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Mothstorm: The Horror from Beyond Uranus Georgium Sidus! Hardcover – October 14, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Larklight Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—As the Mumby family gathers to celebrate Christmas at Larklight, their Earth-orbiting home, a dire message arrives alerting them of a "Great Danger" threatening the universe. The family sets off across the solar system to Georgium Sidus (aka Uranus) to find out what is wrong. So begins Art and Myrtle Mumby's latest space adventure. The danger turns out to be the Mothmaker, a malevolent Shaper or creator of planetary systems. It is determined to conquer the worlds, including Earth, created by another Shaper, Mrs. Mumby, and enslave the creatures, including humans, created by her. A series of exciting and entertaining episodes involving various characters and imaginative creatures leads up to a final confrontation between the Mothmaker and Art, Myrtle, and their companions at Balmoral Castle. While the story is told primarily from the point of view of Art, who is prone to use inflated language, Myrtle's diary entries are inserted throughout and include amusing commentary. The unlikely, somewhat awkward romance between the prim and proper Myrtle and Jack Havock is back on, much to Art's chagrin. Mothmaker is a clever blending of genres including science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, and adventure with a liberal dash of British humor and style. One might describe it as a cross between science fiction, action movie, soap opera, and situation comedy. In sum, it's simply a jolly good read.—Jennifer D. Montgomery, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

After two stirring adventures in a row (Larklight, 2006, and Starcross, 2007), Art Mumby is looking forward to a well-deserved holiday. He and his sister, Myrtle, and their remarkable parents are welcoming Jack Havock and the gallant crew of the Sophronia to a Yuletide feast just as a space gunboat arrives. The HMS Actaeon bears old friends Sir Richard Burton and his wife, Ulla, but it also brings shocking news. An intercepted distress signal warns of an unknown peril from an uncharted sphere. Before you can say “Great Scott!” Art, Myrtle, and friends find themselves once again in a sticky situation, this time involving a vast cloud of Giant Moths, an Evil Shaper, and other assorted threats to the universe. Art, aided by inserts from Myrtle’s diary, relates the tale of British pluck triumphing once again. Reeve’s tongue is still firmly planted in his cheek, and this wacky series soars on, providing a galaxy of laughs, imaginative characters, and faster-than-light plotting all tied up with a Victorian bow. Huzzah for the Queen, the Empire, and the Larklight series! Grades 5-8. --Lynn Rutan

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1130L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; 1st edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599903032
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599903033
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.3 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Space. It's so done, isn't it? Nine times out of ten the stories that take place in outer space are just metaphors for cowboys anyway. Star Wars. Star Trek. Firefly. Some work better than others, but the idea of a sci-fi space-based children's book would, under normal circumstances, do nothing to lift the rate of my pulse. Obviously this must have occurred to author Philip Reeve as well. Best known until now for his The Hungry City Chronicles, Reeve turns his sights on his nation's dirty past. But what if that dirty past were transposed into the outer regions of space? A space where breathing in zero gravity isn't really a problem, there are aliens galore, and the British figured out how to conquer the universe when Isaac Newton figured out space travel? Suddenly things are looking a lot more interesting.

Living on a lonely little home floating not too far from their beloved Earth, young Art Mumby and his older sister Myrtle have only known Larklight as their home. After their mother disappeared a couple years ago, however, their father has become increasingly lost in his own private world. That all changes when suddenly when, without warning, Larklight and its denizens (robot servants and otherwise) are attacked by giant, vicious spiders. Art and Myrtle barely escape with their lives and in doing so come in direct contact with the infamous space pirate Jack Havock (approximate age: 14). It appears that there was always more to Larklight than met the eye, and when the siblings are split apart they must individually find a way to defeat a nefarious villain, save the British empire, and recover the ones they love.
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Format: Hardcover
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 Mortal Engines (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.
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Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to like this book. It seemed like exactly the kind of thing I've been waiting for without realizing it. But it fell short for me. For some reason I just couldn't get into it. I can't put my finger on it, but I never really got very involved, and I didn't really find myself looking forward to continuing it each day. The only parts that were compelling to me were Myrtle's diary chapters. Perhaps that's the thing, that the rest of the writing felt too detached, like I was watching it from afar instead of feeling involved.

The two biggest problems I had were as follows:

1) The character of Myrtle was too annoying for too long. I knew that the idea was that she'd redeem herself, but there was nothing endearing about her that made me want anything other than for her to just disappear from the story all together. Later in the book her diary pages were good, but that was because they mostly dropped the annoying aspects of her character.

2) I didn't find the spiders to be even remotely plausible. That's a problem since they're what the whole story is about. Yes, I know this is a wild fantasy, but even within the reality of the book they didn't feel right to me.

I'm giving the book 4 stars though because I do believe that its target audience will enjoy it more than I did (I'm not a kid). It's not a bad book, it's just that, well, as my review title says, it could have been better. The retro-future Victorian sci-fi world was a lot of fun and hopefully future installments will keep all of the good elements from this book and improve on the less stellar ones (no pun intended). At least in the next book Myrtle (theoretically) won't be so annoying.

Almost forgot: some of the little inside jokes were fun, such as the interpolation of a bit of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds."
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