New York Times bestselling author Gregory Funaro brings us the second installment of the thrilling Watch Hollow series, where magic exists, monsters roam in the shadows, and wooden animals come to life.
Having defeated the Garr, a vicious tree monster who lived within the enchanted woods of Watch Hollow, Lucy and Oliver Tinker now have the home they’ve always dreamed of: Blackford House. Powered by a magical clock and full of curious rooms and improbable knickknacks, Blackford House brims with the promise of new adventures.
Yet when a strange governess arrives from England—bringing with her the Kojima twins, Agatha and Algernon—the Tinker children’s once bright future quickly begins to dim. The Kojimas claim to be the rightful heirs to Blackford House, and soon after their arrival, a great evil enters the Tinkers’ new home, cursing it and turning it into an ever-changing labyrinth.
As a result, Lucy and Oliver, along with their clock animal friends, must now join forces with the twins to escape this labyrinth and save Blackford House, all while a new monster lurks around the corner.
Gregory Funaro is the NY Times best selling author of Disney-Hyperion's ALISTAIR GRIM'S ODDITORIUM (an Amazon Best Book of the Month for January, 2015) and ALISTAIR GRIM'S ODD AQUATICUM (2016), which received a Kirkus starred review. WATCH HOLLOW (HarperCollins, 2019) received starred reviews from School Library Journal and ALA Booklist, and was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. The exciting sequel, WATCH HOLLOW: THE ALCHEMIST'S SHADOW, was published in February of 2020. Gregory is a retired drama professor and now lives with his family in Rhode Island, where he is busy working on his next novel. Please visit his official web site at www.gregoryfunaro.com.
The spooky adventures of Lucy and Oliver Tinker continue in The Alchemist’s Shadow, a sequel to last year’s middle-grade haunted house novel by Gregory Funaro, Watch Hollow. The Tinker family — 11-year-old Lucy, 12-year-old Oliver, and their father — are settling in at the rural Rhode Island mansion, Blackford House, where they vanquished a supernatural foe in Watch Hollow. The Tinkers, originally the caretakers of Blackford House, now own the home, complete with its enormous clock that magically powers the house. At least, the Tinkers thought they owned the house, until the orphaned 12-year-old part-Japanese Kojima twins, Agatha and Algernon, show up with their British governess to take up residence, claiming that they’re the rightful heirs to the prior owner.
That’s bad enough, but within a day or so a terrifying minotaur-like monster appears in their beloved house, the twins’ governess disappears (killed by the monster, the children suspect) and the house itself begins to gradually transform into a labyrinth. After all, as Agatha observes, what’s a labyrinth without a Minotaur? Brick and wooden walls turn to grayish stone and seal off passageways, trapping the children in dangerous situations. Lucy and Oliver reluctantly realize that they’ll need the help of the twins to escape the new dangers that threaten to destroy their treasured magical house … and perhaps even them.
The Alchemist’s Shadow is a suspenseful, fast-paced story, if not quite as charming as the first book. The appealing carved wooden animals who form a part of the house’s magic clock, and who come to life, move and talk under the right (magical) conditions, play a lesser role in this sequel. The plot is a little disjointed and jumpy and doesn’t always make complete sense, like when the children decide to split their group apart in the now-haunted and monster-infested house. It felt like a horror film with teenagers inexplicably going off on their own when a killer’s on the loose. Still, there’s a lot to be said for scenes like the dining room chairs sprouting eyes and jagged teeth and chasing the kids around like a pack of wild dogs.
The children in The Alchemist’s Shadow include a couple of particularly memorable characters. Lucy is deeply devoted to her wooden clock animal friends. She’s impulsive, excitable, and struggles with making friends in her new town and getting along with other kids. Algernon doesn’t speak at all, due to the past trauma of losing his parents in a car accident. He always carries around a sinister-looking marionette called Samurai Kenzo, or Kenny. Lucy, steeped in the magical atmosphere of Blackford House, is convinced that Kenny is watching her and planning some evil.
Younger readers who like exciting, creepy tales should enjoy The Alchemist’s Shadow. It’s scary, but shouldn’t be too intense for all but the most sensitive middle-grade readers. There’s a heartwarming message of love and unselfishness that wraps up the story, along with a last-minute twist that opens the door for the next book in this series.
I received a free review copy from the author. Thank you!
Lucy and Oliver Tinker are finally getting used to a bit of normalcy after the strange and magical events from the first book in this series, Watch Hollow. But when another pair of children and their governess arrive from England, claiming that they are the rightful heirs to Blackford House, that normal life seems destined for challenges. To make matters worse—much worse—a new evil enters their home with a great curse, turning it into a daunting labyrinth, making people disappear and causing all sorts of serious trouble. The children will need to combine forces and work with their clock animal friends to fight off this evil.
