The remarkable sci-fi adventures of Art and Myrtle Mumby continue in this excellent sequel to the critically acclaimed Larklight. With pitch perfect syntax and plenty of sly humor, Art and his prim big sister narrate their adventures in 1851 during a dazzlingly conjured Victorian age in which the British Empire has extended its renowned rail system and other cultural emblems far into outer space. The children and their mother, a 400-billion-year-old shape shifter with remarkable equanimity, believe themselves to have journeyed to the space resort of Starcross on vacation. There they uncover a dastardly plot and join forces with dashing adventurer Jack Havoc and a satisfying array of minor characters to save the Empire from a French secret agent and an invasion of Moobs. The latter are creatures from the future who assume the form of proper English top hats to turn their victims into zombie-like automatons. If at times the science grows a tad slippery or a species of wool-loving goblins a bit farcical, the action-packed plot more than makes up for that. Chapter headings are a marvelous mimic of 19th century novels like Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. A delightful entertainment, highly recommended for readers of either gender, with some of the freshest, most original writing in children’s books today. Reviewer: J. H. Diehl
School Library Journal
In this eagerly awaited sequel to the acclaimed Larklight (Bloomsbury, 2006), Art and Myrtle once again save the universe. When their home that floats through space is being redecorated, the Mumsbys receive an invitation for a fantastic free holiday at a new resort in the Asteroid Belt near Mars. Their mother, who happens to be 4 ½ thousand million years old, accompanies the children, expecting rest and relaxation. But nothing is as it seems at Starcross: the hotel slips back and forth through time; demonic puppets need dodging; guests are turned into trees; and top hats alter minds. Jack Havock, the notorious space pirate and object of Myrtle's affections, is there, in the employ of Her Majesty's Secret Service. With the help of Jack, his motley crew, and the Mumsbys, several attempts to invade the British Empire and attain universal domination are scuttled. Art narrates most of the story, turning things over to prim Myrtle, the absolute blight in his life, briefly. Tongue-in-cheek, hilarious, and wildly imaginative, this intergalactic adventure that knows no boundaries of time or space contains a message of acceptance of those who are different as well as social commentary on imperialism and on advertising. Wyatt's expressive and witty pen-and-ink drawings add to the whimsy and humor. As imaginative as Reeve's writing, they clarify the characters, settings, and situations. Starcross is every bit as amazing as its predecessor. Fans will be delighted to know that a third book is on the way, and that the series has been optioned for a movie. Imagine the special effects.
Connie Tyrrell BurnsCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"[T]he British Empire," declares Mrs. Emily Mumby, ancient superhuman creator of the Solar System and Art and Myrtle's mum, "stands on the brink of an invasion by highly intelligent hats from the future!" When the Mumbys travel to Starcross, a time-traveling seaside resort in the asteroid belt, they find themselves caught in a web of schemes most sinister: The proprietor of the resort, a hatter, has lured them there to take control of their minds with his evil Top-Notch Toppers in order to seize Mrs. Mumby's technology. But the hats have hegemonic designs of their own. Meanwhile, Jack Havock, space-pirate-turned-British-spy (and the object of Myrtle's affections), is on Starcross investigating a suspected French agent, who is determined to find and resurrect the wreckage of the fabled American privateer Liberty and use it to topple the British Empire. Toss in a handful of knitting goblins, a super-intelligent plant, "the Cockney Nightingale" and a healthy helping of quintessentially Victorian pomposity and pride in Empire, and the result is a romp that lives up to the standard set by Larklight (2006), its wildly imaginative predecessor. Huzzah! (Fiction. 10-14)