Header image with four cats and the text: Pussreboots, a book review nearly every day. Online since 1997
Now 2024 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA+ Artwork WIP

Recent posts

Month in review

America for Beginners by Leah Franqui
Booked for Death by Victoria Gilbert
Careless Whiskers by Miranda James
Catstronauts: Digital Disaster by Drew Brockington
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty
Dehaunting by J.A. White
Family Tree, Volume 1: Sapling by Jeff Lemire and Phil Hester
For Whom the Book Tolls by Laura Gail Black and Janina Edwards (narrator)
The Forest of Stars by Heather Kassner
Gargantis by Thomas Taylor
Kerry and the Knight of the Forest by Andi Watson
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger and Emily Woo Zeller
Malamander by Thomas Taylor
A Man and His Cat, Volume 1 by Umi Sakurai
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher
The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Parachutes by Kelly Yang
Restaurant to Another World Volume 1 by Junpei Inuzuka and Katsumi Enami
River of Dreams by Jan Nash
Sandhill Cranes by Lynn M. Stone
School-Tripped by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Shot in the Dark by Cleo Coyle
Some Enchanted Éclair by Bailey Cates and Amy Rubinate
Still Life by Louise Penny
Tempest in a Teapot by Amanda Cooper
Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail
Valley of the Lost by Vicki Delany

August 2020 Sources

August 2020 Summary

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Beat the Backlist 2024

Ozathon: 12/2023-01/2025

Canadian Book Challenge: 2023-2024

Chicken Prints
Paintings and Postcards

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

Malamander: 09/04/20


Malamander by Thomas Taylor is the first book in the Legends of Eerie-on-Sea middle grade urban fantasy series. In the summer time, this seaside town is Cheerie-on-Sea but come winter, the Ch falls off, the tourists go home, and the town settles into its true nature.

Herbert "Herbie" Lemon is twelve and has been working as the Grand Nautilus Hotel's Lost-and-Founder for most of it. He's tasked with returning lost items to former visitors. Now he has his toughest case yet, helping Violet Parma find her parents. She was left in the hotel as a baby and has returned in hopes of learning what happened.

In the background of Violet's quest, is the malamander. She's a sea creature who estivates and comes out to lay a single egg on the winter solstice. The egg is said to be able to grant a wish. But it's also said to be cursed.

Eerie-on-Sea as a fictional seaside town fits in nicely with two other middle grade towns that run on puns and paranormal hijinks. I recommend this first book to fans of the Nagspeak books by Kate Milford and the Secrets of Topsea books by Kir Fox.

The malamander, a portmanteau of malmum (evil) and salamander, is the driving force in this novel. She's a misunderstood, magical sea creature. Yes, her actions to protect her egg can result in a cursed existence for those foolish enough to go after it, but she's not inherently evil. How Violet and Herbie discover this is one of the most interesting parts of the book.

While this novel is British, it is one of those outliers on the road narrative spectrum. Although Violet returns to where she was abandoned, her journey is within the confines of the town, and it's not one she can return home from at the end of the novel. Maybe at the end of the series she will. For now though, she shares a journey with Herbie.

Herbie and Violet are both orphans (FF). Or presumed orphans in that the whereabouts of both sets is unknown. Both want to know what happened to their parents, though, Violet more so than Herbie. Through the magic of the malamander's egg, they can get a glimpse at the past. That desire to know what happened is a destination in uhoria (CC). Their route is offroad, namely across the muddy ocean floor (66). Thus book one in this series can be summarized as an orphan's journey to uhoria via an offroad route (FFCC66).

The second book in the series is Gargantis (2020).

Five stars

Comments (0)

Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2024 Sarah Sammis