Library Journal Review
Gr 4-6-Penhallow is one of only three gargoyles (he prefers the term grotesque) left in Boston. In his wisp form, he is able to travel the city as well as check on the inhabitants of the building he protects. When his friends Wally and Winnie, twin grotesques, are reduced to a smear on a brick wall, Penhallow senses an evil presence far more malignant than any he has confronted before. The Boneless King, ruler of the underworld, is skulking around Boston and gaining power every night. Then a mysterious girl appears on Penhallow's roof, carrying a violin case she will not put down. Viola may be the ally Penhallow needs, but only if she is what she claims to be, and that is not at all certain. Penhallow is fighting a battle he may be unable to win, and that spells disaster for his domain, for his city, and perhaps for the world. Readers will quickly be embroiled in the escalating battle against evil forces. Fans of Neil Gaiman and Jonathan Auxier, especially, will dive right in. The plot moves at a steady pace, with suspense building as secrets are discovered and truths (not all of them pleasant) are revealed. The narrative is well balanced between dialogue and description, and characters and fully developed. The Boneless King and his minions are convincingly creepy. The ending, while not a complete surprise, is bittersweet and satisfying. VERDICT School and public libraries should find space on their shelves for this fantasy title.-Katherine Koenig, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
He may look like one, with those stone wings and that fearsome scowl, but don't call Penhallow a gargoyle. No, he's a Grotesque, tasked with protecting the residents of the Boston building where he crouches. He's the last of his kind now, and, though he tries to combat it with wit and humor, it's a lonely existence, even after the appearance of Viola, a mysterious young girl who carts around a battered violin case, and can see Penhallow for what he is. But dark times are coming to Penhallow's city, and when the Boneless King, ruler of the underworld, arrives and is set on stealing the souls of two of the kids under Penhallow's protection, he may be facing his last fight. Durham (The Luck Uglies, 2014) once again offers up a bold, scrappy hero on a wild ride. Imaginative and occasionally melancholy, with a hero who sometimes seems as monstrous as its villains, this is a unique middle-grade story that will appeal to fans of clever, introspective adventures.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist