Gargantis: Legends of Eerie-on-Sea, Book 2

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Gargantis: Legends of Eerie-on-Sea, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Action, suspense ramp up with discovery of ancient bottle.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Fantasy meant to entertain.

Positive Messages

Whatever happened in the past, or might happen in the future, isn't as important as being in the here and now with loved ones. Be kind to others and try to understand them. Returning things to their rightful owner is always the right thing to do. Finding a compromise is often the best solution when people disagree. Take just what you need, not all you can. You're capable of more than you think. Diesel power is loud, dirty, and pollutes; electric power is quiet, efficient, and better for all living creatures.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Herbie, who's about 12, is cautious and responsible. He prefers to think things through before acting or making a decision. He's a positive role model for bravery, compassion, and integrity. He always wants to do what's right. Violet, also about 12, is a strong role model for girls, especially those with dark skin. She's impulsive, and prefers to take action quickly instead of spending time thinking about things. She reads a lot, learns from what she reads, and puts what she learns to practical use. She's also a good role model for determination and bravery. Illustrations and brief descriptions show a diverse town with a variety of skin colors.

Violence & Scariness

Lots of scariness from main characters in danger from fantasy creatures and menacing real-world characters, from both descriptions and pictures. A fantasy creature cuts with a knife, pain and blood are briefly mentioned but the injury isn't serious. A human-like fantasy creature attacks with a tentacle, hitting people in the face and knocking them down and unconscious. A pet cat is shocked by a fantasy creature that wields lightning bolts. A kidnapping is vaguely remembered, and pain along with a large bump on the head are mentioned. Bad guys try to kill a fantasy creature that the world depends on with explosive harpoons. The creature shrieks and writhes in pain. An illustration of a book cover shows the aftermath of a shipwreck with bodies sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Adults debate whether they're willing to cause a child's death in order to save the town, and they conclude that they are willing to sacrifice the child if they must.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gargantis: Legends of Eerie-on-Sea, Book 2 continues the middle-grade, fantasy-mystery series begun with Malamander. Here, a beachcomber finds an ancient, sealed, glowing glass bottle, and our tween heroes have to face a hooded stranger, a mechanical crab, and the monster Gargantis to find its true owner. There's a lot of scariness and suspense from fantasy creatures, menacing people, and heroes in danger. Blood and pain are mentioned a few times but not described in detail. A fantasy creature hits adults and a teen in the face with enough force to knock them out. There's a kidnapping and characters are tied up. A fantasy creature is shot with explosive harpoons. Adults debate whether or not to cause a child to die in order to save the town. Everything resolves safely and no one is seriously injured. The villain gets his comeuppance when he's swallowed by a giant fantasy creature. Parental loss is mentioned but not explored in detail. A setting in a pub mentions drawing pints and smoking pipes; the atmosphere is unpleasant.

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What's the story?

Legend has it that the powerful storm that's been battering the town of Eerie-on-Sea is because the monster GARGANTIS has awoken, come out of its cave and is stirring up the skies and the ocean. During the storm, the town's beachcomber finds an ancient, sealed, glass bottle that seems to be glowing, sometimes wiggling, and has mysterious writing etched into its side. A debate arises over who should keep the bottle: the woman who found it, the town museum, or the fisherfolk who claim it's a relic of their patron saint. As the official Lost and Founderer at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, Herbie Lemon is given the task of deciding who the rightful owner is. But it quickly becomes apparent that forces much more sinister than anyone from Eerie are also interested in the bottle. Herbie and his friend Violet will have to outsmart them all, and face down a hooded stranger, a mechanical hermit crab, and even the monster Gargantis to find its rightful owner.

Is it any good?

This second installment in a planned fantasy-mystery series has a lot of the charm, suspense, and adventure of the first book, and it adds a lot of menace and action that make it more suspenseful. Lots of favorite, colorful townsfolk return in Gargantis, and of course the dynamic duo of Herbie and Violet, too. The plot moves along quickly, although it follows a familiar path for anyone who's read the first book. The short chapters with cliffhanger or surprise endings keep the pages turning, and make it a great choice for reading aloud.

Author Thomas Taylor's humor in this second book is broader and not quite as clever and cheeky as in Malamander. But Gargantis has more menace, suspense, and action than the first book to keep fans and newcomers guessing about what will come next. Big kids and tweens will relate to Herbie and Violet as they explore themes like having the courage to act even when you're scared, and not letting bad things from the past or the unknown future keep you from fully appreciating each moment as it comes along.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence and scariness in Gargantis. When is it sometimes fun to be a little bit scared? What can you do to feel better when you're scared?

  • Are Herbie and Violet positive role models? What are their character strengths and weaknesses? Do you like them?

  • Did you read Malamander? If you did, which book do you like better? If you didn't, would you like to now?

Book details

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For kids who love fantasy and adventure

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