Alistair Grim's Aquaticum (Odditorium #2)

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Age Range
8+
Release Date
January 05, 2016
ISBN
978-1484700075
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When Grubb, an orphan and runaway chimney sweep, entered the wondrous world of the Odditorium, his life changed forever. Apprenticed to the mechanical marvel's strange proprietor, Alistair Grim, Grubb unfortunately must settle into his new position on the lam, as all of England is convinced that Alistair Grim is a villain. Grim, however, has come up with a plan to expose the real villain: Prince Nightshade, a wicked necromancer who wants the Odditorium's power source for himself. With the evil prince hot on their trail, Grim, Grubb and the rest of the Odditorium's crew embark on a perilous adventure to find the legendary sword Excalibur: the only weapon capable of penetrating Nightshade's magical suit of armor. As expected, their quest turns out to be anything but ordinary. Not only can the Odditorium fly, but it can also swim! And so the crew battens down the hatches and sets off on an underwater voyage to the otherworldly realm of Avalon, home to Excalibur. Along the way, they must battle a banshee assassin, sea monsters, and a witch who seeks revenge on Alistair Grim for stealing her magical objects. But that's not all. Unbeknownst to Grubb and the others, their fate has been written in an ancient Avalonian prophecy-a prophecy that holds the key to a destiny not even Alistair Grim could have imagined.

Editor reviews

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Grubb's Adventures Continue!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
With the Odditorium on the run, Grubb is making peace with the fact that Grim is his father, but since Prince Nightshade is still on the loose, there's not a lot of time to dwell on things. Things get even worse when the banshee Lorcan catches up with the group over Ireland, and wants to capture Cleona, who is powering the ship. Nigel and Grim are still interested in solving Abel Worthy's murder, as well, but have lots to do, like traveling to a hell mouth to capture demons, who can then be used to power a demon buggy! When Grim consults Professor Bricklewick, the two decide that Nightshade can be dispatched with the sword Excalibur; Grim has the power to release the sword, but only Bricklewick has the map. The sword is in Avalon, and luckily the Odditorium has been fitted out for an underwater journey. Once there, all manner of secrets about the characters' pasts come out, and everyone must work together to make sure that Nightshade is defeated. There are losses, of course, but the Odditorium makes its way back to London, ready for its next adventure.
Good Points
This is an intriguing blend of Steampunk and Arthurian legend, and packed with all sorts of adventure and magic. The characters are intertwined in very clever ways, and the secrets are revealed at satisfying intervals.

The characters' relationships change and grow in this book-- Grubb gets used to having a father, Cleona has a surprising relationship with Lorcan, and several of the characters have other identifities revealed. The watch Mack again plays a pivotal, if somewhat smaller, role in this installment, and sees some of his powers restored. Even Mrs. Pinch has some good moments of interaction with others, aside from her regular interjections of "Well, blind me!"

The use of Arthurian legend is somewhat like Salerni's in The Eighth Day, but with a Victorian setting. I can also see this being enjoyed by fans of Reeve's Mortal Engines series-- there are not that many books about flying building or cities, and the Odditorium is a great backdrop for this action-packed tale of traveling and fighting evil.
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