by Thomas Taylor
Review by Bronwyn Eley
This is just the kind of fun-filled adventure I’ve been craving lately! Thomas Taylor really delivered with his new book Malamander – this is a rich, creative and engaging story that was really, really hard to put down.
The story follows Herbert Lemon, a young boy who is the Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel. Herbie is used to returning lost things to their rightful owners – shoes, suitcases, money… but one night a strange young girl turns up at his window claiming she is lost… and needs to be found!
Violet Parma was left at the hotel as a baby twelve years prior. She is adamant that she is lost (that her parents did NOT abandon her) and she enlists Herbie’s lost-and-found ‘detective’ skills to reunite her with her parents.
I think my favourite character in this story is the town itself – Eerie-on-Sea. I really want to go there! This is a strange little town which, during the warm seasons, is frequented by tourists due to the sun-filled days one can have on the beach. But things certainly change when the temperature cools and the mist rolls in. Eerie-on-Sea becomes a haunted, dark, wet, scary place to live – plagued by skin-crawling legends about sea-monsters.
Herbie and Violet set out with a simple mission: to solve the mystery of Mr and Mrs Parma. Of course, it’s never as simple as that! Their mission is hijacked by Sebastian Eels, a man determined to hunt down the Malamander, Eerie-on-Sea’s legendary sea-monster. Violet and Herbie don’t believe in the legend – most people don’t! But then they discover that Violet’s parents went missing while searching for the Malamander.
I can’t tell you how much I loved this story. Herbie is an utter delight – he is sassy, brave and had me chuckling on more than one occasion. Violet is bold, adventurous and optimistic. They make a great pair! Not to mention the rest of the animated cast – Captain K, Erwin, Mr Mollusc.
This book had definite Lemony Snicket vibes, with its chilling setting and endearing parentless protagonists. I am itching for this book to get out in the world as I am absolutely positive it is going to be a massive hit with children and adults alike!
~ Bronwyn xo