Reading Level: Middle Grade
Length: 423 pages
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley through NetGalley.com
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. It’s obviously the first book in a planned series, since there are some large issues that aren’t resolved in this book. It was an okay book; there were some very neat things in here but at times there was just too much thrown at the reader. This is a middle grade fantasy with some adventure.
Grubb is an apprentice chimney sweep who has to deal with cruel insults and abuse from his adoptive father/master. Everything changes when one day Grubb stows away in an empty truck on a carriage and ends up in the crazy Odditorium of Alistar Grim. Grubb has no idea of the adventure that is in store for him as he discovers the wonders inside the Odditorium.
This is a middle grade fantasy of sorts. Actually it’s a bit of a mishmash of a lot of different things. There is some magic, some science, a ghost, some teleportation, an evil Prince, and an orphan boy with a mysterious past. This appears to be the first book in a series, because many things are left unresolved at the end of the story.
I think part of my trouble with this book was that it was a mishmash of so many things and they are thrown at the reader so quickly. There wasn’t enough character development so I had trouble engaging with the characters and really caring about what was happening to them.
There are some very cool things in here. I loved Grim’s Odditorium and all the quirky things in it. I enjoyed all the crazy different characters as well. I had some trouble picturing all the quirky things though because they weren’t described that well.
There is also some very nice artwork throughout the story (it was a bit hard to see in the review copy I had). I definitely want to pick up a final copy at some point and at least look at the art work.
The story is decently done. Parts are interesting but there are also some really predictable parts. For example the mystery behind Grubb’s real parents, I thought this was very predictable and very typical of this type of middle grade fantasy story.
Overall this was an interesting read, but not as good as some other middle grade fantasies out there. This book reminded me a bit of The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas, but I think that series is much better.