I wish I weren’t about to say it, but I actually kind of hated Vashti Hardy’s Brightstorm. A steampunk adventure illustrated by George Ermos, by all means, Brightstorm should have been a book that I loved. It had all the right elements; cool gadgets, diverse characters (Arthur is disabled), strong female role models, and an exciting world all were cleverly packed within the confines of this novel. And yet, I didn’t enjoy a second of it.
Brightstorm was painfully predictable.
This was probably the worst thing about the whole novel. I knew from the very beginning everything that was going to happen. Literally, nothing surprised me, making me wonder how this was meant to have any sort of mystery aspect to it at all. I pinpointed all of the events quite easily; I knew what had happened to the children’s missing father and who was behind it all. Every supposed twist was just too easy to decipher.
This, coupled with the, at times, drag-on writing that was really difficult to get into and the somewhat ridiculous creatures that popped up near the end and I just couldn’t take it. I’m honestly amazed that I even finished the book, though I suppose a part of me just wanted to confirm that my theories were correct.
Speaking of the magical talking creatures…
Honestly, what was up with that?
They were so out of the blue and out of place that I just did not understand their purpose. I mean, they moved the plot along a bit, which makes me think back to deus ex machina again. I can be a bit more forgiving of this in children’s novels, but for some reason, it just irked me with Brightstorm.
I also just didn’t buy their reasoning for caring about the kids. Nor did I buy their willingness to help and the events that befell them as a result. Magically, Arthur and Maudie managed to gain their compassion and trust. It was kind of ridiculous. And so we get all this buildup and all this adventure and I’m just left unnecessarily sad and disappointed.
The ending was kind of awful.
It’s not what I expected for a middlegrade novel. I won’t say much more as I do not want to give away any spoilers, but I just found it to be somewhat anticlimactic. I was able to predict what had happened, which that in and of itself is sort of a problem for me considering the fact that most middlegrade books wouldn’t go in that direction. But it also just made their entire adventure seem…purposeless.
Like, they go through all of that and this was the end? What was the point, then?
And while I won’t say that this book is horrendously written, I personally don’t think I would have enjoyed it as a kid. It often took too long to go where I needed to be, the exciting portions were dulled buy odd additions, and it all led to something not so great at all. Again, I really find myself just asking one single question in regards to this book.
What was the point?
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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