Alistair Grim’s Odditorium

Gregory Funaro, illus. by Vivienne To. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-4847-0006-8
Combining aspects of steampunk and fantasy, Funaro debuts with this fanciful series opener set in a 19th-century London where strange things—Odditoria—exist in secret. Chimney sweep Grubb, “twelve or thereabouts,” accidentally ends up in the bizarre Odditorium of the enigmatic Alistair Grim. In this magically empowered mechanical marvel of a building he discovers mobile suits of samurai armor, a petulant fairy, a talking pocketwatch, a playful banshee, and more. But even as Grubb gets used to the constant weirdness of the Odditorium, he and its inhabitants are drawn into a conflict against the wicked Prince Nightshade and his legions of re-animated skeletal warriors and other monsters. Funaro’s knack for memorable characters and scenarios shines in this frenetic, entertaining romp. Action and mayhem abound, and although the story risks overloading readers with too many disparate elements and unusual creations (a glossary is included), Funaro brings it all together with clever worldbuilding. The story is enhanced by To’s illustrations, which blend realism and exaggeration to great effect. Ages 10–13. Author’s agent: Bill Contardi, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. Illustrator’s agent: Shannon Associates. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/24/2014
Release date: 01/06/2015
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-1-4847-0899-6
Prebound-Glued - 448 pages - 978-0-606-37399-9
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