Malamander.jpgMuch buzz has preceded the release of this new trilogy:

  • World rights were acquired in 2018 at an eight publisher, six figure auction.
  • Rights were sold in twelve territories.
  • Sony has since bought the film rights.

The series begins with Malamander but will lead right into Gargantis, scheduled for release in May, 2020. Is it worth the hype? Definitely.

THE PLOT It’s winter in the town of Eerie-on-Sea, where the mist is thick and the salt spray is rattling the windows of the Grand Nautilus Hotel. Inside, young Herbert Lemon, Lost and Founder for the hotel, has an unexpected visitor. It seems that Violet Parma, a fearless girl around his age, lost her parents at the hotel when she was a baby, and she’s sure that the nervous Herbert is the only person who can help her find them. The trouble is, Violet is being pursued at that moment by a strange hook-handed man. And the town legend of the Malamander — a part-fish, part-human monster whose egg is said to make dreams come true — is rearing its scaly head. As various townspeople, some good-hearted, some nefarious, reveal themselves to be monster hunters on the sly, can Herbert and Violet elude them and discover what happened to Violet’s kin? This lighthearted, fantastical mystery, featuring black-and-white spot illustrations, kicks off a trilogy of fantasies set in the seaside town.

MY TAKE: The The English coast is the perfect setting for this tale and the story sucks you in like an Eerie-on-Sea undercurrent.The two young main characters, Herbie Lemon and Violet Parma, have you caring about them deeply by the climatic finale. The tightly written chapters and cliffhanger endings makes it at times a difficult one to put down.

Herbie works at the hotel as a ‘Lost and Founder.” He’s in charge of anything left behind by customers. His life had a strange beginning having washed up on shore twelve years prior in a crate of lemons (the comical reason for his last name), but the girl who climbs through his window seeking help has an equally mysterious past.

Together they start unraveling the mystery and secrets of what happened to Violet’s parents. This means uncovering what is know by the residents including author, Sebastian Eels; Mrs. Fossil who collects trinkets on the beach; Lady Kraken, the owner of the hotel; and Jenny Hanniver who runs the Eerie Book Dispensary.

The satisfying conclusion wraps up the present story but leaves enough questions that  the rest of the series will be a real treat to read..

Malamander is a perfect addition to Middle Grade Lit’s Fall season.


  1. Herbie Lemon is a boy who approaches life in more of a found than a lost direction. He’s not afraid to speak up when challenged but also has fears like any 12-year-old would have. Herbie is one of the more endearing characters to be featured in an MG book the past several years. You’ll love his first person narration
  2. Young Violet is equally impressive. She is much more impulsive than Herbie, making their work together all the more fun and page turning.
  3. The magic and humor.
  4. The Eerie Book Dispensary is a wonderful trigger for the story. A place where you don’t choose a book—the book chooses you.
  5. That there was nothing I didn’t like about the book.


I’ve always lived near the sea, and seaside towns have always featured in my life, but it was only a few years ago that I finally came to live in one. Being a hundred paces from the beach, all year round, allowed me to discover the strangeness of coastal life for myself. Because there’s a secret life to seaside towns that you don’t discover if you only go there in the summer and sit in the sun — a secret life of weird weather and mysterious tides that is packed with potential for adventure. (For more visit his author web site)


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About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to MALAMANDER

  1. Natalie Aguirre says:

    How did I miss all the buzz about this? The Eerie Book Dispensary sounds cool! Glad you liked it so much.

  2. Danielle Hammelef says:

    I have a copy of this book–the cover “caught my eye” pun intended and it’s my next middle grade read.

  3. My son will LOVE this one (and so will I). Thanks for your review!

  4. This sounds like a thrilling read. The setting does sound perfect for this monstrous fish. The cover is awesome.

  5. Antoinette Truglio Martin says:

    This sounds like a winner for all readers.

  6. I’m glad I am finally getting to this post as I try to catch up on my email. First, that cover is stunning. The characters sound very engaging, as does the story. I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but I might give this series a try. Thanks for the review.

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