I was a Dinosaur for a while so invigorating!"). Reeve's humor is oh-so-British and utterly entertaining (the moon is "actually a bit of a dump"; Uranus has been renamed Georgium Sidum because "it provides less opportunity for cheap jokes"), and Wyatt's full-page pen-and-inks and spot illustrations enhance the sense of delight. The climax is an absolute hoot, and leaves the door wide open for any number of sequels. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Elisabeth Greenberg
This rollicking alternative world fantasy sucks the reader into Art Mumby's world, a world in which Newton's discovery of gravity led to extraordinary houses floating in space and human forays to Mars and farther. Art Mumby's world turns topsy-turvy when white spiders invade his house, Larklight. He and his prissy Victorian sister, Myrtle, escape in their lifeboat. While Art is delighted to escape Myrtle's stumbling exercises on the piano, he quickly falls into worse and worse circumstances—trapped by a potter moth on the moon and left as food for its grub, then rescued by an insouciant boy space pirate Captain Jack Havock and his crew, escapees from the Royal Xenological Institute. The adventures come fast and furious as Myrtle is kidnapped and is off on adventures of her own, Captain Jack and Art venture into the depths of the wind-race of Jupiter to ask guidance of Thunderhead, and Jack and Art with their trusty crew discover the spiders' plan to take over the universe. Laced with sly Victorian allusions to Captain Richard Burton, explorer extraordinaire, and Dickens's serials hitting the papers on Farpoo, beautifully illustrated throughout in fantastical and comical line drawings, this book is a treasure to hold and read. Naturally, these Victorian space adventurers save the queen, regain their family and home (while discovering even more outrageous secrets of the universe), and not only make friends with some wild and weird creatures, but, just maybe, begin their first forays into adolescent love. This wonderfully imaginative story would make a perfect gift for any adventurous preteen.
VOYA - Teresa Copeland
What if space and other planets had atmospheres and civilizations? What if the Victorian Empire extended to the moons of Jupiter, with sailing ships powered by alchemy? Myrtle and Arthur live in such a world on Larklight, a large, rambling old house that floats in earth's orbit. There they collect space fish for their father, who studies them, and generally lead a boring life. The arrival of Mr. Webster and a ship of spiders intent on stealing their house sends the siblings on a mad adventure that ranges from London to Saturn. They get help from pirates, strange creatures, explorer Richard Burton, and the great storm of Jupiter while they work to thwart the spiders' plans to take over the solar system and figure out what it is that makes Larklight so important. Written like a nineteenth-century travelogue, the story features Art as narrator and commentator, occasionally inserting pages from Myrtle's diary, notes, and asides that further explain the world, and referring to Wyatt's wonderfully detailed etching-style illustrations. At times Art's voice is pretentious and annoying, with British pluck taken to the extreme. Reeve fills his characters with stereotypes of the Victorian era, including the attitudes toward non-Europeans as savages and heathens, pushing them to the point of absurdity. The characters grow up a lot, and the plot twists and turns tightly, with a few subtly foreshadowed surprises and plenty of adventure. This fun read will appeal mostly to fans of the steampunk genre.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-This wildly imaginative sci-fi pirate adventure has tongue-in-cheek humor and social commentary on accepting those who are different, among other things. Art Mumby and his sister, Myrtle, proud citizens of the British Empire, which in 1851 includes extraterrestrial territories, live with their father in Larklight, a rambling house that just happens to be traveling through outer space. The arrival of elephant-sized white spiders sets in motion an adventure that takes the quibbling siblings across the universe to battle the forces of evil. The spiders, the First Ones, want the key to Larklight in order to destroy the Empire and rule again. Art and Myrtle, thinking their father dead in the spiders' webs, escape their home, only to be rescued by the notorious space pirate Jack Havock. His ship sails the lunar sea with its crew, including Ssilissa, a human-sized blue lizard, and a gigantic land crab named Nipper. Art is the narrator, but when he and his sister are separated, readers are treated to Myrtle's prim and proper diary entries. With the help of Jack and his merry band, good triumphs, the family is reunited, and Myrtle and Jack begin a romance. Reeve's cinematic prose describes his fantastic universe while also conveying a Victorian sensibility. Whimsical, detailed black-and-white illustrations enhance the text. Readers will eagerly suspend disbelief; they will be riveted by the exciting plot's twists and turns as our heroes face death-defying adventures and narrow escapes, all at a frenetic pace. As Art would declare, "Huzzah!"-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The glory of Empire meets Star Trek in this space fantasy-picaresque that Edgar Rice Burroughs would have loved. Staunch British citizens Art Mumby and older sister Myrtle live in Larklight, a free-floating home just on the other side of the Moon. When giant white spiders invade and attack their father, the two escape, propelled into a series of adventures that bring them into contact with Jack Havock, teen pirate, his crew of xenomorphs upon the aether-ship Sophronia, Sir Richard Burton, agent of Her Majesty's Secret Service on Mars and Thunderhead, the vast intelligence that is the Red Spot of Jupiter. Reeve brilliantly creates a world where the environs of space are governed by credibly 19th-century assumptions: Interplanetary travel takes place in wooden vessels; the aether has enough oxygen for our dauntless characters to breathe; and a panoply of whimsical aliens populates the solar system. Art, the quintessential boy, narrates this rip-roaring adventure, allowing his very ladylike sister's diary to fill in the holes when they are separated, and the interplay between the two is priceless in itself. Jolly good fun, all around. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599901459
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 8/21/2007
  • Series: Larklight Series , #1
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 230,796
  • Age range: 10 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 7.87 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Reeve worked in a bookshop and produced and directed several theater projects before embarking on a career as an illustrator and a writer. His first novel, Mortal Engines, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children's Book Award and won the GOLD Nestle Smarties book prize. He lives in Devon, England, with his wife and their son.

