Published by Allen & Unwin on November 1st 2017
Genres: Children's Fiction, Fantasy
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I was ten years old when my parents were killed by pirates. This did not bother me as much as you might think - I hardly knew my parents.
Bronte Mettlestone's parents ran away to have adventures when she was a baby, leaving her to be raised by her Aunt Isabelle and the Butler. She's had a perfectly pleasant childhood of afternoon teas and riding lessons - and no adventures, thank you very much.
But Bronte's parents have left extremely detailed (and bossy) instructions for Bronte in their will. The instructions must be followed to the letter, or disaster will befall Bronte's home. She is to travel the kingdoms and empires, perfectly alone, delivering special gifts to her ten other aunts. There is a farmer aunt who owns an orange orchard and a veterinarian aunt who specialises in dragon care, a pair of aunts who captain a cruise ship together and a former rockstar aunt who is now the reigning monarch of a small kingdom.
Now, armed with only her parents' instructions, a chest full of strange gifts and her own strong will, Bronte must journey forth to face dragons, Chief Detectives and pirates - and the gathering suspicion that there might be something more to her extremely inconvenient quest than meets the eye...
Jaclyn Moriarty’s latest release, The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone (apart from having the longest title ever) is a middle-grade adventure bursting with the author’s trademark quirky style.
I first fell in love with Jaclyn’s unusual storytelling with The Colours of Madeleine series, and have been recommending them to people ever since. While I was unsure how her style might translate into a book for younger readers, I’m pleased to report that I was delighted.
Bronte Mettlestone is a headstrong young girl, who has lived with her aunt ever since her parents abandoned her with them as a baby. Eleven years later, she hears that they have been killed by pirates, and they left her an enchanted list of tasks she must perform – delivering gifts to each of her aunts around the Kingdoms and Empires, on cruise ships, up mountains, against pirates and Whisperers.
As Bronte visits each of her aunts and has adventures of all sorts, she gradually pieces together a view of her parents which is quite different to how she’d been picturing them all these years. She discovers things about herself, and about what she can do, when she sets her mind to it.
The writing is simple enough that young readers will be able to follow it, yet as an older reader, there are complexities in the story that had me smiling or gasping, even blinking away tears now and then. Truly a book to be enjoyed by a range of ages.
Not only is the story delightful, but the production of this Allen & Unwin version is beautiful. The hardback has gold foil on the cover and the illustrations by Kelly Canby add an extra whimsical nature to the story. This would make the perfect gift for the small adventure-lover in your life (or for yourself!).
This is not the end of the story, either. The next volume, Spindrift, is due in 2018. I can’t wait.