Book Review: Alistair Grim’s Odditorium by Gregory Funaro

Book Review: Alistair Grim’s Odditorium by Gregory FunaroAlistair Grim's Odditorium by Gregory Funaro
Series: Odditorium #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 6th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Middle Grade
Source: ARC from Publisher

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Grubb, age twelve (or thereabouts), has never known anything beyond his miserable existence as a chimney sweep, paid only in insults and abuse by his cruel master. All of that changes the day he stows away in the coach belonging to a mysterious guest at the inn that he is tasked with cleaning. Grubb emerges from Alistair Grim's trunk and into the wondrous world of the Odditorium. Fueled by a glowing blue energy that Grubb can only begin to understand, the Odditorium is home to countless enchanted objects and an eccentric crew that embraces Grubb as one of their own. There's no time for Grubb to settle into his new role as apprentice to the strange, secretive Mr. Grim. When the Odditorium comes under attack, Grubb is whisked off on a perilous adventure. Only he can prevent the Odditorium's magic from falling into evil hands—and his new family from suffering a terrible fate. Grubb knows he's no hero. He's just a chimney sweep. But armed with only his courage and wits, Grubb will confront the life-or-death battle he alone is destined to fight.


I have this NEED to love MG books. I really can’t explain to you why, besides that they have some of the cutest covers and that I can read them with my daughter. BUT for the life of me I can’t find anything outside of Harry Potter (the early years) and Percy Jackson that has kept my attention. I swear it’s not the books, it’s me and my preferences. I realize these won’t read like YA, I realize that things HAVE to be different because these books are marketed for kids. Mainly what gets me EVERY TIME is the writing and pacing, and once again I find that this is where ODDITORIUM and I had our issues.


Despite my lower rating for this book it wasn’t BAD, and seriously it’s a case of it was me, and not the book. I really think that the age that this is marketed for will love and enjoy this book, and also anyone that enjoys MG in general will. Grubb, the main character, is very like-able. His back story pulled me in and I was very fond of him through out the entire book. The entire idea behind the Odditorium was really intriguing and I enjoyed the use of magic and how everything worked the way it did. There were also faeries, and I mean let’s be honest…who doesn’t love faeries? The entire book was a pretty fun adventure overall. I also liked the the other characters, Ms. Pinch always made me crack up. Mr. Grim was an interesting character and all the secrets that come out about him were actually pretty shocking and I never expected it. Nigel also had quite the back story and he was one of my favorites. I do wish that there had been more of Cleona in the first half of the book because I thought she was the most fun.


My two main issues that really held me back with this book was the writing and the pacing. This book is over 400 pages, and my goodness I felt every single one of them. I don’t mind a long book but I felt like this one could have been a lot shorter. I felt that a lot of things were repeated SEVERAL times or dragged out when it just wasn’t necessary. The writing was also just too “young” for me. I don’t mean this as immature, but maybe simple writing? I don’t mean that in an offensive way either, it’s hard to explain, but the writing is obviously meant for someone way younger than me and it just made it hard for me to stay focused on the story because of that. I started to have to read it in doses, which I really don’t like doing. I also felt that some of the explanations of things were rushed or just kind of randomly thrown in as the story went on. I wish that some things had been explained earlier on and I think that might have made things smoother for me.

I don’t think this is a series that I will be continuing. I do think the ending will leave people who love this book really excited for the next installment. I would recommend this for the appropriate age group that this is marketed for, and even for readers who just really enjoy MG. Like I said, I honestly believe it’s just me in these instances, because the book certainly isn’t bad.

Also I will continue my search for those MGs that I WILL love, because I just have that need! If you have any amazing recommendations leave them for me here!


2.5 sadly underwhelmed emojis!



About Gregory Funaro

ALISTAIR GRIM'S ODDITORIUM, the first installment of Greg's new middle-grade series for Disney-Hyperion, will be released in January of 2015.

Gregory Funaro grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island, and wrote his first story, The Ghost in the Window, in the fourth grade. He considers this to be his finest work, but unfortunately it has been lost to time. Following high school Greg majored in theatre at the University of New Hampshire, and after various acting gigs, received his AM in Theatre Arts from Brown University and an MFA in Acting from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. Greg teaches drama at East Carolina University, and is busy working on the next book in the Odditorium series.

Tell us what you think of the book or my review in the comments below!


  1. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas says:

    I can totally understand what you mean about MG. I love idea of Middle Grade, and I wish I could read more of it but I have to be in a very particular mindset or it just doesn’t work for me. And that mindset is pretty rare…so I still with the middle grade I know I’ll enjoy (Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson)

    • Crystal says:

      I’m glad I’m not alone and you understand where I’m coming from when it comes to MG. I have been given quite a few recs that I’m going to give a shot soon!

  2. Sam @ Bookish Serendipity says:

    Aww…I’m sorry you didn’t love this one! I personally really enjoyed it, but I totally get what you said about several things being repeated. That was one of the problems I did have with it. Lovely review, though, and better luck next time!

    • Crystal says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I swear it’s totally a personal thing and not the book in this case! I ordered some MG today so hopefully these work out for me!

  3. Carina Olsen says:

    Aw, sad face 🙁 I’m so sorry you had issues with this book. I got invited kind of last minute to the blog tour, without having heard about this book, so I do not own it.. not sure if I want to buy it or not (A) Hiih. But it is pretty. Sigh. But yeah. I cannot stand to read books where I don’t like the writing :\ and since you had issues with it, I probably will too. Ack! But I’m happy you enjoyed some parts of this book 🙂 Thank you for sharing your review Crystal. <3

  4. Sui generis says:

    Awtsu.. I was actually thinking of purchasing this book but I’m having second thoughts now after reading your review.

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