David Wyatt has illustrated books and covers for authors including Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Diana Wynne-Jones, Alan Garner, and J. R. R. Tolkien. He lives in Devon, England.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

    When eleven-year-old Art Mumby finds out that a visitor is arriving at his run-down home, Larklight, which floats in space beyond the moon, he hardly expects to be thrust into a frightening adventure of pirates, plates, and a millenium-long conflict upon which the fate of the solar system rests. He tells the story of this adventure in LARKLIGHT (occasionally giving his older sister, Myrtle, a chance to narrate via her diary), and the story is nothing if not fantastic. <BR/><BR/>Philip Reeve (author of the HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES) has created another fascinating world in LARKLIGHT. Art lives in the Victorian society of the 1800's--or rather, what Victorian society would have looked like if they'd developed space travel, and astronomy worked according to early speculations about aether (an air-like substance in space that people can move and breathe in), and interplanetary beings (Venus, Mars, and the moons of Jupiter are all home to a variety of life forms). Reeve cuts no corners, painting the cities and citizens of the solar system in dazzling detail. The setting is a gorgeous mix of fantasy and science fiction, and fans of both genres will find much to enjoy. <BR/><BR/>If the world wasn't exciting enough on its own, the adventure is of the edge-of-your-seat variety. Art and Myrtle tumble from one tense situation to another with alarming frequency. Most chapters end on cliffhangers, so be prepared to have trouble finding a place to pause. Reeve throws in enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing right until the end, and both Art and Myrtle get the chance to play hero. <BR/><BR/>Art, as the main character, is not yet a teen himself, so teens may find his narration a little immature for their liking. If they're willing to give him a chance, though, they will discover that LARKLIGHT is a fast-paced, imaginative journey well worth taking.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    When eleven-year-old Art Mumby finds out that a visitor is arriving at his run-down home, Larklight, which floats in space beyond the moon, he hardly expects to be thrust into a frightening adventure of pirates, plates, and a millenium-long conflict upon which the fate of the solar system rests. He tells the story of this adventure in LARKLIGHT (occasionally giving his older sister, Myrtle, a chance to narrate via her diary), and the story is nothing if not fantastic. Philip Reeve (author of the HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES) has created another fascinating world in LARKLIGHT. Art lives in the Victorian society of the 1800's--or rather, what Victorian society would have looked like if they'd developed space travel, and astronomy worked according to early speculations about aether (an air-like substance in space that people can move and breathe in), and interplanetary beings (Venus, Mars, and the moons of Jupiter are all home to a variety of life forms). Reeve cuts no corners, painting the cities and citizens of the solar system in dazzling detail. The setting is a gorgeous mix of fantasy and science fiction, and fans of both genres will find much to enjoy. If the world wasn't exciting enough on its own, the adventure is of the edge-of-your-seat variety. Art and Myrtle tumble from one tense situation to another with alarming frequency. Most chapters end on cliffhangers, so be prepared to have trouble finding a place to pause. Reeve throws in enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing right until the end, and both Art and Myrtle get the chance to play hero. Art, as the main character, is not yet a teen himself, so teens may find his narration a little immature for their liking. If they're willing to give him a chance, though, they will discover that LARKLIGHT is a fast-paced, imaginative journey well worth taking. **Reviewed by: Lynn Crow

