I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed reading Gregory Funaro’s Alistair Grim’s Odditorium, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read the sequel- Alistair Grim’s Odd Aquaticum. Before I begin, I’d like to mention that you should really read the first book in the series before reading Aquaticum. Funaro does an excellent job with exposition at the beginning of the book, so the savvy reader can glean the basics of what happened in Odditorium. But the plot twists and big revelations in Aquaticum are so much more meaningful if you have read Odditorium.
The plucky orphan Grubb returns to narrate the story for a second time. He is growing used to life in the Odditorium. Everyone is still reeling from the events in the first book, and the story picks up not too long after those events. The eccentric Alistair Grim has a plan to defeat his nemesis, and it involves using his flying Odditorium as it has never been used before- it becomes an underwater Aquaticum. They need to travel to a distant magical land in order to retrieve something very important. Without this item, they will never be able to defeat the forces of darkness who are determined to stop them.
I would absolutely recommend Alastair Grim’s Odd Aquaticum. This is an exciting middle grade adventure story. I loved the Victorian setting, and I thought that it meshed well with the steampunk and folkloric elements. It’s such an interesting mashup, but it works so well; there’s magic, action, adventure, and even some romance. Grubb is an intrepid young man, who is still struggling to find his place in the world and how he fits into the future of the Odditorium. There are new characters to meet, as well as the return of familiar characters. Questions are answered, but the answers only lead to more questions. There is much more left to be told, and I know that I will be eagerly awaiting the third book in the series!