Series: Eerie-on-Sea #1
Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in winter when the harsh winds howl and the legendary malamander is said to creep around the ruins of a wrecked ship. But then a girl drops into the office of Herbie Lemon, Lost and Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel. She says she needs help finding her parents, who disappeared twelve years ago. But their story may be tied into the malamander’s. And Herbie is not so sure he’s ready to get tangled up in the legend of a sea monster.
“If the impossible is possible anywhere, it’ll be possible in Eerie-on-Sea.”
The Malamander is a fast-paced adventure story, perfect for readers who love quirky middle grade. It follows Herbie Lemon, Lost and Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, as he teams up with Violet, a mysterious girl determined to find her long-lost parents. Her past, however, is tangled up with the legend of a local sea monster, the malamander, and soon Herbie and Violet are fighting for their lives. By turns mysterious, action-packed, and just a little weird, The Malamander is a sheer delight.
Quirky middle grade books are among my favorite reads–and I was pleased that The Malamander does not disappoint. The very opening, told by a narrator who thinks they are rather clever, promised the kind of light-hearted mystery/adventure I was looking for. It turns out our narrator is Herbie Lemon, a twelve-ish employee at a seaside hotel, who is rather determined not to get into any mishaps, shenanigans, or adventures, thank you very much. However, he finds himself pulled into one by the spirited Violet Parma, a girl who leaps before she looks. Their somewhat mismatched pairing, along with the narrative voice, sets the tone of the book–a bit odd, but in the best possible way.
Since it is written for a middle grade audience, The Malamander does have a plot that is easy to predict. However, this will not bother readers who are delighted simply to be able to visit Eerie-on-Sea, with all its quirky locales and odd characters. The setting is very much the real star of this novel, with readers getting to visit places as magical as a bookstore that dispenses just the book you need, or a diner with food that will have your mouth watering. Readers will probably end up wanting to vacation there–dangerous or not.
Fortunately, The Malamander does have a sequel, so readers will not have to leave Eerie-on-Sea quite yet. I, for one, am looking forward to another exciting adventure!