Warren, the 13th, is a twelve-year-old bellhop in a strange hotel that rarely sees any guests. Warren will inherit the hotel, which was started by the first Warren in a successive line of Warrens. Also in the hotel is Warren’s Aunt Anaconda who has taken over the management of the hotel, but Warren knows that the real reason she is there is because of the legend that a treasure, known as The All-Seeing Eye, is hidden on the grounds somewhere. Warren knows that the only hope of preserving the family hotel is for him to find the treasure first.
This is a middle-grade reader book, filled with luscious illustrations.
On the one hand, the story is quite simple. It’s young boy vs evil adults with boy’s history and future at stake. This is just the right kind of story for this target audience. On the other hand, the books is overly long and drags on. I was bored through most of the story. What is there here to hold the reader’s attention?
Oh yeah … there’s art.
I received an ARC of this book, delivered directly to my Kindle, and only about half of the artwork showed up, but even with that, I could see that the appeal of this book is in the fantastically odd art by Will Staehle. The art is a cross between Charles Addams and the Muppets. It’s slightly creepy, slightly off-kilter with a slight bit of whimsy. It is what holds the reader’s interest, but it also confuses me some.
Nothing that I recall reading lead me to believe that Warren was a little monster, in a long line of monsters. But look at that book cover at the top of this review… that is not the drawing of a little boy, or human child. So is this a world of little monsters, some friendly, some otherwise? That changes the perceptions of the story (otherwise why make them monsters?) and yet … and yet the story doesn’t seem to need them to be monsters, so … I don’t know. It just confused me.
Overall, I liked the basic concepts of the book, though it didn’t hold my interest all the way through, and I like the art (that I was able to see), but I’m not clear on why the art is featuring characters the way that it is. This book is middle of the road, for me.
Looking for a good book? Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio, with art by Will Staehle, is a middle-grade book with quirky characters and an off-beat look that will appeal to the imaginative middle-graders, but it may not see a lot of repeat reading.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye
author: Tania del Rio
artist: Will Staehle
publisher: Quirk Books
hardcover, 224 pages