Vashti Hardy: Firesong (Scholastic 2022)
Vashti Hardy’s latest book is the final piece of the Brightstorm trilogy, which was published in May. Brightstorm was the writer’s debut novel. Since then, her books have won numerous awards and translated to several languages. Steampunk elements can always be found in her stories.
In the first volume of the trilogy, the Brightstorm twins, Maudie and Arthur learn that their father died on the expedition as he attempted to reach the South Polaris with his skyship. If that weren’t enough, he is even accused of trying to stop the other team from reaching their goal. The twins do not believe what Eudora Vane, the captain of the other skyship claims. There is only one way to find out the truth: they have to go to the Ice Continent and try to reach the South Polaris, so they join Harriet Culpepper and the Aurora crew, and the (first) great adventure of their lives begins.
In the sequel, Arthur and Maudie join a rescue mission launched by Eudora Vane to find a missing explorer. However, the twins and Harriet believe that their biggest enemy certainly does not want to find the man out of sheer kindness but has alterior motives. The clues lead them to the Eastern Islands, where they encounter strange creatures that no one has seen before.
In the third book, the twins head to the North in the footsteps of their parents. They want to visit the island where their father discovered the moth that became their family symbol. If Eudora Vane has seemingly changed, then why is she following the Aurora? The farther they travel, the more hidden secrets are revealed.
The final volume is unbelievably exciting as before, but its pace is slower and there are many more surprising twists in it. In addition to adventures, Arthur and Maudie also have to face the fact that they can’t stay together forever: they have to grow up once and they may no longer have the same goals. Finally, they understand that even if they are separated, their love for each other will always unite them. We can say that the world of the twins is in a parallel universe, or an alternative reality, or in another galaxy, but it is actually very similar to ours. Here, too, people forge their exploration under their own self-interest and do not care about other living beings. Our job is to watch over the Earth and make sure we have a future.
Although the story of the Brightstorm twins is over, others still have great adventures in their world, as the end of a story may be the beginning of another…