Title: Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye
Author: Tania del Rio
Release Date: November 24, 2015
The Story: Warren the 13th is a bellhop in his family’s hotel, but he can’t wait until he turns 18 so he can take over the hotel and restore it to its former glory. It doesn’t help matters that his parents are dead, his uncle Rupert is lazy, and his aunt Annaconda is evil. Warren suspects that his aunt is searching for the fabled All-Seeing Eye, a hidden treasure supposedly hidden deep in the hotel, but when an influx of visitors brings attention to the Eye, Warren must find the Eye first to save the hotel.
Review: I told myself that I wasn’t going to request this title, that I would pick it up eventually from the library, but as I kept seeing it highlighted and praised, I knew I needed to read it. Coming from Quirk Books, I knew the title would be, well, quirky, but it also turned out to be a delightful read full of friendship, courage, adventure, and heart.
Del Rio makes it easy to fall in love with Warren from the beginning. He is an orphan just trying hard to keep his family’s hotel in good repair, but he faces daily obstacles, such as his aunt’s grueling punishments, the lack of guests, and his uncle’s unwillingness to help out around the hotel. He is an underdog, but that just made me root for him more. I think his struggle is more heartrending because he’s so young and his circumstances are not of his own making. But he is eternally optimistic and looks for the best in his situation and in other people.
The other characters were unique and brought some great dynamics to the story as well – Warren’s aunt Annaconda and her evil sisters who form a witchy coven, the mysterious apprentice who befriends Warren, the pirate who isn’t a pirate, the mummy-ish Paleface, and more. There wasn’t any single character who felt out of place or unnecessary. I loved that the majority of the characters were on a gray scale for most of the story – I couldn’t tell if they were ultimately good or bad or a little of both.
And finally, the Eye itself. How unexpected was that? I didn’t have a clue what the Eye might be, but I certainly didn’t expect what it actually turned out to be. It was a fantastic ending with a twist that really complemented the rest of the plot.
This is a really great elementary/middle-grade read, with some unexpected twists, an atmospheric hotel, and a main character that the reader can really get behind. It’s a great Halloween season read, but it also has staying power year-round.