Thomas Taylor creates a wonderful and mythical environment in his book Malamander. Herbert Lemon, the Lost-and-Founder at The Grand Nautilus Hotel, comes across a girl who is lost. In the true spirit of his title, he takes it upon himself to unravel the mystery behind Violet Parma’s missing parents. What seems to take a path down to the famous wreck of the battleship Leviathan, leads the two to discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. The story of Malamander is a beautifully created mystery – dotted with secrets, stories and an unforgettable sea-side town.
1. The Grand Nautilus Hotel has undiscovered secrets. There’s a lot happening inside its walls and a lot of mysteries to solve. It’ll guide you to the truth behind the town’s famous folklore – the Malamander.
The Grand Nautilus Hotel is a strange place. In high season, it’s full of summer guests – people in shorts and shades and sunburns who drift about looking at everything and noticing nothing. But it’s not like that in the winter. In the winter, people only stay here if they have a good reason. Or a bad one.
2. There’s a library you’ll want to see. It’s full of the secrets that the mermonkey carries with him. Find out which book he has in store for you. It can tell you a lot about your future or your past.
“The world’s one and only book dispensary,” Mrs Hanniver says, handing the card back. “A library will lend you the book you want, while a bookshop sells it for a price. In this place, however, it’s the book that chooses you.”
3. There’s seemingly nothing yet everything beyond the mist covering the pier.
Lady Kraken can see a lot with that cameraluna of hers, but seeing isn’t necessarily understanding.
4. The Malamander is a mythical creature that has become a big part of the town’s history. Nobody really knows much about it and nobody has really seen it. Or have they?
Something is in the mist, in the direction of the sea, too far to be clear. It’s a crouching figure, hunched low near the water, as if poised, waiting to spring. But there’s something funny about it, something odd about the length of its arms, something fish-like and spiny that stops this being a someone at all, and makes it more like a something.
5. Is there a part of you that wants something really desperately? Enough to take big risks in order to fulfil your wish? Then there might be something that the Malamander has that could make your wishes come true.
“And if you had such a thing in your possession, Violet Parma,” Eels continues. “If you could wish for your heart’s desire, I wonder what you would choose.”
Malamander by Thomas Taylor, published by Walker Books Ltd is available now.