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Saturday, March 21, 2015

(MMGM) Alistair Grim's Odditorium by Gregory Funaro {review and giveaway}

Welcome to Day 21 of the 4th Annual March MG Madness! Today we are celebrating Gregory Funaro's Alistair Grim's Odditorium...

Alistair Grim's Odditorium
(Odditorium #1)
by Gregory Funaro
Grubb, age twelve (or thereabouts), has never known anything beyond his miserable existence as a chimney sweep, paid only in insults and abuse by his cruel master. All of that changes the day he stows away in the coach belonging to a mysterious guest at the inn that he is tasked with cleaning. Grubb emerges from Alistair Grim's trunk and into the wondrous world of the Odditorium. Fueled by a glowing blue energy that Grubb can only begin to understand, the Odditorium is home to countless enchanted objects and an eccentric crew that embraces Grubb as one of their own. There's no time for Grubb to settle into his new role as apprentice to the strange, secretive Mr. Grim. When the Odditorium comes under attack, Grubb is whisked off on a perilous adventure. Only he can prevent the Odditorium's magic from falling into evil hands—and his new family from suffering a terrible fate. Grubb knows he's no hero. He's just a chimney sweep. But armed with only his courage and wits, Grubb will confront the life-or-death battle he alone is destined to fight.

Praise for Alistair Grim's Odditorium

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. Publisher's Weekly

Funaro's world building and characters are fascinating, and the fast pace and overstuffed plot-from war in the air to a daring escape from sea sirens-make for an exciting story. Funaro's first book for young readers has all the playfulness of classic adventures like The Phantom Tollbooth and the intrigue of newer steampunk novels, making it a clever mash-up of mystery and merriment, ideal for kids who loved Percy Jackson and Harry PotterBooklist

With a dash of Dickens and more than a bit of Rowling, this first book in a proposed series should have no trouble finding an audience, although its length may mean some readers will need encouragement to pick it upVOYA

 An exciting, magical adventure featuring an unlikely hero and otherworldly creatures collected by Alistair Grim's for his Odditorium.—Shelf Awareness

When young chimney sweep, Grubb, runs away from his cruel master and stows away in the carriage of one mysterious Alistair Grim, he sets off on an unbelievable adventure. Alistair Grim is the creator and owner of the Odditorium, a wondrous place full of enchanted objects and people, all run by the energy of a strange blue light. Grim makes Grubb his apprentice and Grubb finds himself a new, loving family. But when a dangerous enemy sets out to steal the blue energy, Grubb must find his courage to save the Odditorium and his new family.

Oh my goodness, I LOVED this book! Gregory Funaro has spun a spectacular fantasy tale full of thrills, adventure, intrigue, and charming characters. Alistair Grim’s Odditorium is a wonderful explosion of imagination, stellar storytelling, and perfect world-building. With a pitch-perfect middle-grade voice that’s part endearing and part wit, I found myself completely dazzled by this book. Funaro effortlessly combines fantasy, science, mystery, adventure, and heart to create a smart, compelling story. Alistair Grim’s Odditorium is fantasy world-building at its best! This world is whimsical, daring, captivating, gorgeous, and just plain fun. From fairies, witches, trolls, magical objects, ninja girls, samurais, flying buildings, inter-dimensional space jumps, and so much more, Funaro fills this world to the brim with incredible things.

And this wondrous world is filled with equally incredible people. The Odditorium is home to one of the most eclectic, eccentric, and heart-warming groups I’ve every met! From sweet, brave Grubb to wildly odd Alistair Grim, kind Nigel, snarktastic Mrs. Pinch, fun-loving Cleona, and a talking pocket watch name Mack, Funaro has given readers so many awesome, engaging characters to love. And the bad-guys, from a dark fairy, evil prince, zombie-like minions, and other nasty creatures, are deliciously bad.

Alistair Grim’s Odditorium takes both readers and young Grubb on a fantastical adventure full of enchanting magic, thrilling peril, exciting action, and whole lot of heart!

my final thoughts: Alistair Grim’s Odditorium is everything you could want, and then some, in a middle-grade fantasy! From lovable characters, excellent world-building, and sparkling storytelling, this is one marvelous book that will delight and amaze young readers!


Gregory Funaro grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island, and wrote his first story, The Ghost in the Window, in the fourth grade. He considers this to be his finest work, but unfortunately it has been lost to time. Following high school Greg majored in theatre at the University of New Hampshire, and after various acting gigs, received his AM in Theatre Arts from Brown University and an MFA in Acting from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. Greg teaches drama at East Carolina University, and is busy working on the next book in the Odditorium series.
Win a finished copy of
Alistair Grim's Odditorium!
Disney-Hyperion has generously offered one copy for one winner.
-US only
-ends 3/31
(please read full rules below rafflecopter)

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Manju Howard said...

I would love to read a 5 cupcake MG!

Bluerose said...

I adore "odd" books, so this one immediately went on my wishlist the first time I saw it! I can't wait to read it! :D

Molly Mortensen said...

I requested this one, but wasn't approved. I'm so glad that you loved it! It really sounds like fun. Thanks for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book!

Brenda said...

Your review makes me even more eager to read this. I love the illustrations.

anne s. said...

Just checked this book out of the library, but would love to win a copy of our own!

Sui Generis said...

I love books with illustrations! I would really like to read this one! Thanks for the lovely giveaway!