I wonder. Is there such a thing as seaside steampunk? And if so, is Thomas Taylor’s Malamander it? I loved this book, and kept wanting to put a period to it. Feels old, but can’t be; is old-fashioned in style (as in 12-year-olds should be at school and not working in hotels) so would have to be a parallel universe.

Though none of this matters. It’s simply a story and it is good. Set in a not-Hastings called Eerie-on-Sea, it is so very sea-ish. I immediately wanted to go there and stay in a big, old and probably draughty hotel, right there, on the seafront in some British seaside town of yesteryear. It’s awfully atmospheric, even without the malamander, which is a kind of large fish monster with really sharp teeth.

Also, it doesn’t exist, does it? It’s in your imagination.

Thomas Taylor, Malamander

Young Herbie Lemon works in the Grand Nautilus Hotel as a Lost-and-Founder, which means he looks after everything left behind in the hotel. Or he did until the night a girl jumps in through his window needing to hide.

The two of them have a number of interesting as well as potentially dangerous adventures as they roam Eerie, looking for Violet’s parents. Or the malamander? Or trying to avoid who [what?] was chasing Violet.

Eerie-on-Sea is cold and wet, populated by some real characters. Who is good? And who is bad? Is the malamander coming for them? What about his egg?

This is a story that is just the right amount of menacing and comforting. Monster teeth, or hot chocolate.

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