Thursday, January 7, 2016

Review: Alistair Grim's Odd Aquaticum by Gregory Funaro


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Ages 8-12
When Grubb, an orphan and runaway chimney sweep, entered the wondrous world of the Odditorium, his life changed forever. Apprenticed to the mechanical marvel's strange proprietor, Alistair Grim, Grubb unfortunately must settle into his new position on the lam, as the whole of London is convinced that Alistair Grim is a villain bent on mass destruction. Grim, however, has come up with a plan to expose the real villain: Prince Nightshade, a wicked necromancer who wants the Odditorium's power source for himself.
With the evil prince hot in their trail, Grim, Grubb and the rest of the Odditorium's crew embark on a perilous adventure to find the legendary sword Excalibur: the only weapon capable of penetrating Nightshade's magical suit of armor. As expected, their quest turns out to be anything but ordinary. Not only can the Odditorium fly, but it can also swim! And so the crew battens down the hatches and sets off on an underwater voyage to the otherworldly realm of Avalon, home to Excalibur. Along the way, they must battle a banshee assassin,sea monsters, and a witch who seeks revenge on Alistair Grim for stealing her magical objects.
But that's not all. Unbeknownst to Grubb and the others, their fate has been written in an ancient Avalonian prophecy-a prophecy that holds the key to a destiny not even Alistair Grim could have possibly imagined.

MY TAKE:
I remembered liking the first book in this series, so I requested this book to see what happens next in the story.

In Alistair Grim's Odd Aquaticum, Grubb, Alistair and the rest of the occupants of the Odditorium must race against time to find the legendary Excalibur, which Alistair plans to use on Prince Nightshade.

It's a pleasant enough adventure story, one that I think a lot of young children will like. Throughout most of the book, I was thinking, "Oh, this is nice, but overall, the tone feels like it's too young for me." Then the plot twists came and I was impressed. The final big twist, in particular, was a surprise for me. I wanted to scream at Alistair for not expecting it, but stopped myself because, really, it's one of those twists where the villain really is just smarter or one step ahead of the heroes.

Several new characters are introduced in this book, and funnily enough, while most of them seem like they could be villains at first, a lot of them do come to the aid of Grubb and the others when they are needed. I'm curious to see if they'll show up again in the next book. I really hope that they do.

The ending isn't a massive cliffhanger, but it does make you wonder what comes next. I'm certainly looking forward to finding out the answers to the questions left unanswered in this book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The plot twists are brilliant.
  2. The tone is whimsical.
  3. It's a fun adventure book that kids can share with their parents. 

THE BAD:

  1. The first half isn't as amazing as the second half. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You liked the first book in the series.
  2. You are interested in the legend of Excalibur.
  3. Your child likes adventure books. 

RATING:
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