by Thomas Taylor (2019)
An Intermediate and Middle School selection
“But in a place like Eerie-on-Sea, legends can sometimes have a little more… bite.”
This is a lesson that Herbert “Herbie” Lemon, Lost-and-Founder of the Grand Nautilus Hotel, quickly discovers when he learns about the fearsome Malamander, a half-fish, half-man, that’s kept the town of Eerie-on-Sea weary of misty evenings for generations.
“Because I’m lost. And I’d like to be found.”
Violet Parma is searching for her parents who vanished from the Eerie’s shores twelve years ago. Their disappearance has left Violet fighting to remain afloat, hungry for answers that only Herbie can help her answer. Herbie uses his knowledge of the town’s history to aid Violet – and with it, his connection to the quirky, the creepy, and the outright sinister inhabitants of Eerie-on-Sea.
“Like all writers, I suppose. I’m only here for the stories.”
This is the lie Sebastian Eels tells Herbie and Violet when their respective searches overlap. The smarmy local writer is hunting for the Malamander’s egg – a magical relic that grants its holder any and all wishes they might have – and he’s teamed up with the Boathook Man, who has been cursed by the egg to live forever. This villainous duo is relentless and unyielding and rendered with such ferocity, you’ll be listening for the whizz of a harpoon gun long after you’ve reached Malamander’s final page.
“You’re amazing, Herbie Lemon. And I’m so glad I met you.”
Herbie and Violet have a whirlwind friendship. Though they stumble under the weight of a misunderstanding, the reliance and trust they develop in one another never wavers. Herbie’s grounded sense of caution balances Violet’s head-strong drive to find the truth behind her parent’s disappearance. The support they provide one another amidst endless perils is as glittering and authentic as the Malamander’s dazzling egg.
“So that’s it. Just about.”
Thomas Taylor’s atmospheric fantasy is a remarkable new addition to Read to Them’s Intermediate titles. Perfect for anyone ready to embark on a larger-than-life adventure, who might be searching for their place in the world, and who holds an appreciation for things that are just a little bit strange.