Grace is training to be a warden of the Griffin Map, fighting crime with the help of some smart teleportation technology. She’s keen to put her skills to the test, but her mother thinks she’s too young. When an opportunity to prove herself arises, Grace breaks the rules, and is catapulted into a complex and dangerous situation.
Grace is a relatable heroine with plenty of pluck, and Griffin Gate is a face-paced trip into an enigmatic world that we feel has the potential to be the setting for many more adventures.
We were particularly taken with Watson, the family’s mechanical raven, and Grace’s jumpsuit uniform, with pockets for everything (including a stun stick). Though the setting may be fantastical, the dynamics of Grace’s relationships – with her mum and particularly her big brother – ensured that it always felt real.
Like her weightier novels Brightstorm and Wilspark, Vashti Hardy has packed this story with imaginative technology and a sense of risk, ensuring that it is a beguiling introduction to the steam-punk genre, especially for first-time and slightly younger readers.
The Griffin Gate, by Vashti Hardy, ill Natalie Smillie (Barrington Stoke)