Monday, December 7, 2015

Alistair Grim's Odditorium by Gregory Funaro

Date Published: January 6, 2015
ISBN: 1484708997
Genre: Middle grade, fantasy
Publisher:  Disney Hyperion
Themes: Adventure, mystery, humor, magic

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes And Noble

About the Book: Grubb, age twelve (or thereabouts), has never known anything beyond his miserable existence as a chimney sweep, paid only in insults and abuse by his cruel master. All of that changes the day he stows away in the coach belonging to a mysterious guest at the inn that he is tasked with cleaning. Grubb emerges from Alistair Grim's trunk and into the wondrous world of the Odditorium. Fueled by a glowing blue energy that Grubb can only begin to understand, the Odditorium is home to countless enchanted objects and an eccentric crew that embraces Grubb as one of their own. There's no time for Grubb to settle into his new role as apprentice to the strange, secretive Mr. Grim. When the Odditorium comes under attack, Grubb is whisked off on a perilous adventure. Only he can prevent the Odditorium's magic from falling into evil hands—and his new family from suffering a terrible fate. Grubb knows he's no hero. He's just a chimney sweep. But armed with only his courage and wits, Grubb will confront the life-or-death battle he alone is destined to fight.
First Line: "The odd was the ordinary at Alistair Grim's."

What Others Are Saying: "Told in the engaging brogue of an apprentice chimney sweeper, this novel seems to have all the ingredients for a fun middle grade read, blending fantasy with Dickensian-esque fiction. Although the initial ideas and characters have strong promise, the execution of the story is rather ordinary." —School Library Journal

"Funaro's world building and characters are fascinating, and the fast pace and overstuffed plot-from war in the air to a daring escape from sea sirens-make for an exciting story. Funaro's first book for young readers has all the playfulness of classic adventures like The Phantom Tollbooth and the intrigue of newer steampunk novels, making it a clever mash-up of mystery and merriment, ideal for kids who loved Percy Jackson and Harry Potter." —Booklist

Bloggers Weigh In:

What I Thought: When Grub, the protagonist finds himself at the Odditorium, he begins a nonstop adventure. The pace throttles high and doesn't stop while adding strange magical characters, powerful power sources and legends and myths all rolled into fast moving world. Amazingly, Funaro eases out new information at just the right concentration of eccentric and detail to make this a fun ride. Grub is a great character, but I was hungry for more character development which I hope to see in the next in the series. 

About The Author: Gregory Funaro
Gregory Funaro grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island, and wrote his first story, The Ghost in the Window, in the fourth grade. He considers this to be his finest work, but unfortunately it has been lost to time. Following high school Greg majored in theatre at the University of New Hampshire, and after various acting gigs, received his AM in Theatre Arts from Brown University and an MFA in Acting from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. Greg teaches drama at East Carolina University, and is busy working on the next book in the Odditorium series.

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  1. This one is on my radar and I hope to get to it soon. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Always a pleasure to see you Rosie! Happy Holidays!

  2. This has been a big favorite of a lot of people, and my students are begging for my ARC of the sequel!


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