27 Oct 2016



BACK COVER BLURB: 'If the odd was the ordinary at Alistair Grim's, then I suppose it came as no surprise that I should find magic in the most unexpected of places ...' 

Grubb, the young apprentice at Alistair Grim's Odditorium - a flying house of mechanical wonders - finds himself on the run, as all of London is convinced that Alistair Grim is a villain. Grim, however, has come up with a plan to defeat the real villain: the evil Prince Nightshade, who wants the Odditorium's power source for himself. Desperate to clear their master's name and save the world, Grubb and the rest of the Odditorium's crew set off on a perilous underwater adventure to the mythical realm of Avalon.

The object of their quest? The legendary sword Excalibur, the only blade powerful enough to pierce Prince Nightshade's suit of magical armour. Along the way, Grubb and his friends must confront a murderous banshee, sea monsters, and a witch with a grudge against Alistair Grim, in a rollicking adventure that will keep every reader riveted from beginning to end.

FIRST SENTENCE {From an article in The Times, London, 25 October, 18-}: ALISTAIR GRIM WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE!

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 104}: Nigel levelled the egg blaster at the target, and after a long, tense silence, squeezed the trigger. Thwiip! the muzzle rasped, and a bright-pink egg whizzed across the roof and hit the outer ring with a splat! Bits of pink eggshell sprayed everywhere, and a load of pink goo covered half the shield.

SOURCE: Received for review from publishers, Alma Books. (Excerpt here, synopsis and order book here).

MY THOUGHTS: With adequate recaps to previous events, perfectly readable as a standalone novel. However I strongly suggest that in order to get the best out of this, the second instalment in the Odditorium series, you read book one, Alistair Grim's Odditorium, first.

A series full of fantastical creations and quirky characters. Those expecting more of their favourites, whether it be Alistair himself, our narrator, Grubb, Mrs Pinch, Gwendolyn The Yellow Fairy, Kiyoko (surely the world's most fierce of Samurai warriors), Cleona the Banshee or, like myself, McClintock the pocket watch (to name but a few), will not be disappointed for, along with a few new characters, they are all here.

A magical underwater adventure combining some well known mythology as, along with Alistair and co, we get to travel to the fabled land that is Avalon in order to hopefully acquire the sword known as Excalibur.

Aimed at a 'mid grade' audience (generally accepted as those aged 8 to 12). What I particularly like about these books is that whilst not without peril there is nothing overtly violent about the content, the characters relying largely on their wits and courage to work their way out of some sticky situations.

As good as the first novel? On the whole, yes. I was delighted to learn more of McClintock of whom I'm inordinately fond, to learn of his origins. However, fond as I am of historical novels a small part of me did miss the Victorian setting in which we first met Grubb.

Still, based on the ending, obviously not the last we'll see of Alistair and his intrepid crew. I can't wait for book 3 ... and, who knows, books 4 and 5 and so on for I can see this being a popular series that may well run and run.


Kelly said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this one as much as the first (and hope to have more). I'm still not sure it's one that really appeals to me, though. Then again, it's not like I'm lacking for things to read. ;)

Suko said...

Tracy, I'm also glad that you enjoyed this book. I like the sound of this YA series, with its "fantastical creations and quirky characters", and that the characters use their wits and courage. Fantastic review, as always!

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds very entertaining. I really like the ides of the flying house. It reminds me of some of my childhood fantasies.

The cover also looks fantastic.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Sounds like a cute read. I like to read series in order, but it's nice that they summarize enough if you have forgotten the first book.

Melliane said...

it's always nice to find a good first novel like that

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Love that cover and this sounds like a good story to gift. While the ones I have in mind have already read their first novel, good to know I can also give it to someone who hasn't. Brilly review and I might have to read it before gifting. :)