Book Review: GARGANTIS by Thomas Taylor (Middle Grade Monday)

Title in white in front of a purple and pink image of violent waves and two kids running away
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4.5 stars
Series: Yes - second book



Book cover for GARGANTIS: two children run from a storm tossed sea along a pier in this purple cover

Herbert and Violet team up to solve the mystery of the Gargantis — an ancient creature of the deep with the power to create life-threatening storms.

There’s a storm brewing over Eerie-on-Sea, and the fisherfolk say a monster is the cause. Someone has woken the ancient Gargantis, who sleeps in the watery caves beneath this spooky seaside town where legends have a habit of coming to life.

It seems the Gargantis is looking for something: a treasure stolen from her underwater lair. And it just might be in the Lost-and-Foundery at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, in the care of one Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder.

With the help of the daring Violet Parma, ever-reliable Herbie will do his best to figure out what the Gargantis wants and who stole her treasure in the first place. In a town full of suspicious, secretive characters, it could be anyone!

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I dived right into GARGANTIS after re-reading MALAMANDER (which I loved more the second time around). It was so much fun staying in this world a little longer, with the sea-creature monsters and fast-paced adventure set on the sea in the middle of an atmospheric storm.

I love the world of Eerie-on-Sea,the feeling of being not quite in an English sea side town. Everything is a little off kilter, but the world is so carefully designed, from the map to the locations. The book dispensary – a book shop that gives you the books you need, not the ones you want. The fish and chips shop on the shaking pier. The raging power of the storm above them. It’s so quirky, and I love it!

This book expands that world, taking the book deeper into the sea and the mythology around it. There’s a second map that pops up, showing the bay and how the town fits into it. It does mainly stay centred on the town, not feeling to need to expand to a country, just the sea and rocks beyond. It makes it still feel part of the world as a whole, but a town that doesn’t need the wider world as it has all the adventure and oddities it needs.

The narrator of the book is brilliant. It’s very tongue in cheek funny, commenting on the world. There are points that are overtly funny, and others that it’s the tone that made me laugh – imagining a wry commentator giving a little look the audience. It’s the voice of the narrator – a timid but loyal and very funny – that makes this book so good.

There are also references to pop culture scattered in too. I’m sure I missed nearly all, but the Star Wars one had me cackling, then reading it to my family.

I’m so glad there’s going to be a third book in this series!

Read my reviews of other books by Thomas Taylor:

The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea (this series):


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