Review by Booklist Review
After the madness of the public unveiling of the Odditorium, Alistair Grim and his apprentice and long-lost son, ex-chimney sweep Grubb, are on the lam. Everyone in London wants them imprisoned for inciting mass hysteria, and evildoer Prince Nightshade, Grim's rival collector, is hot on their trail and intent on unleashing an army of the dead. On their way to Ireland via the sea, Grubb trains to inherit the Odditorium and all its creatures and possessions. Familiar faces complicate things, especially when Grim decides to seek out Excalibur, King Arthur's fabled sword. Funaro's amusing style continues in this sequel, and Vivienne To's illustrations add charm to the delightfully wild adventure. Suggest to fans of Obert Skye, as well as those eager to know more about the fate of the Odditorium.--Comfort, Stacey Copyright 2015 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-6-Grubb and his fantastical companions return for more magical high jinks in the second volume of the series. Grubb has come a long way from a runaway orphan to the heir of a flying ship but is still adjusting to life with his father and his new friends. This sequel continues the quest to destroy the evil Prince Nightshade with an underwater trip to Avalon in search of Excalibur. Though the page count is high, the rapidly firing adventures with a focus on plot should keep even struggling readers enthralled. Balancing the text are frequent spot and plate illustrations, complemented by generously large text and margins. The sketchy simplicity of the pictures still seems to undersell the potential of such a fanciful world but may help keep the book accessible and nonthreatening for middle grade readers. Perhaps due to the limits of an action-packed plot and the metaphoric fight between good and evil, depth of characterization is not a strong point, and Funaro focuses instead on a cast of characters with a diverse array of abilities, if predominantly white and male. The hodgepodge of motifs-from Arthurian legend to Greek fable-is somewhat bewildering, especially as the appropriations are not tied together. Several entangled morals underlie the story, but their simplicity can be written off as a side effect of the allegorical form of fantasy. Despite revealing the tantalizing answers to several mysteries, Funaro leaves enough to sustain further volumes, complete with an arcane prophecy to be fulfilled. VERDICT A fun, fantastical adventure with enough invention for juvenile readers to thoroughly enjoy, even with chaotic commandeering of a variety of storytelling motifs.-Erin Reilly-Sanders, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
With help from old friends, banshees, and Excalibur, Grubb and his recently discovered father, Alistair Grim, continue their quest to defeat evil necromancer Prince Nightshade, who is searching for animus, a magical power source. This follow-up to Alistair Grim's Odditorium doesn't stand alone, but fans of the first book's (hodgepodge) fantastical elements, action, and mystery will find more of the same here. Final illustrations unseen. Glos. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
If it's fear that keeps the senses sharp, all five of Grubb Grim's must be knives. Grubb now knows his last name is Grim and, like his father, Alistair, has a knack for attracting danger, adventure, and Odditoria. In this second installment of the series, the Odditorium (a steampunk ship controlled by pipe organ) and all of its residents are fugitives after taking the rap for Prince Nightshade's path of destruction in London. To defeat the now-nowhere-to-be-found prince, Grubb, his father, and the crew must find the secret nautical gate to an otherworldly kingdom in order to "borrow" Excaliburthe only thing that can destroy Nightshade's impenetrable armor. Finding the famed sword is only the tip of the odd-berg as Grubb discovers his life is part of an unfolding prophecy. As in series opener Alistair Grim's Odditorium (2015), Grubb speaks directly to the audience. Where this narrative technique paired with the saturation of character introductions was distracting in Book 1, here it finds its footing. Demons, murder, dark hearts, and a toothy sea serpent keep any hopes of permanent sunshine dim (thank goodness). Finding power in the ordinary may be the overarching message, but why to befriend a bounty-hunting banshee, what drives a beautiful witch mad, where Excalibur is hidden, and how to stop time are all supplementary lessons in sorcery in this romp. Dive head-, feet-, or face-first into this delicious danger. (character list) (Fantasy. 10-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.