Monday, April 20, 2015
Alistair Grim's Odditorium by Gregory Funaro
It's another Monday, and you know what that means- Middle Grade time. Today I am reviewing Alistair Grim's Odditorium by Gregory Funaro, a MG fantasy.
Grubb, yep, with two b's, is a twelve year-old chimney sweep living in the country. His cruel master cares nothing for him, except for the money he brings in. One day, Grubb is tormented by the Inn Keeper's two sons, causing him to get soot everywhere. Knowing a beating will soon follow, Grubb hides inside the trunk of a passing traveler, the one and only Alistair Grim.
Alistair lives at the Odditorium, a strange building in central London that looks like a giant spider kicked over and died. Inside, Grubb is introduced to all sorts of magical wonders, all controlled by the power of blue anima. By accident, Grubb takes one of the magic items into the streets of London, outside the shielded Odditorium walls, and evil detects the magic's presence.
Soon, the Odditorium and all its residents are under attack by the Black Fairy, a creature of renowned dark powers. As magic is drained away, Grubb, having only his wits and skills, must fight to keep his new home and family alive.
A thrilling and unique middle grade story the presents the reader with delightful inventions and intense magic usage. I really enjoyed learning about the Odditorium and all the creations it contained. In fact, the main draw of the story was trying to figure out what Alistair Grim's secrets were, and how they all fit together. The author deals out the hints slowly, building up tension and presenting the reader with interesting puzzles.
Grubb is a fine main character. He is full of grit and determination, fiercely loyal to his new family and prepared to sacrifice himself on their behalf. He matures from the abused boy at the beginning into a confidant hero at the end. His bravery is heart warming.
I did feel as if the ending of the book came too soon. I was just getting into the battle between the Odditorium and Prince Nightshade, when the book concludes. I felt as if the story arc did not finish, but was left hanging for book 2. Overall though, a fun read. Children will love the concept of magic introduced into their own world. 4 stars!