In this third adventure, shipwrecked orphan Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, must square off with a creature of town lore as he confronts a shadow from his past. While other towns celebrate Halloween, in Eerie-on-Sea it’s Ghastly Night, and a grim spirit in a lantern awaits its moment. Legend has it that if people fail to light manglewick candles on Ghastly Night, and if no showman conjures shadow puppets on the pier as an offering, the insulted Shadowghast will seize and devour the shadows of the living. This year, a professional theater troupe has been summoned, including a raven-haired magician named Caliastra with startling news of Herbie’s origins. No sooner have the players checked into the hotel than townspeople start vanishing into thin air, including the guardian of Herbie’s best friend, Violet Parma. It’s up to Herbie and Violet to separate truth from sleight of hand and solve the mystery of the Shadowghast lantern before darkness swallows them all.
I absolutely adore the Legends of Eerie-on-Sea series, so when this third book appeared on Netgalley, of course I requested it! I will still try to get my hands of the physical copy though… because like I said: I love the series.
One of the things that makes this series so great is the setting. All of the stories take place in a seeside village called Cheerie-on-Sea… apart from that out of season two of the letters fall of the sign therefore the town is now called Eerie-on-Sea. And it is just perfect and I want to visit it. There is a book dispensary (where you get not necessarily the book you want, but the book you need), there is Mrs Fossil the beachcomber, there a wonderful museum, there is a great fish-and-chip shop on a pier… and there is Herbert Lemon who works as a Lost-and-Founder in the Grand Nautilus Hotel. Also, a talking cat and a clockwork hermit crab.
To all of that greatness, this book now adds another layer of atmosphere with it all being set around Ghastly Night (the towns version of Halloween) and the creatures and legends that come with it: the Shadowghast. And yes, he is creepy… making this the perfect read for upcoming spooky season.
We also get some developments on Herbie’s story and I cannot wait to see where that takes us, And we get to explore some new part of the town. As usual the stakes are high, and Thomas doesn’t make life easy for his heroes even though this book is written for kids. Herbert and Violet also get their friendship tested which was kinda nice to see.
My only (minor) issue with this book is with the villain, and a trope/trick that I’m not the biggest fan of in the first place done just a bit too often. But that might just be a personal irk.
This is one of those middle grade series that is very easy to enjoy by an older audience as well, and a perfect autumn read (especially this third book). So you should definitely pick these up soon!