Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall Reading 2015 Alistair Grim's Odd Aquaticum


Provoking red-eyed demons with itching powder. Facing down giant sea serpents with a bubble of fairy dust. Braving the possible wrath of Queen Nimue of Avalon. All of these sound like a list of things to avoid if one wants to live a long, healthy life. But the crew of Alistair Grim's Odditorium actually attempt all of them. Along the course of their latest adventure they encounter a crazed witch, Grubb's evil old master (Mr. Smears), sea serpents, demons, a long lost princess, mechanical sharks, a Gallownog, and a history professor. Then there are the odditoria (magical artifacts), including Excalibur, a transmutation dagger, a witch's wand, Merlin's map, and a demon buggy. Figuring out which of these will be friend or foe, help or hindrance in the fight against Prince Nightshade is not always easy. 

While the high-stakes strategy of their campaign to stop Prince Nightshade is being planned, Grubb still has the rather mundane job of getting to know his father. After believing himself an orphan for 12 years, you can imagine that becoming accustomed to having a parent is not easy for him. It has only been a few weeks since he met Mr. Grim and became his apprentice, now he has to learn to call him Father and they both have to figure out their relationship. There are also his lessons to be dealt with - magic lessons, learning to play the organ that controls the Odditorium, target practice with Nigel - it would be a busy life without the quest to find a magical sword and defeat an evil sorcerer.

Funaro has once again crafted a story that combines riveting action scenes, magical elements, and humor. Gwendolyn the Yellow Fairy acting silly and a bit tipsy from eating chocolate is one funny scene. The sentient pocket watch, "Mack" McClintock, is always good for a laugh. When his bravery is questioned, Mack says, "Let's show the numpty who wears the kilt around here." Just imagining a pocket watch wearing a kilt should make you smile. 

Readers of the first book will not be disappointed in the second installment. Those who have not read Alistair Grim's Odditorium may miss a few references, but there is enough explanation given to keep them from being altogether lost. Recommended for middle grades (and up), readers who enjoy action adventure mixed with magic and mechanical gadgets.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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