Tuesday 12 October 2021

Review on The Peculiar Tale of the Tentacle Boy


Marina Minnow loves to tell stories. The only problem is her friends never believe her, even when the stories are true! Living in a small seaside town means Marina rarely has adventures of her own, that is until she explores the old abandoned pier and finds William, a boy who has tentacles for hair and crab claws for hands! When Marina tells her new friends about William, they think he is just another one of her stories, but that all changes when William washes up on the beach. Marina must do her best to help William find the fisherman who looked after him before mysteriously disappearing and help him fit in. However, not everyone is ready to welcome him with open arms, and his very life could end up in jeopardy if he stays.

I was originally meant to be on the blog tour for this book, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take part due to a family emergency. However, even though this is super late, I still wanted to review this book as I adored it! The book follows Marina, a young girl who loves to tell stories. Growing up in a small fishing village, there really isn’t much for Marina to do, but when she meets William everything changes. I adored Richard’s writing style, as even when nothing much was happening in the book, the writing still managed to make it interesting.

 I loved the way each character had a completely unique personality, as these little quirks made each and every character interesting, and made me want to know more about them even if they were just a side character. I loved how these personalities and traits made us aware of which characters were good and which were bad. For example, Harold was made unlikable from the start, as he smelled horribly of fish due to constantly putting fish oil in his hair that attracted seagulls to him. The seagulls constantly pecking at his scalp was a funny addition that I think children would enjoy reading. It’s important to make both the plot and characters interesting in middle-grade books, and I think Richard achieved that perfectly.

 I loved how the book was equally character and plot-driven, as we’re interested in William’s character, but also in the adventure Marina and William go on in an attempt to uncover the truth. I loved how it was a bit of a whodunnit, as the main plot focused on finding out who abandoned William as a baby, along with finding out the identity of the fisherman who saved William and took care of him. I actually figured out who the fisherman was quite early on in the book, but I was surprised at the revelation of who had abandoned William in the first place. I loved how the book went back in time to explain the events leading up to William’s abandonment, as it gave us a good idea of the villains' motives. I won’t give away who it is, but they were such a great villain, and I absolutely despised them! I loved the stand-off between the villain and the children towards the end of the book, as it was super suspenseful and I just couldn’t put the book down until it had been resolved!

 I have to talk about the setting of the book, as I absolutely loved that it was set in a little seaside town in England. I adore visiting the coast, but as I live about an hour away from the closest beach I, unfortunately, don’t get to visit as much as I’d like. Merlington seemed like such a cute and cozy place to live and it honestly made me consider packing up and moving to work on the coast as a fishmonger. Even though seaside towns can seem a little sleepy especially once summer is over, it was hilarious how over-exaggerated this was, especially with literally every adult being either a fishmonger, a fisher, or a teacher who seemed to not teach the children about anything other than fish. It’s assumed all the children will stay in the town when they grow up and follow in the footsteps of their parents, so I loved how Marina’s plans were to defy this and do something else. As Marina loves telling stories it’s implied that she would rather be an author, so I loved how her plans went against what was expected of her. 

 The plot involving William actually reminded me of Edward Scissorhands, as he was locked away for looking different and was shunned by society when he tried to interact and fit in with others. I loved the message that it’s ok to be different and that if someone doesn’t accept you for who you are that’s their problem, not yours. I loved that William had a family to support him and look after him, and how they treated him with kindness and respect despite not fully understanding what he was or where he had come from. Marina’s friendship with William was adorable, and I loved how he accepted her stories rather than doing nothing but accuse her of making them up. 

 I overall loved this book, and thought it gave a positive message that it’s ok to be different. I wouldn’t recommend it for particularly young children as there is some violence towards William that younger children could find upsetting, but I think it would be perfect for any child who is confident reading at this level without assistance. I recommend this book to children and adults alike, and I would love to read more of Richard’s books in the future!

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