Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Reader's Diary #1255- Tania Del Rio (Writer), Will Staehle (Illustrator): Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye

Magic, puzzles, and steampunk. Hints of Roald Dahl, Lemony Snickett, and Edward Gorey. Ah, what a wonderful book.

Warren the 13th, the titular star of the book, is surrounded by assortment of eclectic characters: witches, perfumiers, pirates, and octopi, and more. Warren's certainly likable. Mannerly and obedient to a fault, but also odd in his own right. But those around him? Some clearly cannot be trusted. The rest? Well, who's to say?

Warren is the rightful heir to a a now dilapidated hotel, a hotel that holds a valuable secret known as the All Seeing Eye.

It's rare to see a book packaged this well. The illustrations, with rich etchings, expressive and outlandish cartoons, and everything cast with deliciously detailed shadows that suggest secrets of their own. The colouring too, with its rich reds, blacks, gold, silvers, and white, is magnificent.

The look of the book might also be its downfall. I brought this book at home from the library for my son to read, knowing he'd enjoy the story, but it took me reading the first the chapter to him before he'd give it a chance (then he devoured it in a day or so). It looks old fashioned, right down to the two columned pages and the fonts. I could tell he was skeptical.

That's not a bad lesson though. Sometimes those old relics (or old looking relics) have delightful surprises.

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