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Malamander: The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea #1    by Thomas Taylor order for
by Thomas Taylor
Order:  USA  Can
Walker, 2019 (2019)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Thomas Taylor's Malamander is a quirky fantasy that steadily draws the reader in. Aimed at middle grade to young teen readers, it's set in Eerie-on-Sea. Steady young Herbert Lemon is Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, appointed by its owner, Lady Kraken. He has lived in the cellar Lost-and-Foundery for five years, ever since he was found on the beach, washed up in a crate of lemons.

Impulsive young Violet Parma bursts suddenly into Herbert's life through the cellar windows and draws the cautious young man into daring adventures. Violet's parents disappeared from the hotel when she was a baby and she's determined to find them, and to make Herbert help her do so. Herbert hides Violet, who is pursued by a strange hook-handed man.

The town has a legend of a malamander, a fish man who creeps around the wreck of the battleship Leviathan on Maw Rocks. The malamander's egg is said to make dreams come true. Violet and Herbert wander around town pursuing clues (the mermonkey supplies one), talking to an assortment of eccentric locals, and avoiding Boat Hook Man. They are helped by Erwin the cat.

Eventually, their quest leads them at low tide into extreme danger on the wreck of the Leviathan ... where they meet the malamander. This story is strangely compelling and it looks like there will be more exotic adventures ahead for Herbert, Violet and Erwin.

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