Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review: Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman

Professor Gargoyle
by Charles Gilman

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 160
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication date: September 25, 2012
Suggested tags: middle grade, paranormal

First in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series. From Goodreads:
"Strange things are happening at Lovecraft Middle School. Rats are leaping from lockers. Students are disappearing. The school library is a labyrinth of secret corridors. And the science teacher is acting very peculiar – in fact, he just might be a monster-in-disguise. Twelve-year-old Robert Arthur knew that seventh grade was going to be weird, but this is ridiculous!

Professor Gargoyle (Volume I in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series) is full of bizarre beasts, strange mysteries, and nonstop adventure. It's perfect for readers ages 10 and up. Best of all, the cover features a state-of-the-art “morphing” photo portrait – so you can personally witness the professor transforming into a monster. You won't believe your eyes!"

{ I received an ARC for free through Early Reviewers on LibraryThing. }

Professor Gargoyle was just too much fun. As soon as I picked up the book and watched an average-looking professor morph into a sneering horned monster, I knew I was going to love it. Here, go visit Barnes & Noble's Professor Gargoyle listing and see for yourself... Isn't that great?? After seeing that, I tore this book open and devoured Robert's story like a gargoyle devours small mammals.

The synopsis doesn't reveal too much about the plot, which is good, because you get to learn all Lovecraft Middle School's secrets along with Robert. It's a brand new school, but it seems to have some alarming quirks, and its secrets get darker and more dangerous as the story goes on. Robert Arthur's the only one out of all his old friends that has to go to Lovecraft, except for the bully that's been picking on him for years, Glenn Torkells. Robert does meet a new friend quickly though - Karina Ortiz, a pretty awesome skateboarding girl who seems to know some of Lovecraft's secrets already. And later he meets two new friends, Pip and Squeak, in the form of a two-headed rat. While Pip and Squeak never say a word, they have a lot of personality and they help Robert out of some unusual situations.

I tore through Professor Gargoyle in two days. The action keeps you flipping pages as hints are dropped one by one about what might really be going on at Lovecraft Middle School. Gilman writes with enough detail to let you picture the whole scene in your mind, without slowing down the action with lengthy descriptions. There is some great character development and it all ends with a thrilling journey into the heart of Lovecraft Middle School to try and figure out exactly what is going on here.

If Professor Gargoyle is any indicator, the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series is going to be as exciting and un-put-downable as the Harry Potter series, but set in its own unique world with its own unique storytelling. It's definitely not a Harry Potter wannabe; it's an adventure all its own. Middle grade readers and older readers who like their paranormal stories full of monsters and mayhem will love Professor Gargoyle.

My ARC included a cover from the next book in the series, The Slither Sisters, which transforms innocent-looking twins into snake-haired monsters. (Check it out at Barnes & Noble.) Can't wait to read it! Gotta find out where those girls have been!

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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