Book Review: DARKWHISPERS by Vashti Hardy (Middle Grade Monday)

a yellow ship hanging under a big balloon with the title on
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Yes - second book



Book cover for DARKWHISPERS: A yellow ship hanging from a beige ballon bearing thr title flies above a sea bordered by jungle.

The Brightstorm twins are back for another adventure!

Eudora Vane has organized an explorer fleet to search the Eastern Isles, the last known destination of missing adventurer Ermitage Wrigglesworth. Harriet Culpepper and the crew of the Aurora join the mission, but they don’t believe that Eudora has good intentions. What is she really looking for?

Arthur is determined to find out, and when disaster strikes and the Brightstorm twins are separated, will he and Maudie be able to find their way back to each other?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I went straight from reading BRIGHTSTORM into this book, and I don’t regret ignoring the many books languishing on my shelves in favour of it. It is a brilliant sequel, matching the adventure and pacing of the first, and leaving me desperate to know what happens next.

I loved being able to stay in the Brightstorm’s world, particularly as this book expands it massively (we get maps! *happy dance*) The twins and the crew of the Aurora head eastwards, to the thirty or so islands in search of a missing explorer.

As these islands are unfamiliar to the twins (unlike the three continents of the first book), their excitement for new lands comes through to match the readers. The contrast of the icy goal and these tropical islands helps distinguish the books from one another. There are new creatures (the water-bear is the cutest) and a great secret Eudora wants to exploit.

The goal is discovery rather than a race for the pole and the need to uncover the truth about their father’s death. The frantic onwards push is missing, so there’s more time to explore the world, though the pacing is still gripping. I read this in one day while travelling on trains, and then was very upset I’d finished with half an hour more travel in a rowdy carriage!

Because the twins get split up about halfway through, they get a real chance for individual development. They’ve been together so far and been able to get each other through difficulties by spurring each other on. Apart means they have to think like the other in order to solve the problems facing them, because they each have half the required skillset.

I’m excited for the next book – there’s no word on when or what, but I’ve got my fingers crossed!

Read my reviews of other books by Vashti Hardy:

Sky-Ship Adventures (this series):

Ghost Machine Series:

Harley Hitch:


Griffin Gate (Barrington Stoke):

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