Triskaidekaphobia, schmriskaidekaphobia. It may not bode well for Warren the 13th, but Squinks, today, on a decidedly lucky Friday the thirteenth (tempting fate, my paraskevidekatriaphobic friends), you get some goodies, including an introduction to my new friend, Warren.
1. I would be way too terrified to ever enter an ancient, dilapidated house – though why I would be compelled to even approach one is beyond me. But I really enjoyed walking the corridors alongside Warren as he fulfilled his duties as bellhop, valet, and about six hundred other occupations at his family’s rickety hotel. If you like places with corners that are dark, dank, dusty, and lit by “a tarnished chandelier that clung to the ceiling like an insect” (not to mention odd creatures lurking in those dark, dank, dusty corners), then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy Warren’s ancestral home. (Twelve generations is enough to consider Warren the 1st an ancestor, right? I’ll have to look that up.)
2. About the guests at the Warren Hotel … Well, I use the term “guests” loosely. The mysteries in The All-Seeing Eye begin right away when a tall, thin figure – the first guest in years, might I add – strides into the lobby. Warren bows to him, and then … silence. Crickets. (No, seriously, there were probably crickets outside the hotel chatting away to one another wondering what on earth would have possessed Paleface to visit the hotel.) I like stories that introduce mysteries and conflicts right away. It just makes me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth on the ride. It doesn’t mean every single story has to be that way, but when I encounter one like this, I really appreciate it. Plus, it leaves room for my favourite literary phenomenon: mysteries upon mysteries upon mysteries upon … (I know some readers dislike this very thing, so just a heads up.)
3. Tania Del Rio got me in the feels with this gem: “That was the main reason Warren worked so hard: because he knew his father had worked hard, and his father’s father had worked hard, and his father’s father’s father had worked hard, and so on.” Truth, right? I mean, even with the words I’m typing right now, I wonder … would Mom and Dad be proud?
4. Puzzles, secret codes, and (did I mention) mysteries? Need I say more?
5. If you’ve been keeping up with my squinkle journey, then you’ll know by now that I LOVE illustrations and that I scour the middle-grade section of bookstores for my Next Great Read. The All-Seeing Eye stands apart from many books out there because not only is it a great MG story (that, by the way, I would totally recommend to readers who are MG-at-heart like me), it has some gorgeous two-colour illustrations. And, you know, I think I like Warren a little more now that I’ve seen him. I can’t draw to save my life, so I’m always enamoured by those who can. I tip my hat to Will Staehle.
6. Students of mine who stalk me on Instagram are well aware of my love for words, names, and etymology, in general (a linguistics background will do that to a person). It may seem like a small thing, but I love the names in this book. Warren, Rupert, Annaconda, Petula, Scalene, Friggs, even Sketchy! It’s a cornucopia of delightful monikers!
7. Warren has wanderlust. (Who wouldn’t if you were stuck doing six thousand jobs in a dingy hotel?) Kindred spirit. That is all.
8. It’s taken a really long time for the sequel, Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods, to pop up, but wait no longer … well, no longer than March 21. (That’s not that long, right?) In the meanwhile, click this. No, THIS. Enjoy a short story and some puzzles to tide you over until the pub date of Book 2.
9. One last serious note. I highly regret passing on getting a galley of this book at a previous BEA. I, as you all know, judge books by their covers. Why would I not, when so much work goes into them? Well, I didn’t have a lot of time to thumb through this galley, so I passed up Warren and his friends all because I thought the book would be too scary for my taste. (Maybe I had just seen the cover of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and was completely influenced.) So, let this be a lesson kids: Do not pass up on a book without thumbing through it first. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on getting to know people like Warren with his six million jobs.
Thank you, Quirk Books, for sending me a copy of
Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye in exchange for
an honest review.
All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.