3 Below by Patrick Carman

3 BelowInformation

Goodreads3 Below
Series: Floors #2
Source: Library
Published: 2012


Leo Fillmore now owns the Whippet Hotel, but his old nemesis Ms. Sparks is back and ready for revenge.  To save his home, Leo and his best friend Remi will have to travel to floors they never knew existed.


3 Below is a solid follow-up to Floors, bringing back the old beloved characters and adopting the same plot formula.  As with the last book, the basic premise does not make a lot of sense–not if you believe Merganzer Whippet should have just saved the hotel himself (he could have done so easily and almost immediately) and not if you do not understand why Whippet likes to put children in constant danger and call it fun.  However, if you are willing to accept that saying “Merganzer is a genius and a madman” covers all contortions of logic, 3 Below proves a romping good adventure.

The magic of the Floors books lies primarily, I think, in the Whippet Hotel.  I picked up the second book in the series not because I wanted to read more about Leo or because I wanted to know how the hotel would be saved this time, but because I wanted to explore the floors Leo never knew existed.  They lie below the hotel and obviously that means they must be the most dangerous–and therefore the best!  If rooms full of cake and rooms that act as life-size pinball machines are rented to guests, only imagine what lies hidden from the public!

Unfortunately, I found the subbasement mostly a letdown.  The characters act like it’s really dangerous down there, giving whispered warnings and speaking of dungeons and mad scientists.  It’s true it’s kind of creepy down there and that the scientist is kind of offbeat, but no one is conducting human experiments or using medieval torture instruments.  After all, these places were built by Merganzer Whippet, master of fun.  He might be weird, too, but he’s not condoning anything unseemly.  After all the hype about how Leo and his best pal Remi might never return, I felt rather cheated.

Leo and Remi are a pleasure to read about, however.  They have a lovely camaraderie, mostly remaining good-natured and fair even in stressful situations.  Their friendly chemistry is excellent, too.  While Leo provides the level-headedness and the brains necessary for their adventures, Remi supplies the humor and fun (while still making himself useful, mind you.  He’s not mere comic relief, but proposes more off-the-wall suggestions when Leo gets stuck and is always ready to sacrifice himself for the mission–after a little prodding).  They work well together as a team and I’m pleased that (SPOILER! alert) this book shows that their new mixed family is working out well for both of them.

3 Below is a fun little adventure, if not the mission of doom and utter suspense that it seems it wishes it could be.  I enjoyed it enough that I am willing to finish the trilogy, though not impressed enough that I feel inspired to try Patrick Carman’s other works.

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