Saturday, 4 October 2008

Starcross - Philip Reeve

This is the second of Reeve’s ‘Larklight’ series. Like its predecessor, it is a wonderful, delicious, ripping yarn. And as a bonus, the beautifully written narrative is copiously illustrated by David Wyatt. Between them, Reeve and Wyatt have created a reading experience that is truly pleasurable.

Of course, it is a given that you are able to enjoy this kind of steam punk extravaganza with its British Empire in space, ships flying under the power of Newtonian alchemy, and tongue firmly in cheek. If you don’t, then you may wonder what the fuss is about. It is certainly a very different kind of story to Reeve’s ‘Mortal Engines’ quartet – although an underlying similarity can be seen.

What all of Reeve’s work has in common is good writing. Having seen some of his early pre-publication material, it is clear he is an author that works hard at his craft. Having wonderful flights of imagination and construction alternative worlds and intriguing plots is one thing. Giving voice to those stories is quite another. And Mr Colfer, take note. The time travelling element was handled with far greater plausibility than your own recent attempt.

The Larklight books are a perfect blend of art and craft, lit by a vivid imagination and a wicked sense of humour. I am certainly looking forward to the next, and rather hoping there may be more (but only if the author and illustrator think they can do it justice, rather than because the market demands).