Gregory Funaro has once again delivered a wonderfully exciting story, filled with magic and scary adventure. Building on the characters and themes from the first book, we get to delve once again into the imaginative world that is Blackford House and its environs. Magical clocks, philosopher’s stones, sinister shadows, a labyrinth with a minotaur, adorable talking animals, a mythical unicorn horn, and a menacing dark magic that is spread by a peculiar amulet. Such things imbue the story and allow for perilous escapades. But once again, the story is balanced with great characters. The children must face both threats and opportunities by working together and finding ways past their differences. This is where the author’s work shines. All four children have suffered tragedy in their past so now when they’re faced with difficult scary situations, it is easy to root for them. They are smart but will they conquer their fears and their prejudices? What consequences will result?
Another fun read by Gregory Funaro. I always know a good book when I’m reading along and can’t wait to see what happens next. Just as in the first book, the immediate story does resolve but a final scene leaves us with the knowledge that not all is good-to-go. A third book is a necessity and I, for one, hope for many more.
Gregory Funaro’s first book “Watch Hollow” was a book that had my students lining up to read it. It was full of everything a middle school student loves in a book. It had characters they could identify with and a mystery to be solved. When I told them that I had an advance reader’s copy of the next book they wanted to know if I would be buying it. I will most definitely be buying it. This is a creepy mystery that kept the action going. The Tinker family managed to keep away the great evil and set the house right. We all know that it would be boring if things didn’t go south again. This happens when Agatha and Algeron, along with their governess show up claiming they are the heirs to the house. Of course you need to expect whenever something or someone strange shows up, there is going to be something that will create chaos in Blackford House once again. A new evil has created a labyrinth along with a minotaur. The children must work together to solve this mystery, get the governess back and take care of the evil. This is a daunting task, but they will received help from the wooden animals of the clock. I am really loving this author’s work. I am probably the biggest lover of mysteries and this one has all the elements that I love. I am hoping there is a third book on its way. This is a must read series.
WATCH HOLLOW: THE ALCHEMIST’S SHADOW is a fun story told in such a frantic pace, I had to take deep breaths after I read it. In this second installment, we meet a governess and the Kijoma twins, which are quite out of the ordinary, to say the least. Without giving anything away, I loved Algernon’s special skill and his more special toy. Also, much love for Agatha–such a smart girl! And of course, Lucy and Oliver come back to experience more adventures involving a monster and some other magical creatures.
Let’s not forget about the two objects turned characters: The house, and the big clock.
Overall, WATCH HOLLOW: THE ALCHEMIST’S SHADOW’s fast paced, labyrinth of a story (pun intended) will keep you entertained to no end. Mr. Gregory Funaro hit it out of the park, as usual, and as expected. Now, get your own copy and read it. Fun!
You can read my full review on my blog, The Writerly Way, here.
Many thanks to JeanBookNerd and Gregory Funaro for an eARC in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
In a rare twist of fate, the sort that can only take place in a library … I learned about this series from a patron. When an elementary school kid comes in and recommends a book, you listen. Boy was I glad I did, because shortly after, this blog tour popped up, and I immediately jumped on it, since I loved the first one so much. And you know what? I’m pretty sure I liked the sequel even better.
Watch Hollow: The Alchemist’s Shadow is a pleasant combination of goosebump-inducing creepiness, fast-paced action, twists and turns, magic, and found family.
I rushed through this in one sitting, because I just didn’t want to put it down. It felt like there was something new on every page, and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. The book ends with a cliffhanger, setting up what I hope will be a third book in the series, and I couldn’t be more excited for it!
- Funaro has a writing style that’s easy to fall into, but also lovely to read. Combine that with Matt Griffin’s gorgeous illustrations, and this book was a pleasure to read from cover to cover. Or, in this case, I guess from 0% to 100%. The writing is something I really enjoyed from the first book, and it carried over into the second. It captures the horror element, while highlighting the mystery, yet still delivering some really lovely descriptions and some top-notch suspense.
- We get to rejoin our old friends from the first book while also meeting new ones. I had no idea where book two would take us, and I’ll be honest that I was hesitant about the Kojima twins at first, but boy did I ever warm up to them. It was so nice to see Lucy and Oliver again, even if the circumstances weren’t exactly happy, considering the arrival of the Kojima twins threatens to see them thrown out of Blackford House. All these kids are facing some pretty big struggles, bigger than they should have to at their age, and my heart just went out to all of them. How could you not root for this eclectic lot? All of them had such lovely arcs and character growth. Even the adults! And let’s face it, after everything they’ve been through, they deserve a little bit of a break, too. Especially Mr. Tinker. It’s nice that even though this is the kids’ story, there’s a little something for the adults, too.
