The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea Book One by Thomas Taylor
Published on: September 10, 2019
Filled with interesting characters and set in a town where folklore comes to life, Malamander is the perfect choice when you need a middle grade fantasy book that is different than wizards and magic.
A quirky, creepy fantasy set in Eerie-on-Sea finds a colorful cast of characters in hot pursuit of a sea monster thought to convey a surprising gift.
It’s winter in the town of Eerie-on-Sea, where the mist is thick and the salt spray is rattling the windows of the Grand Nautilus Hotel. Inside, young Herbert Lemon, Lost and Founder for the hotel, has an unexpected visitor. It seems that Violet Parma, a fearless girl around his age, lost her parents at the hotel when she was a baby, and she’s sure that the nervous Herbert is the only person who can help her find them. The trouble is, Violet is being pursued at that moment by a strange hook-handed man. And the town legend of the Malamander — a part-fish, part-human monster whose egg is said to make dreams come true — is rearing its scaly head. As various townspeople, some good-hearted, some nefarious, reveal themselves to be monster hunters on the sly, can Herbert and Violet elude them and discover what happened to Violet’s kin? This lighthearted, fantastical mystery, featuring black-and-white spot illustrations, kicks off a trilogy of fantasies set in the seaside town.
I was in need of a fun fantasy middle grade book when I happened upon this one through the recommendation of another book blogger. I knew I didn’t necessarily have time to ‘read’ it so I picked up the audio version instead. What I found was a delightful story in a quirky little town full of folklore and interesting characters. From Lady Kraken who never leaves her room in the hotel, to Fishhook man – who has a hook for a hand, to a cat that talks…or does he?
The main story revolves around Herbie Lemon who has been hired by Violet Parma to find her parents, who were lost 12 years ago. Herbie has a job a the Grand Nautilus Hotel and he has found, returned, or kept various lost items, but never been asked to find parents who have been missing for years. Incidentally, Herbie gets paid, not by money, by being able to keep items that have been lost for over 100 years and have not been claimed by anyone. The themes in the book are similar to others you might find within middle grade – friendships, discovery of what is out there in the world as well as discovery of what is important to you and the content of your character.
Audio Book Review:
Another terrific audio book find. Narrated by Will E. Watt, we are shown not only a variety of voices and accents, but a range of emotions as he goes through the story. While listening I was able to feel the anxiety during intense dramatic or action scenes, but also able to sense the main character’s pain during one scene when he feels he might have been played the fool by Violet. A couple of the voices quite amazed me too as they sounded so different than his regular speaking voice that I took the time to listen to how he carefully changed his voice to best fit those specific characters. Will E. Watt really sells the story and was a excellent choice to portray Herbie Lemon. Through the narration, I almost felt like I was actually at the quirky town of Eerie-on-Sea and could see the mist as it rolled in. In addition to the spot-on narration, the quality of the audio production as a whole by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio was almost crystal clear.
All in all a delightful book to read and comes with an eye-catching cover that includes a few of the whimsical elements from the book. The only negative being that the book apparently has a few illustrations in it that I am not able to see when listening to it via audio.