WARREN THE 13TH
and the THIRTEEN-YEAR CURSE
Written by Tania del Rio
Created & Illustrated by Will Staehle
Quirk Books 3/24/2020
224 Pages Age 10 +
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Themes: Hotels, Shipwrecks, Riddles
WARREN the 13th SETS SAIL!
In his final adventure, Warren is adjusting to his role as manager of his family’s floating hotel and –even better—he’s planning his thirteenth birthday party! But nothing goes as planned. The Warren Hotel gets shipwrecked on a strange island, and his friend Sketchy is kidnapped! Warren and his crew must embark on a daring rescue mission across the high seas.
But before Warren can rescue Sketchy, he’ll need to solve several mysteries: Where will the traveling sea circus go next?1 Why did his father leave him a mysterious ring on his birthday?2 And what on earth is the Great Eight?3
Full of puzzles, riddles, and hundreds of illustrations, Warren the 13th and the Thirteen-Year Curse will delight and confound readers of all ages. (from back cover)
“Dark clouds bubbled on the horizon, bluish black and heavy with rain. Warren the 13th lowered his telescope and licked his finger, holding it up to the air”
Why I like Warren the 13th and the Thirteen-Year Curse
Warren the 13th (the 13th heir, all named Warren), found in book 2 that the Warren Hotel can walk on its four legs. In this book, the hotel transforms into a sea-worthy ship. He and his pals are now sailing the quie—
It’s shipwrecked. The Warren Hotel is scattered all over a luxurious beach. It is a total mess.
Oops, I’m getting ahead. Starting over, Warren the 13th plans his 13th birthday party only to find everyone forgets. Lucky for Warren, he actually has wonderfully loyal friends and crew. They stun Warren with a surprise thirteenth-birthday party. Earlier, Mr. Friggs, the longtime Warrens’ tutor, gives Warren the 13th his father’s ring (Warren the 11th). This mysterious ring is supposedly the key to the hotel. It might have unusual abilities. Mr. Friggs also warns Warren about the thirteen-year curse. Warren does not want believe this is true, but evidence is stacking up against him.
The rooftop party is a wonderful event, until . . . well, the ship shipwrecks upon aforementioned beach. After some looking around, Warren learns he landed on an island full of retired pirates, cared for by ten-year-old Captain Bonny—a rather rude and sarcastic little pirate. Sketchy refuses to stay behind. Soon, the geriatric pirates bow, salute, and generally yip and holler when they meet Sketchy. They think he is the Great Eight, but we know he is simply Warren’s multi-eyed pet octopus. The old pirates follow Warren back to his poor, shipwrecked hotel, carrying The Great Eight Sketchy over their frail backs.
The pirates fix the Warren Hotel quickly (pirates are great at building and fixing ships). Soon, all are celebrating the now floatable hotel by dancing, singing, and having a great ole pirate time. They have so much fun no one notices Sketchy disappears. Warren and Petula (witch-in-training), follow Sketchy’s imprint upon the sand to the water’s edge. He’s kidnapped! With a new crew of old pirates, and a reluctant Captain Bonny joining the crew, Captain Warren immediately embarks on a mission to save his friend.
Warren the 13th and the Thirteen-Year Curse completes the trilogy of a young hotel manager learning the ropes in a strange, unusually characteristic hotel, passed down from Warren to Warren for thirteen generations. Inside the story, riddles and all means of puzzles try to trip up Warren and readers. Until solved, the story remains anchored. But Warren is a smart little guy and figures each puzzle and riddle in record time.
Warren’s crew, aka his friends, aka his family, is a strange group, but work together well. Add in a group of retired pirates, from the Calm Waves Retirement Home for the Formerly Sea-Faring and Adventurous (needs an acronym), and Warren has enough help to make the hotel fly. Readers will like the action that never stops.
There is always something to make you laugh or groan, depending on your sense of humor. Take the sea circus for example. The fight Warren and crew must endure is horrendous. Clowns wearing frowns throw bananas, toss bowling pins, and throw paint-filled balloons at approaching pirates. Such a scene will either have you ducking in fear, or laughing at all the clown-caused commotion. Every page is a thrill. Closing the book before reaching the end is all but impossible. And staying with the book until the end will have you grabbing for the next.
The illustrations, of which there are many, many, and many more, gives the story an additional edge it really does not need, but would be so lost without. The black and blue lined drawings add to the atmosphere of the story as a whole, introduce each chapter, and provide details we should not yet know, as if the art and artist have a sea witch’s giant pearl. In previous editions, the illustrations are also black and the color of the cover (#1 is red; #2 is green).
The double-column page is unusual and gives readers a newspaper experience. This will please Mr. Vanderbelly, the journalist who makes a point of writing every detail, of every happening, at the Warren Hotel in his journalist’s notebook. Ask him, and he’ll tell you the double-column pages are his idea. (Probably are.)
The only bad thing about Warren the 13th is that it ends . . . for good . . . after only three books. There must be more secrets still hidden in the cracks of the Warren Hotel. Thirteen generations should give the author more fodder to work with in telling a fourth book. We need another book . . . or two . . . or a double trilogy! (Orange, purple, and periwinkle blue are still available.)
Middle grade readers, reluctant included (though a dictionary may be needed at times) will love the adventures of Warren the 13th, his hotel, and his unique sidekicks. Each book can stand on its own merits, giving readers a treat they will not soon forget. One thing is certain, it is best to read this trilogy in the proper order, as each book builds on the last. Warren the 13th and the Thirteen-Year Curse contains tons to treasure, including a bellyful of laughs and adventures you will want to read again and again—until the next trilogy is released.*
I like the scene with the talking clam. I understand him. Living alone—with two cats and a little dog—some days I talk only to them (they do not respond). I get why the clam is talking his head off, finally meeting someone who can actual hold an intelligent conversation. Author, Tania del Rio really understands conversation-deprived clams. I relate to this nameless clam. The Sea Witch is also endearing. Her cackling laugh, when Warren feels short-changed, is amusing.
Illustrations Rendered in an “intricate two-color (black, blue) style.”
Available at Amazon
Don’t forget the to complete the trilogy; here are books 1 and 2. (Best read in order.)
WARREN THE 13TH and the THIRTEEN-YEAR CURSE. Text Copyright © 2020 by Tania del Rio. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Will Staehle. Published by Quirk Books, Philadelphia, PA.
*no more books planned at this time; a 2nd trilogy is only my fervent wish
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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