Let’s agree to ignore how many times I will use the word fun in this review, ok?
Because that is what Malamander is … just plain, good old fashioned fun.
This creepy, misty, chilly, middle grade mystery adventure combines so many elements that I love in a middle grade that was just so much … fun 😀
Herbie Lemon is the official Lost-and-founder of the Grand Nautilus hotel – a grand, old hotel that resides in the seaside tourist town of Eerie-on-Sea. It is his job to reunite lost objects with their owners.
When Violet Parma unexpectedly crawls into his window one snowy night, insisting on his help locating her parents, Herbie must combine his talents of investigation and knowledge of the strange little seaside town he calls home. As the investigation continues oddities like an enchanted ruby egg belonging to the mysterious sea monster – the Malamander – turn up along with some characters of ill intent … a ghostly man with a hook for a hand and a dangerous enemy intent on stealing the egg that allegedly can grant wishes.
This is such a wild ride and truly difficult to explain all the moving pieces that make up this story. Usually this spells catastrophe in a novel but Thomas Taylor does such a great job weaving all these pieces together to create such a totally believable, unbelievable fantasy story.
Crazy cool inventions like Cameraluna’s and an animated Monkey that dispenses special index cards to match a person to a special book and talking cats and eclectic characters and strong friendships combine with a misty, seaside village that is just as much a character as Herbie and Violet.
Both Herbie and Violet are fun characters with strong individual voices and brave spirits. The kind of characters you love to root for equally. Side characters, while having brief roles, all have such strong voices that really buoy this short story – like the beach comber Mrs. Fossil and Seegol, the tender-hearted owner of Seegol’s Diner.
Truly a book that has to be read to be fully appreciated, and is such a wild, adventurous ride; a no-brainer for those who enjoy middle grade reads that combine heart, mystery, magic and crazy imagination.
Did I mention, fun?