Release Date ~ September 25, 2012
Review copy received from Quirk Books/Random House of Canada
In Professor Gargoyle, we’re introduced to 11-year-old Robert Arthur and the strange world of Lovecraft Middle School. It’s a brand-new state-of-the-art facility—so why do so many creepy things keep happening? Why is the science teacher acting so strangely? And where are all the rats coming from?
As Robert explores with his new friends Glenn and Karina, he discovers that the school may be a portal to another world.
Professor Gargoyle is an incomparable middle grade read - and fortunately the beginning of what is sure to be an invaluable and exemplary series. Personally, I think it's a great idea to introduce younger readers to all sorts of books - and a middle grade take on Lovecraftian horror serves up plenty of fun with some shocking and creepy twist.
- Fun horror - but not conventional horror:
I appreciate Lovecraft-inspired stories because it's exactly the kind of horror I really enjoy. This isn't what most of us are used to, and for anyone concerned about nightmares or gore, you don't need to be when it comes to Professor Gargoyle. It's shocking at times and a bit twisted and it's just enough to give you some creepy tingling in your spine but nothing that's over the top or gratuitous. Honestly, some of the creepier parts of the story are positively BRILLIANT.
- Appropriate illustrations for the story:
A good illustration is not only pleasing to the eye but it actually enhances the reading experience as well. Eugene Smith is remarkable with illustrations that combine the needs of both a middle grade book and one that has some scarier aspects to the plot. The lenticular cover is also a great way to really get a feel for the book and I think it adds to the overall experience.
- One of the most creative and thrilling middle grade books I've read:
The story is fast-paced, and totally bursting with creativity. I enjoyed the few nods to typical Lovecraftian adventures and creatures. But placing these in a younger setting is going to hold a lot of appeal with younger readers looking for something more uncommon, and for older readers both those who are familiar with horror a la Lovecraft and those who are completely new to it and would just like a taste. I adored the haunted school as a setting, and Karina is one character that I found particularly intriguing.
I wish there had been a bit more depth to the story overall though. I think a bit more could have been added to the plot to give it more meaning and significance, although this may be addressed later on in later books from the series as overarching themes and ideas are addressed.
It really is something that is great for readers looking for something besides the standard paranormal or contemporary books out there.