This is the second book in the trilogy, and I admit it’s the weakest of the three. It still outdoes almost any other children’s book on the market.
Yes, you can read this book without reading either of the others (although there are some spoilers if you read this one and then the first book).
The characters are gripping, the adventures blood-curdling (and downright fun), and the world(s) are brilliantly inventive and make complete sense in their own unique way (steampunks will particularly enjoy references to the aether). The illustrations are as wondrous as ever. Art Mumby (age twelve) is our intrepid narrator, with occasional divergence into the diaries of his sister Myrtle (age fourteen), who is still Somewhat Embarrassed over the incident with Her Majesty. Jack the space pirate (and his crew of orphans) makes a welcome reappearance. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, but I can assure you that Things Are Not As They Seem and there shall be Mortal Peril around every corner.
A fitful breeze was blowing dust devils between the wheels of the bathing machines which waited mournfully in the starlight at the desert’s edge. All else was as dry and still and silent as the land of Death.
‘How long has the tide been out?’ she asked.
‘About one hundred million years.’
‘And when does it come back in?’
‘Oh, every twelve hours or so.’
‘How very intriguing.’
Rating: G (unless you have a child who’s unusually phobic of alien creatures)
Warning: Philip Reeve also writes very excellent, very dark books that are definitely NOT child-friendly.