What happens when you pair up an award-winning designer and illustrator, a.k.a. Will Staehle, with a comic-book writer and artist, Tania Del Rio – even if they live 2 states away from each other? Why, Warren the 13th And The All-Seeing Eye of course! The concept was Will’s idea but the collaboration is a match made in reading and visual heaven for middle grade readers, and even adults like me. I could just look at the illustrations all day long and be a happy camper but Warren’s story is a fun fantasy adventure, with some good lessons under the surface, that I think you’ll get as big a kick out of as your child. And we’ve got a full-color, completely illustrated copy (and a cool poster) that one of you will win in our book giveaway!
Warren is only twelve years old but he’s inherited his family’s hotel and is trying really hard to keep it going with kind-of help from his lazy Uncle Rupert, who took over its management when Warren’s father passed away. Poor Warren does his best but it’s obvious that running a hotel is beyond the abilities of one twelve year old, no matter how conscientious he is or no matter how hard he works.
To make it even worse, Uncle Rupert has recently married and Warren’s Aunt Annaconda is, well, not to put it delicately – she’s a witch, a real bonafide witch. Nasty, nasty woman – nuf said. Oddly enough Warren’s uncle is clueless about how evil she is but she doesn’t bother to hide it from Warren. She’s convinced the hotel harbors a magical artifact that will grant her endless powers and she is determined to find it, no matter what.
To say the hotel is languishing, despite Warren’s best intentions, would be a gross understatement. There hasn’t been a guest in years and then, suddenly, a very odd gentleman appears and wants to rent a room – a gentleman whose face is swathed in bandages, earning him the nickname Paleface. Paleface doesn’t speak, using flash cards instead. WTH? Warren’s suspicions are instantly on high alert. What could this secretive, silent person want?
Mr. Friggs is Warren’s tutor. Mr. Friggs basically lives in the hotel library surrounded by the books he loves. He’s taught Warren a lot about the outside world Warren longs to visit. That Mr. Friggs didn’t abandon the hotel long ago is a sign of just how loyal he is to Warren and his family.
“Warren told him about Paleface and then explained the curious circumstances surrounding his arrival. ‘I’m afraid I don’t have a lot of information. Not yet. But Aunt Annaconda is convinced that he’s come to steal the All-Seeing Eye.’
‘Not that nonsense again!’ said Mr. Friggs. ‘I have told her a thousand times: the Eye is nothing but a fairy tale. It simply does not exist.’
Mr. Friggs gestured around the library, with its thousands of journals and ledgers, its towering reams of paper. ‘I have the complete history of the Warren family at my disposal and I assure you, there’s not a single mention of an All-Seeing Eye. There’s no such thing.’
‘I believe you, Mr. Friggs,” Warren said. ‘But that won’t stop Aunt Annaconda. She’s convinced that it’s real.’
Mr. Friggs shook his head sadly. ‘I hate to say it, but sometimes I think the only reason she married your uncle was to get her hands on this imaginary treasure.’
Lately, Warren had found himself thinking the same thoughts…”
And finally, there’s Chef Bunion who sneaks normal food to Warren to supplement the porridge that Aunt Annaconda insists should be the only thing Warren eats. Oh, and he makes the best pudding cookies on the planet.
Two other characters who appear in this story include: Petula, who may or may not be a ghost or a girl or a witch in training, or a combination thereof; and Sketchy, a monster who lives in the boiler room – friend or foe? There are others but these are the essential players in this mystery/adventure.
So Warren’s job is to keep the hotel running while foiling Annaconda’s attempts to find the All-Seeing Eye, an artifact Warren didn’t even realize existed and still isn’t too sure about. Needless to say, anything that can go wrong does go wrong, thanks in large part to Annaconda’s evil scheming – and her delight in making Warren’s life utter misery.
Can Warren stop her? Can he save the hotel from ruin? Can he manage to stay alive while doing one or both of those things?
Warren is a great kid with a bit of a froggy face (we all have our crosses to bear). He’s one of those overly conscientious kids who really wants to keep his family’s generations-long dream alive in the guise of the hotel. He knows the hotel has secrets but he’s never guessed at its biggest one. Annaconda is the classic evil stepmother – in this case step-aunt – who makes his life a living hell. Rupert is well-meaning but weak, lazy, and completely under her spell. Yep, it’s all up to Warren and anyone or anything he can gather onto his team to save the day. Will it be enough?
I loved every minute of the story in Warren the 13th And The All-Seeing Eye, and every illustration. The illustrations flow literally throughout the book, adding just the right eerie touch to every page. I’m recommending this one for middle grade readers. I believe both boys and girls will enjoy it a lot. It will especially appeal to fans of all ages who loved Lemony Snicket and/or Hotel Transylvania (which includes me, BTW). Oh, and did I mention that it’s Volume 1 of a new series? Booyah! I’m so glad I get to share this remarkable book with you in a giveaway, even though part of me really wanted to keep it.
Can’t wait to get it? Warren the 13th And The All-Seeing Eye is available in all formats from your favorite online bookseller. For this heavily illustrated book, however, I would recommend getting the hardcover unless you’ve got a full-color e-reader like a Kindle Fire or an iPad-like tablet with a good e-reader app on it.
I’d love to get your comments on Warren the 13th And The All-Seeing Eye, Will Staehle, Tania Del Rio, and/or their other work, and/or this review.
One lucky reader will win a full-color, fully illustrated, trade paperback ARC (advance readers copy) of Warren the 13th And The All-Seeing Eye by Tania Del Rio and Will Staehle! That winner will also receive a Warren the 13th Do Not Disturb poster.
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 12/12/2015, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 13 years old to enter this giveaway.
4) You must use the Rafflecopter form. Even if leaving a comment is part of the giveaway, you must use the form in addition to leaving the comment for the comment to count as an entry.
5) If you already follow PopcornReads on Twitter or Linky, you must still complete that part of the Rafflecopter form for your follow to count as an entry.
6) If you do not provide a complete mailing address in the Rafflecopter form, your entry will not be eligible. We will use your mailing address to ship your book to you. Please allow 2-3 weeks for book delivery.
7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!
Click here to go to our home page, where you’ve find lots of great book reviews & more book giveaways to enter!