Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Review: Malamander by Thomas Taylor and Tom Booth


It’s winter in the town of Eerie-on-Sea, where the mist is thick and the salt spray is rattling the windows of the Grand Nautilus Hotel. Inside, young Herbert Lemon, Lost and Founder for the hotel, has an unexpected visitor. It seems that Violet Parma, a fearless girl around his age, lost her parents at the hotel when she was a baby, and she’s sure that the nervous Herbert is the only person who can help her find them. The trouble is, Violet is being pursued at that moment by a strange hook-handed man. And the town legend of the Malamander — a part-fish, part-human monster whose egg is said to make dreams come true — is rearing its scaly head. As various townspeople, some good-hearted, some nefarious, reveal themselves to be monster hunters on the sly, can Herbert and Violet elude them and discover what happened to Violet’s kin? This lighthearted, fantastical mystery, featuring black-and-white spot illustrations, kicks off a trilogy of fantasies set in the seaside town.

I read this a couple months ago but it took me a while to review it, because my 9yo daughter stole it from me.

I have it (the ARC) back, and I can tell you Sheridan and I both give it a thumbs-up! Herbert and Violet are refreshingly unique characters who are at the same time easy to relate to. Savvy readers may figure out parts of the mystery, but the secondary characters (equally intriguing) will still keep them guessing. While some, such as the blustering hotel manager, lean towards stereotypes, others have more three-dimensional characteristics that will hopefully be expanded upon in future books. Even the Malamander is not quite evil, yet doesn't turn out to be cute and fuzzy either.

My ARC only had a few illustrations ready, but they were vividly drawn and enhanced the writing perfectly.

A promising beginning to a funny and clever trilogy!

No comments:

Post a Comment