Review – Gargantis by Thomas Taylor
Advance Review Copy Details
- Title: Gargantis
- Author: Thomas Taylor
- Illustrator: Tom Booth
- Series: Malamander, The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea, #2
- Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Supernatural
- Source: Netgalley
- Publisher: Walker Books
- Publication Date: 7 May 2020
- Format: Protected PDF
- Duration/Number of Pages: 320
I listened to the first book in this series about The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea and was utterly captivated. It felt like I’d only just read and enjoyed Malamander (see review here). So, it was a fortuitous happenstance seeing Gargantis the sequel on Netgalley a few months later and being approved for a copy.
It was a welcome return to Eerie-on-Sea; another opportunity to delve into this weird and wonderful world, thrust once more into mysterious happenings. Garganits follows on in the tradition of book 1 in revealing long held secrets and hinting at more to come. Before I forget, I must mention that the illustrations are wonderful. Seeing the map, orientated me in a way that only reading can. As much as I enjoyed Malamander as an audiobook, I believe I missed out on not seeing the illustrations as I read.
In the second fantasy set in Eerie-on-Sea, Herbert and Violet team up to solve the mystery of the Gargantis — an ancient creature of the deep with the power to create life-threatening storms.
There’s a storm brewing over Eerie-on-Sea, and the fisherfolk say a monster is the cause. Someone has woken the ancient Gargantis, who sleeps in the watery caves beneath this spooky seaside town where legends have a habit of coming to life. It seems the Gargantis is looking for something: a treasure stolen from her underwater lair. And it just might be in the Lost-and-Foundery at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, in the care of one Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder. With the help of the daring Violet Parma, ever-reliable Herbie will do his best to figure out what the Gargantis wants and who stole her treasure in the first place. In a town full of suspicious, secretive characters, it could be anyone. Goodreads
The story starts with a massive storm battering Eerie and our two intrepid heroes from Malamander are taking it in their stride. Luckily, that doesn’t last too long and fairly sharpish, they are slap, bang in the middle of another perilous escapade after a mysterious guest arrives at the hotel where Herbert Lemon works. This is followed shortly by an intriguing lost object, a strange found item and the introduction of another legend – Saint Dismal. Commencing the start of another rollicking adventure.
Why is Eerie–on-Sea so strange?
As I have said before, lovely place to visit, but not sure if I would want to live there.
- The concentration of perilous creatures, dastardly villains and forces of nature is downright suspicious but above all hazardous.
- It’s a town where it is natural for folks to regularly consult a book dispensing automaton mermonkey for advice.
- The town history and several inhabitants is shrouded in secrets, usually treacherous ones.
Gargantis reveals that myths and legends lost in time have the seeds of truth but generally mask dark deeds. A fascinating location but as yet no explanation why it’s the focal point of weird, peculiar and strange.
Eerie-on-Sea is an odd place where orphans literally fend for themselves – admirably in the case of Herbert Lemon and Violet Parma – and there doesn’t seem to be the concept of childhood. They must work to support themselves foremost and to a lesser extent rely on the kindness of strangers and neighbours. Therefore, both are by necessity independent, resilient, and daring. On the hunt for their past as much as their future, as they solve this new mystery. Both realise, that aside from each other, they have few to rely on.
Herbie and Vi’s friendship is delightful in its genuineness – they get on each other’s nerves, see each other’s negative traits, but never give up on wanting the best for the other and strive towards making that happen. Even if it means getting out of their comfort zone. Their bond is real and believable. Each child, becoming more mature as the story develops in this fast paced adventure, through their interactions and feats of life saving heroism.
Familiar characters are reintroduced, and new characters have the opportunity to shine. Deep Hood is suitably creepy. Lady Kraken continues not to mince her words. And the fishermen are all interesting and unusual in their own way. All these elements add up to an engaging realised world with a cracking seafaring story.
A return visit
I do so want a happy ending for both Herbert and Violet – possibly finding their parents, knowing more about their history would be ideal However, Eerie-on-Sea isn’t that type of place : where things are wrapped up nicely just because you want it to be. It is a dark, moody, brooding place, with hidden secrets, where friendships are hard won and valued.
Gargantis is well written with excellent dialogue, developed characters and a plot that makes you want to stay up that little bit longer to find out more. I am sure that book 3 will provide new, exciting thrills and daring deeds for Herbert and Violet to be in the midst of. Hopefully it will feature greater detail on their backstory.
My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for an advance review copy in return for a candid review.
4 Stars – Really Liked It
PS, my only gripe has nothing to do with the book itself and is around the format. I have a personal preference not to read protected pdf as that limits where I can read it. Particularly those on Adobe Digital Edition as bookmarks and highlights are not synced between devices or exportable which is a minor but significant annoyance.