Tentacles (Marty and Grace #2)

Tentacles Book Cover Tentacles
Marty and Grace
Roland Smith
Young Adult
Scholastic Press
September 1, 2009
Paperback
336

Roland Smith makes his Scholastic debut with a middle-grade adventure novel about the search for a mysterious creature--the giant squid--in this sequel to CRYPTID HUNTERS.

Marty and Grace O'Hara's globe-trotting parents disappeared while on assignment for a nature magazine, and now they're living with their Uncle Wolfe, a scientist fascinated by cryptids--creatures that appear in myths but haven't been proven to exist, such as the Loch Ness Monster. Wolfe is planning an expedition to New Zealand to track a giant squid, and he's rented a huge (and possibly haunted) freighter for the trip. But someone on board is determined to sabotage their mission--and if Marty and Grace keeping poking their noses into things, they might end up the saboteur's next victims!

 

This review will contain spoilers for the previous book in the series, Cryptid Hunters.

Tentacles picks up shortly after the end of Cryptid Hunters. The premise of this book was hinted at towards the end of the previous story. Instead of dinosaurs in the jungle, this time around our characters are hunting a kraken! Ok, not really a kraken. Just a giant deep-sea squid, but those are thought to have inspired ancient stories about the kraken sea monsters. Marty and Grace accompany their Uncle Wolfe on another adventure, this time also joined by Marty’s friend Luther.

The characters carry over well from the first story, being just as entertaining as in Cryptid Hunters. We get to delve a little deeper into their character development, particularly with Grace and her now known lineage. The new characters, namely Marty’s friend Luther, are just as entertaining as well. Luther was entertaining, but his main role seems to be giving Marty a needed sidekick so that Grace can do her own thing as her character develops. Marty and Grace are still close, but it is not just the two of them with bad guys on their trail this time around.

Carrying over from the first book, Tentacles still features the Mokélé-mbembé (dinosaurs) from the first book. While the cover monster was critical to the plot of Cryptid Hunters, the same cannot be said for the Architeuthis (giant squid) in Tentacles. Our villain Noah Blackwood is still primarily after Grace and the dinosaurs, with the giant squid being an afterthought. The deep-sea fishing seems important for changing the setting and not much else. There is still a role in the story for the giant squid, but the dinosaurs are clearly our frontrunner cryptids.

While Tentacles is a good book, it was not as entertaining as Cryptid Hunters. Cryptid Hunters felt standalone; enough was still open at the end for this sequel, but it could have gone either way. Tentacles very much feels like part of a series, with blatant unanswered questions by the end of the story. Maybe Roland Smith did intend for Cryptid Hunters to be just one story, but Scholastic offered to do a series because it sold well. I have no proof whatsoever that it went down like that, but it is what I imagine happening. Either way, Tentacles is still plenty entertaining enough and serves as a solid lead-in for the next story.

April 8, 2018

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