Monday, August 31, 2015

MMGM: Alistair Grim's Odditorium 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.


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.

Follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@GregoryFunaro)


Grubb escapes from the frying pan into the fire when he flees the only home he's ever known to escape his abusive guardian.  But joining Alistair Grim and his unusual collection of Odditoria that make up his family gives him a taste of something he hasn't had in a long time: a home.  But the Odditorium is full of the unusual and the strange and Grubb finds himself in deep trouble almost before he knows it as he faces off with doom dogs, the Black Fairy, and a skeleton army.  I think what I enjoyed most about this book is the wide array of characters with their interesting idiosyncrasies, from Grim himself to a banshee, a witch, and a talking pocket watch. Grubb is an appealing character from the first page with his surprisingly upbeat outlook considering his poor circumstances.  The appeal grew as I read about Grubb's facing off with not only Grim's enemies but his own mistakes.  One of the things I find fascinating about steampunk is how it often includes not only the mechanical but the fantastical.  Alistair Grim has managed to combine both his own fabulous inventions with the odditoria that he has collected in his travels.  The author has done a really nice job of providing enough explanation for the reader to figure out the ins and outs of the world he has created while not bogging down the action.  I've found with child readers that that is especially important.  The action here is constant enough to pull readers in and keep them reading.  I am very much looking forward to reading the coming sequel.

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