Malamander by Thomas Taylor
Synopsis: Herbert Lemon works as a Lost-and-Founder, returning lost items to their individuals at the Grand Nautilus Hotel in the town of Eerie-on-the-Sea, a tourist seascape which empties during the chilly winter. One night, a girl called Violet jumps through Herbert’s window and asks for his aid in escaping the man chasing her. Together, they team up to uncover the mystery of Violet’s parents’ disappearance and the town legend of the Malamander: a half-human, half-fish monster said to emerge from the depths of the sea to haunt the town…
Review: Malamander, as suggested by the town name, is wonderfully eerie. Herbert is the book’s Dickensian star, an orphan with a heart of gold. Setting and narrative voice are especially strong; it draws the reader in with its confident narrator, and the descriptive language illustrates a chilling atmosphere perfect for uncovering the mystery of the Malamander. The plot moves into familiar territory as it moves into the conflict, and the ending feels a little rushed – though it leaves enough unanswered questions for a sequel. You might forget some of the plot points but you won’t forget how the book made you feel.
Recommended Age: Ages 9+
Favourite Quote: ‘What a shame such magic doesn’t exist… That all we have are stories.’
Themes: Mystery, adventure, friendship, family, loneliness, trust issues, missing parents, magic, monsters.
Highlights: The Mermonkey and Eerie Book Dispensary – how grand would it be for a book to choose you?
If you liked this, you’ll like: Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend, The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle, Nevertell by Katharine Orton.