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Thanks to NetGalley and Norton Young Readers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: March 16th, 2021

416 Pages

Synopsis: The ragtag crew of Captain Harriet Culpepper, is off on another adventure! Ermitage Wrigglesworth, the notable explorer and author, has been reported missing in Stella Oceanus to the east. Twins Arthur and Maudie are eager to answer the call of adventure to find him, but their old nemesis and newly discovered aunt, Eudora Vane, is also on the hunt. As Lontown’s most famous explorer families set sail aboard their sky-ships, it soon becomes clear that Eudora’s not just after the missing explorer. There’s a secret she’s chasing, something Wrigglesworth had discovered before he vanished, something that definitely shouldn’t be in Eudora Vane’s hands. The Aurora’s crew will have to journey to uncover Wrigglesworth’s secret first, and will discover new lands and new friends along the way… (Goodreads)

Darkwhispers is the sequel to last year’s Brightstorm, and in my humble opinion, an equally brilliant middle school fantasy/science fiction novel, that’s perfect for fans of authors like Philip Pullman. It’s filled with exciting adventure just as the previous book was, with familiar characters and intriguing new ones.

In this entry, the twins each begin to set forth on their own paths and you can just begin to glimpse the remarkable adults they’ll develop into. The mystery itself is a fun and twisty one, especially when the villainous Eudora Vane gets involved. I especially appreciated the additional insight provided, through the memories of her relationship with the twins mother. It made me somewhat sympathetic toward her, although that was temporary. A beloved character meets their demise, but even that was handled imaginatively.

I grew fearful near the end that perhaps this was going to finish as a duology, which had me deeply disappointed, because I’ve grown quite attached to Maudie, Arthur, Harriet, and the rest of the crew of the Aurora, but something occured in the last couple of pages that has me thinking there will be another book. I cannot recommend Brightstorm and Darkwhispers enough. They’re creative, unique, and although technically written for upper elementary through middle school readers, are bound to appeal to adult readers who enjoy these genres as well. They truly are a perfect escape that you will find yourself easily lost in!