By Gregory Funaro
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Publishing date: 6 January 2015
Happy New Year to everyone!! Let me tell ya, if this book is any indication of how this year's books are going to be, then I'm in for an amazing year!! There are moments I almost feel bad for liking so many books that I review, but then I think that maybe I'm just a good book picker! LOL
My January book is "Alistair Grim's Odditorium" by Gregory Funaro and I just loved this book especially the end. I'm a fan of the fantasy genre, but this book isn't all fairies and witches. It's mechanical too and I think boys may actually like this one. We all know there is a shortage of good books for boys. Yes, there is a fairy, but there are monsters and doom dogs and trolls and the whole Odditorium actually flies away after a really cool battle with Prince Nightshade and the Black Fairy (boys might dig the Black Fairy...he's a creepy dude). This book is brand spanking new and is the first book of a new series!!
Review for "Alistair Grim's Odditorium" by Gregory Funaro
If you take “Oliver Twist”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and a roller coaster and mix them all together, then you’ll have “Alistair Grim’s Odditorium” by Gregory Funaro. The story itself begins by looking into the past when Alistair Grim’s Odditorium stood looking down over the streets of London. It wasn’t hard to miss since it resembled a giant, fat spider. Grubb was only about 12 years old. He was given to Mr. and Mrs. Smears by Gwendolyn, the Yellow Fairy. When Grubb was about 6, Mrs. Smears died and left Grubb to Mr. Smears and his cruel ways. Mr. Smears was a chimney sweep and taught Grubb his profession. One day, at Mr. Smears’ friend’s inn, the Lamb’s Inn, Grubb found himself in a bit of trouble and wound up hiding in the trunk of a mysterious guest’s carriage. After an unbelievable ride, Grubb found himself in the Odditorium where he was welcomed to stay and join the staff as a chimney sweep.
Alistair Grim was the Odditorium’s proprietor and his collection of oddities was funded by a group of backers. After years of collecting money with nothing to show for it, the backers were threatening to freeze all assets. Alistair Grim agreed to a small, sneak preview to satisfy his financial backers’ curiosity. In an unfortunate series of events, that sneak preview never happened, but made way for an extraordinary adventure involving fairies, banshees, odditoria and a prince named Nightshade.
I was apprehensive when I first started reading “Alistair Grim’s Odditorium” because it seemed to start as a period piece which I’m not too fond of in children’s books, but I do tend to give books a fair chance and that “period” feeling ended quickly and I began to get very interested. The Odditorium itself is described very accurately and detailed. There was plenty of action especially when Grubb was caught and found himself in a tournament. The tournaments reminded me of gladiators. I also loved the underlying message that family isn’t always blood-related, but nonetheless always important. The character development was rich and I was able to feel empathy especially for Mr. Grim who pined for Elizabeth and repulsion for Prince Nightshade and his stinky monster court. The parts of the book that I found the most interesting was the explanations of the smaller stories. Early on in the book you get to know Nigel and later meet Cleona and I found their stories fascinating, intricate and well thought out. Several stories never really had all their questions answered which, I believe, made a perfect trail for another book. Basically, the book gave the reader a firm foundation, but not too much. I was especially fond of the happy ending. I’m looking forward to the second book!
“Alistair Grim’s Odditorium” by Gregory Funaro is unlike any book I’ve read and I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed it! I highly recommend it to not only children, but adults as well!