15 Oct 2015

ALISTAIR GRIM'S ODDITORIUM.

'Steampunk: a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.' 
- The Oxford Dictionary.

Hmm, not what I'd in any way, shape or form describe as science fiction but given the above definition steampunk it most certainly is and as such I think I should celebrate my reading my first ever steampunk novel.

Anyway, without further ado I bring you ...

ALISTAIR GRIM'S ODDITORIUM by GREGORY FUNARO (With illustrations by CHRIS MOULD).

BACK COVER BLURB: An enchanting book set in a world where the odd is ordinary, evil has many faces and love is the most powerful magic of them all.

Twelve-year-old Grubb lives a hand-to-mouth existence in Victorian England, working as a chimney sweep under a cruel master. After an incident at an inn, he hides in the trunk of one of its guests, the enigmatic Alistair Grim, and is whisked away to his Odditorium, a wonderful flying house full of incredible mechanical features powered by an enigmatic substance called animus.

Now apprenticed to Grim, Grubb begins to settle into his new life and find a new family in the eccentric crew of the Odditorium, when suddenly his new world comes under attack by the evil Prince Nightshade and he is propelled into a perilous quest. As he gets caught up in the struggle, Grubb will learn valuable lessons and discover remarkable secrets about himself and his new host.

Apologies. Contains some spoilers, simply scroll over to hi-light the text.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One: Grubb with a double B}: The odd was the ordinary in Alistair Grim's.

MEMORABLE Moment {Page 184}: The bats nodded their mechanical heads and chomped their mechanical jaws.

"Right-o then, off you go!" And with a loud clap of his hands the big man sent the bats scattering away in every direction. "Safe and sound, children!" he called after them. "Safe and sound!"

SOURCE: Another great book in the Junior Collection from Alma Books.

MY THOUGHTS: What can I say? Wonderful plot, magical characters - who would have thought I'd fall in love with a watch, an old-fashioned wind-up pocket watch at that?. 

Better, in my humble opinion, than Harry Potter to which I'm constantly hearing it compared .... I loved every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every chapter of Alistair Grim's Odditorium. 

Oh and then there's the terrific pen and ink illustrations that proceed every chapter. 

Aimed at the 8 to 12 market. Its no mean feat to capture the attention of an audience with so many other things available to them and yet with Alistair Grim's Odditorium I think the author has pulled it off.

Compelling reading and yet you might be surprised to learn its a bit of a slow burner. Deliciously setting the scene, its as if main character, Grubb, is talking to us, the readers, giving us an insight into his character. However after this quite short introduction its quite fast paced and yet never so much that it detracts from the wonderful prose.

Perhaps ever so slightly lacking in the world building but that's fine by me. Notwithstanding the author builds up a sublime cast of characters with everything from some 'samurai' (albeit samurai with a difference but after all this is the Odditorium where the odd is the ordinary) to a cranky fairy who (much like myself) is made less so by her consuming chocolate, to some devil dogs and of course Mack, the aforementioned, rowdy pocket watch, chief of the Chronometrical Clan McClintock.

A book I could wax lyrical about for a while yet .... but won't except to say it's definitely one of my favourite reads of 2015 and I'm already longing for the second instalment.


17 comments:

Gina R said...

Woo hoo! So glad you liked it! It was quite the read indeed and I too want to get my hands on the second. Can't wait to see what happens next! Great review my friend.

Lily B said...

mechanical bats? how different!

Kelly said...

Wow...that's quite a recommendation! I don't imagine it's something I'll ever get around to reading, but you sure tempt me with this review.

Steampunk is one of those words I've never really understood and I've seen it used in a variety of applications. Nice to have a definition for its use in literature.

New Release Books said...

Sounds awesome. Thanks for your views.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

OOOHHH! I love that you loved this book and all the points you made make me want to run out and grab a copy now. I have added it to my long list of books to read and hope to get to it soon. It sounds right up my alley and it will be my first steam punk book too. :) Thanks for sharing!

Suko said...

Tracy, how wonderful that you enjoyed this one to the hilt! It sounds very absorbing.

Melliane said...

Oh you always find some sweet reads! So fun!

Claudine G. said...

Sounds fantastic! I'll definitely look for this the next time I go to the library, Tracy.

Natasha Hill said...

I love steampunk so will definitely have to check this out! - Tasha

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds really good.

I have heard so much about Steampunk but I have not read any yet. I do want to give it a try.

Sherry Ellis said...

This sounds like a winner. I definitely have to read it!

Gingi Freeman said...

I LOVE steampunk style and literature! Now I'm intrigued! - www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

This one looks like a lot of fun AND you get illustrations? Yea, this is a book I need to gift... and read first, just so you know... I make sure that they would like it. ;) It really does sound like a good book!

Nikki-ann said...

Thank you for telling us about this book. It sounds like a wonderful read :)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

This sounds so good! I don't think I've read anything that's been called Steammpunk before, but I DO want too. :)

Karen Alderman said...

I love all the mid-grade you've been featuring lately. It's nice to have something to recommend to my nieces and nephews. And I enjoy them too!

Karen @For What It's Worth

Literary Feline said...

You've sold me on this one, Tracy. It sounds like a great book. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!