Reviews /

Serpent of the Sands

Authored by Vashti Hardy
Published by Scholastic

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The fourth novel in the Brightstorm Chronicles, Serpent of the Sands¬†continues the tale established in Brightstorm from 2018. Serpent of the Sands follows Gan from Nadvaaryn and starts a new thread in the saga of interconnected novels. However, Serpent of the Sands can be read without having read the previous novels and would act as a lively introduction for those who have not yet entered Hardy’s world of mythology, adventure and mystery.

Princess Ganzorig is the heir to the Nadvaaryn throne and has been trained to step into the shoes of her uncles, Kings Temur and Batzorig after the death of her parents. She is bound by duty, expectations and decorum but Gan wants adventure and exploration. She has had some experience of exploring and she does not want to stop because of her duties in the Citadel and to Nadvaaryn.

Uncle Temur is very ill and Gan recalls a story her mother told her when she was small about a mythological serpent who held the cure to mystery ailments in the past. What if it wasn’t a mere story? What if Gan could find the Sapient Serpent and cure her Uncle Temur, further delaying her calling to the throne and her duty to her people? She sneaks away in the night via the Sky-ship, Sky-archer, that she has built to find the Serpent and the cure. As she travels, the adventures unfold and she learns the truth behind the myths shared with the children of the Citadel. Alongside a stowaway from Lontown that she rescues, Thorn, can she find the cure for the unknown sickness plaguing the Citadel?

Thanks to a string of adventures and scrapes, Gan realises that her duty is important but that it’s hard to fulfil your duty when you love adventures as much as she does.

Serpent of the Sands highlights that Gan can use her love of adventure to attend to her duty and responsibility as a defender of her family, their kingdom and her people. Along the way she learns important lessons, the most important being the pursuit of patience.

A brilliant adventure story for upper KS2 and younger KS3 readers. Hardy builds a unique world that feels authentic and engaging and this book, and the series that it comes from, will feed the imaginations of young readers. I’m heading out to get the other three novels so that I can read around the world that Hardy has created but I’m also waiting impatiently for the follow-up to Gan’s adventures. Perhaps a closer look at the world of the House of Chimes and the lessons for patience would be useful for this reader too.