Happy Monday, part 2!
We're also sharing our review for Alistair Grim's Odditorium today! I loved how I was immediately drawn into the book, and couldn't wait to discover the world alongside Grubb!
MGM is a feature hosted by the fabulous Shannon Messenger on her blog every week!
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
Gregory Funaro's writing style is personable and highly enjoyable, and readers will find that they have a most entertaining and likable narrator/friend in Grubb.
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.
(Short answer: Uh, YES!)
Gregory, who is just as affable and awesome as one might believe, introduces readers to Grubb, a young chimney sweep, who has never known any other life than that of a chimney sweep. However, after a chance encounter ends up with him landing in Alistair Grim's trunk and emerging in the world of the Odditorium, Grubb's fortunes begin to change...
What I immediately loved about Odditorium, was the fact that Gregory Funaro has developed such a strong, first-person voice for Grubb. As we begin to get to know Grubb and his world, I was reminded a lot of classic orphan tales, including some of Dickens's work. Grubb may not especially enjoy his current fortunes in life, but is pragmatic about them, and therefore, immediately empathetic. Consequently, when he ends up in the world of the Odditorium, readers can't help but be excited for his change in fortune.
As Grubb delves deeper into this new, magical world, Funaro does a nice job of balancing both the introduction of magical elements and quirky characters - Mack is now a personal favorite! - while also putting forth some well-developed character advancement for Grubb.
Both Grubb's sensible approach toward a relatively new and complex (if not downright bizarre!) magical world, coupled with his willingness to do battle with Prince Nightshade, are action-packed and full of moments that will make younger readers wonder just what they would do, if they were ever faced with a similar situation. Funaro has a gift for pacing, and manages to effortlessly draw readers through 400+ pages of discovery and danger to a beautifully fitting end, is a testament to his ability to draw readers through the pages of the story.
Finally, the book is fabulously illustrated by Vivienne To. Her black and white drawings further add charm and give shape to the world of the Odditorium, and will help readers dream even more about living out their adventures in this marvelous, magical world.
The world of the Odditorium is also a richly detailed one, with the small details and quirks that are necessary for making any world come alive. I felt like I had genuinely immersed myself in Grubb's world, and can't wait to visit it again in the next book.
Highly recommend for all readers. This is a fantastic option for readers who enjoy books like Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, and also for older readers who enjoy fantasy.
About the author:
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.