Goodreads: Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye
Series: Warren the 13th #1
Source: Quirk Books
Published: November 2015
Warren the 13th is the lone bellhop, valet, waiter, groundskeeper, and errand boy of his family’s ancient hotel. It’s a strange, shadowy mansion full of crooked corridors and mysterious riddles—and it just might be home to a magical object known as the All-Seeing Eye. Can Warren decipher the clues and find the treasure before his sinister Aunt Annaconda (and a slew of greedy hotel guests) beats him to it?
This middle-grade adventure features gorgeous two-color illustrations on every page and a lavish two-column Victorian design that will pull young readers into a spooky and delightful mystery.
Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye is a creatively creepy middle grade novel that invites readers into the mysterious Warren Hotel–a business that once was prosperous but seems to have traded customers for monsters and ghosts. Captivating red and black artwork draws readers into the story and invites them to help solve the story’s mysterious: Who is the silent, bandaged-wrapped guest? What’s lurking in the boiler room? And what is the legendary All-Seeing Eye?
The book does imply several tropes common to middle grade novels: an evil
stepmother aunt who makes Warren complete ridiculous chores, a kindly chef who sneaks Warren treat, and other such characters. However, the story puts just enough twist on the tropes to make them seem interesting and new. There’s also the fact that Warren the 13th is not a stereotypical protagonist–described as toad-like and hunched and perhaps liable to be mistaken for a monster himself. (Except that he has glamorous hair.)
The mysteries are not really interactive, which I was somewhat expecting based on the artistic nature of the novel and the jacket copy. Middle grade books with actual solvable puzzles and such are becoming a trend (and one I like). However, the story does provide readers with enough clues to solve the mysteries as Warren does, which is great. There’s nothing worse than a mystery the reader isn’t given enough information to figure out, in my opinion. The ending was also genuinely surprising to me, despite some foreshadowing.
Overall, Warren the 13th is just fun. It has a creepy vibe, but it’s often more quirky than scary, particularly since many things are not what they initially seen. It’s also a really beautiful. Even the trim size is unique, since the book is square. I loved reading this and would love to continue on with the series to share in Warren’s and his friend’s adventures.
To celebrate Friday the 13th, Tania del Rio has written a bonus story about Warren that you can read free! Quirk Books has the story and activity book about Warren’s unlucky day available to download here. Book #2 in the series, Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods, will be out in March 2017.