By Author / Illustrator
Vashti Hardy, illus George Ermos
Paperback / softback
A leap of faith in a race against time. When Princess Ganzorig's uncle falls gravely ill, she sneaks out of the Citadel to find a powerful cure, said to be guarded by the Serpent of the Sands. But is it only a story? Is she chasing false hope? But the further Gan travels, the more secrets are revealed - and the more she questions everything she believes...
A new adventure in the Brightstorm Chronicles series, this time featuring Princess Gan, a fan-favourite character from Firesong! Perfect for fans of The Cogheart Adventures, Sky Song, Dragon Mountain, and The Land of Roar.
Gan - Princess Ganzorig - has a real taste for adventure and when one of her beloved uncles, King Temur, falls dangerously ill, she sets off in her sky-ship, the Sky-archer, with Slink, a sapient gerbil who has taken a fancy to her and Thorn, a boy who's escaped from the slums of Lontown in search of a new life. She is intent on finding a cure, a plant said to be guarded by a powerful sapient, the Serpent of the Sands, although she fears this might only be a children's story. However, as she and her companions travel to incredible places, treachery is at hand and their journey is fraught with many perils - and secrets.
Brightstorm is one of my all-time favourite books to read to a class. Not only does it offer certain parallels to Shackleton's journey, making it an excellent accompaniment to learning about explorers, it is wonderful to read aloud, with rich descriptions, relatable characters and plenty of action and adventure.
Serpent of the Sands is the fourth of The Brightstorm Chronicles and, I am delighted to say, maintains the high standard set by the first! Gan is a wonderful character. Her impetuous nature, courage and kind heart are a winning combination. Thorn is a very different personality, balancing her impulsiveness, but coming up trumps when needed. Slink is bursting with character - sure to be a firm favourite with young readers! – and the other sapients they meet along the way are also well developed characters.
Vashti's world-building is second to none and once again, the reader is swept from location to location, each vividly brought to life and a perfect part of this world. A little map at the front of the book means that readers can plot Gan's journey across Nadvaaryn and communications between Gan and the Brightstorm twins mean that there is surely more to come from this wonderful series of stories. An excellent read from an excellent author!
416 pages / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+