This was a delight to read!
Take 12-year-old Herbie Lemon, an orphan living at the Grand Nautilus Hotel and working as the Lost-and-Founder, add in 12-year-old Violet Parma, an orphan who arrives on the island asking Herbie about her lost parents, and the two uncover a decades-old bet between Violet's father and an island author of tall tales, Sebastian Eels.
But between the pages of any tale are truths waiting to be uncovered and exploited, and the tale of the Malander's egg is no different. It is said, the one who possesses the egg, successfully steals it from the Malamander, a horrible, hideous sea monster, will have their dearest wishes fulfilled.
If the thief can survive the Malamander, a sort of salt water Swamp Thing that is both venomous and poisonous and super strong and otherwise impenetrable.
Of course, the Malamander has one weakness. It's on a page missing from Violet's father's book about the creature.
Eels has the book. And the race is on to find the page.
A super fun read!
The sequel features the same two kiddos, Herbie, the Lost and Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, and Violet, on the shores of Eerie-on-Sea, but this time things get going when a strange, hooded figure (who's more than a little fishy -- wink, wink) enters the hotel and hands over a clockwork seashell to Herbie.
Violet, who's forever jumping into things without thinking about them, uses a key that's in Herbie's collection of lost things to wind it up, like a music box, and...out springs a snipping, stabbing, horrible little hermit crab, that shaves the (talking) cat!
And it's downhill from there. Herbie thinks he sees a THING, a really big THING, swimming in the storm that's been raging for days now, and there's even a fisherman's ditty about it, calling it the Gargantis.
Then Mrs. Fossil, a driftwood and shell collector, staggers out of the rain and wind with an ancient, glowing bottle in her arms. A near-brawl breaks out in the lobby over it, with fishermen, Dr. Thalassi (who runs the town museum), Mrs. Fossil and a missing fisherman's nephew arguing over who it belongs to.
The indomitable Lady Kraken enters the lobby (and the fray) and breaks up the dispute by declaring it's Herbie's responsibility, as the Hotel's Lost and Founder, to get to the bottom of who's got the best claim to it.
And Herbie's off on his next creature-feature adventure, for which he'll have to get over his fear and do something he's avoided doing since washing up on shore so many years ago -- get in a boat.
But just like last time, he's got more to fear from the people around him than the monsters lurking in Eerie-on-Sea.
I won't spoil the ending, or the twist, but it was a great read! Enjoy!