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    An Amazing Book

    This is a fantastic book that I think everyone should read! I have read it many times, and after every read it is still my favorite book. It combines many elements of writing, and will surley provide interest for every reader imaginable. Mr. Reeve managages to combine impossibly futuristic ideas with the charm and thrill of old England. The fast paced adventure will keep you going through this amazing ew world, offering new twists and turns, ensuring that bordom never intervenes in the weaving of this spectacular tale. Read it now!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME

    Every child should read the trilogy. Fast or slow, this series is grrat for readers of all ages.

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  • Posted September 28, 2010

    Something You Must Read!!!

    Larklight is a great book. You never know what's going to happen next. Art and Myrtle Tumble live in their house called Larklight that floats though outer space. One day, unexpectedly spiders show up and try to eat them! Art and Myrtle leave their house and get on a pirate ship. After they over stay their welcome, the pirates drop them off on a planet. Art gets hit in the head by a meteorite. He wakes up and can't see, he hears something by his feet. Soon enough he figures out he is wrapped in a cocoon for worms to be eaten alive! He is injected with poison so he can't move. Finally Myrtle saves him from the cocoon. Then they return to their home that the spiders had torn up. This a great book for teenagers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    Wonderful fun

    This is one of the best children's books to appear in years. Funny, exciting, and imaginative. Plucky Victorian children in space -- or, as they call it, aether -- encounter hostile invading spiders, mushroom people, and space pirates. The British navy sails between the planets, keeping the Empire safe. Huzzah!

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  • Posted January 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Delightfull steampunk romp...

    Larklight is an excelent romp though a steampunk solar system, much lighter than the author's "Hungry City Chronicles". Filled with inside jokes from War of the Worlds to Pirates of the Carribean it takes nothing too seriouly even as it lays out situation of blackest peril from the depths of space.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2008

    Wild ride in a Sci-fi world only a great author can come up with

    I loved reading Larklight. It was so good I only stopped reading it to go to sleep. 'And that was at 11:00pm'I like books that leave you at the end saying wow!! This book sure did that. I can't wait to read Starcross

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2008

    Nice

    I loved this book. At first I didn't think that I would like it. It just wasn't the type of books that I normally read. But it was just about the only book left on my AR level at my school, so I checked it out of the library, and it took me like 3 days to read it. It was one of the best books I have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2007

    Excelleny, funny, and fun!

    The reason I picked up this book was because it had won an award in my town. When I began it, I immediately felt a strong dislike to it. It felt boring, drab, and the dilouge just seemed so dull. And it may seem like that to you too when you begin it, however... Give it a chance! I did, and I surely didn't regret it! The story get's a lot better later on, and it evolves from a wierd, dull tale to a rich, and funny story. I'd read it again and again. Trust me, once you get to about page 50, it'll get a lot better!

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    Posted May 12, 2010

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    Posted January 28, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2008

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    Posted May 2, 2011

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