Friday, January 13, 2017

Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye (Warren the 13th #1) by Tania del Rio

This review was written by: B
Received: Publisher for Blog Tour
Publication Date: November 2015
Pages: 224
Stars: 4.5/5

Official Summary:
Warren the 13th is the lone bellhop, valet, waiter, groundskeeper, and errand boy of his family’s ancient hotel. It’s a strange, shadowy mansion full of crooked corridors and mysterious riddles—and it just might be home to a magical object known as the All-Seeing Eye. Can Warren decipher the clues and find the treasure before his sinister Aunt Annaconda (and a slew of greedy hotel guests) beats him to it?

This middle-grade adventure features gorgeous two-color illustrations on every page and a lavish two-column Victorian design that will pull young readers into a spooky and delightful mystery.

My Thoughts:
As most bookish things in my life begin, Warren the 13th started much the same way, that is to say with a library and a bookshelf.  Working part-time in the Youth Services Department at a local library can be extremely tempting when it comes to grabbing everything you see, especially when each new book screams at you to check it out!  I have learned to exercise self-restraint, though others may argue with me on this, and I try to limit myself.  (If 40 books is a limit?!)

One random day, I was walking past our New Shelf when Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye jumped at me.  It literally fell off the shelf when I walked past.  I. WANTED. IT. SO. BAD.  But then I remembered how many books I had waiting for me at home.  I fought so hard subconsciously to justify my taking it home, but needless to say, it was not in my bag at the end of the day.  I was forcibly removed from the scene.  

Not even a week after my sad incident, though, I got asked to join a blog tour for none other than . . . wait for it . . .  Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye!  My luck had changed drastically (which is ironic considering this is going up on Friday the 13th!), and I no longer had to feel guilty about having the book in my possession!  Haha, Conscience, Fate won this round! Ding, ding, ding.

Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye is one of the quirkiest and most imaginative, not to mention beautifully crafted, Middle Grade novels that I have read in a long time.  I've never had a reading experience quite like this one, either.  There are so many gorgeous, detailed illustrations that literally brought the story to life right before my eyes, and the columned pages, for whatever reason, threw me into the plot and made me super excited for this new format!  Shall we take some time to just appreciate the shear loveliness of Tania del Rio and Will Staehle's work?

If those pictures alone aren't enough to make someone want to go run out to the nearest bookstore or library to nab this book, I don't know what else will!

There is a slightly gothic vibe to this book, which I immediately jumped on board with.  On top of that, there is no possible way to describe how the illustrator did such a phenomenal job of transporting his audience into a world of a run-down hotel with secrets literally waiting to burst from its foundation.  I cannot begin to fathom how much adoration and dedication went towards making this book.  Each page was a masterpiece unto itself, with its own title and artwork woven in rich red and black coloring.

When it comes to the cast of this fantastic story, Warren is a character who is different from everybody else as a result of his appearance.  He has a peculiar face that his Aunt Annaconda won't stop criticizing.  What I loved about this detail was how the author was able to repeatedly stress the fact that how people look on the outside in no way defines who they are as an individual.  It's their heart that does that, and Warren has one of the biggest hearts on the planet.  This wasn't a theme that was pronounced from the rooftops, though.  Instead it seems as if it was meant to seep into the readers chapter by chapter, allowing them to come to this wonderful conclusion themselves.

I'm a huge sap for stories spotlighting heartwarming family moments and unconventional families in general.  This is exactly what Warren has.  His parents are deceased and he only has his lazy Uncle Rupert left, along with Rupert's unsavory new wife Annaconda.  To feel connected with his father, he goes to a painting of Warren the 12th, his dad.  He tells this image about his adventures in the hotel and the current happenings that go on there.  These heartfelt moments show, to a certain degree, the loneliness Warren feels and the strong connection he still has with those he has lost.  This has all the feels.      

If you're looking for a book with a Hotel Transylvania vibe mixed with Howl's Moving Castle scenery and just a dash of Tim Burton pazazz, Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye is the perfect combination of the three.  I can already envision it as a Studio Ghibli film!  It is the ideal type of story to read to the whole family, no matter everyone's age.  Both the young and the young at heart will fall in love with this extraordinary tale that was nothing short of perfection.     

Check out the accompanying activity booklet for Warren the 13th below!

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