- There’s a mute character that signs! Oh, how I loved this. Signing characters are still so underrepresented in literature, and it was entirely unexpected, which means I was all the more thrilled to see it! Despite not being verbal, Algernon plays a significant role in the story and isn’t silenced just because he couldn’t talk, and it was so freaking refreshing. Whether it’s gestures and motions or Agatha translating for him, Algernon makes his meaning known, and he plays a critical role in the plot. It could’ve been so easy to sideline him, and I’m so glad that wasn’t the case.
- The plot of this book takes a wholly unexpected turn. Which is a horrible (and intentional) attempt at a pun, seeing as how Blackford House transforms into a labyrinth. Look, I never said it was a good joke. I’m ashamed of myself, too. The sinister atmosphere in this feels similar, and yet completely fresh and new, from the previous book. More than that, though, did I mention the labyrinth?! And do you knoooow what lives in a labyrinth, hmm? Nothing good, I can tell you that. As high as the stakes felt in the first book, they were ramped up even more here, and the pages were charged with tension. I could’ve powered my Kindle on all the static electricity flowing between the chapters.
- The resolution at the end felt a little too easy … but then it opened up a fresh new brand of trouble … so I guess that evens things out? I expected the type of ending, given that it’s a middle mid-grade book, but the resolution felt a little lacking for me, personally. I’m also not the target audience, so … that happens. What I did love, though, was how it left off. Because phew, the next book can’t come out soon enough now, with that sort of cliffhanger. It seems like what’s in store for us readers is something bigger, grander, and full of more spooks.
We loved the first book and enjoyed the slightly spine-tingling antics Lucy, Oliver and two new kids are up to inorder to protect Blackford House from a new evil.
Two new kids, Agatha and Algernon Fujima arrive with their nanny, Bedelia Graves, claiming to be long-lost heirs to Blackford House.
Algernon doesn't talk, not since his parents' deaths, and he carries around a creepy doll, Kenny, he insists saved him in the accident that killed his parents. Kenny is much more than he appears, of course. Agatha is super-bright and figures out what Lucy and Oliver are hiding -- the animals in the clock and the clock powering Blackford House's magic.
But no sooner does Bedelia go poking around in the clock's utility closet than she's zapped and a new evil appears -- a Minotaur, raging like a bull through the house's strangely elongating corridors. Soon the smudged portrait of Edgar Blackford peels itself off the canvass and comes after the kids in what is now a rapidly growing and evolving Labyrinth.
I won't spoil how it ends, but Lucy, Oliver, Agatha and Algernon have to work together to figure out how to save the house, with a guest appearance from a very special sparkly creature we've only heard rumors of before this, even if it means destroying the clock's magic and restoring balance to the woods.
Looking for more book suggestions for your 7th/8th grade classroom and students?
If you haven't read a Gregory Funaro book before, you are in for a treat. His books meet all the criteria to be called page-turners: fast-moving plot, wild twists, and cliff-hanger endings. I'm being completely honest when I share that Gregory Funaro's books have me sneaking away from my household to-dos so I can read just one more page. In fact, once I started this one, I couldn't put it down - finishing it in one sitting!
When I read Gregory Funaro's Watch Hollow, I fell in love with Blackford House and it's magical animal inhabitants, as well as its caretakers, Lucy and Oliver. The Alchemist's Shadow adds more characters to the cast in what seems like a natural expansion of the Watch Hollow universe. Newcomers Agatha and Algernon join Oliver and Lucy in taking on evil forces to preserve balance in the world. From page one of this book, I was back in the Watch Hollow universe, eagerly awaiting the next development for the beloved Tinker family.
I recommend this book for middle school readers who are looking for a page-turning read with character complexity at its core. You won't regret picking up a Gregory Funaro book. 📚 Thanks to the author for sharing a copy of Alchemist's Shadow in exchange for an honest review.
This is the amazing creepy middle grade continuation in the Watch Hollow series. Lucy and Oliver have finally gotten the home they always wanted and life is continuing on after a very interesting move into the home. One day two other children arrive along with their governess claiming to have rights to the house. A whole adventure unfolds. This author knows how to deliver a delightfully exciting story, with just enough creepy ness to keep you on the edge of your seat as even more secrets are unraveled within the walls of black house. This book has quite a bit in it to attract even the most reluctant reader. Magical clocks, philosopher's stone, sinister shadows, a labyrinth with a scary Minotaur, adorable talking animals, a mythical unicorn horn and menacing dark magic that I spread by a peculiar amulet. This is another fun read from Gregory Funaro and the ending leaves you guessing on what else is in store for the inhabitants of black house.
After defeating the evil Garr, Lucy and Oliver have inherited the home of their dreams. The Blackford House is at peace now that the vicious tree monster is dead and the enchanted woods have returned to its original size. The Blackford home is still filled with new adventures especially when the Tinkers receive new visitors.
A governess arrives from England with twins in her care. Algernon and Agatha are supposedly heirs to the house and have a rightful claim to the house. Upon the arrival of the Kojimas twins and their governess, a new force of evil enter the house and places a curse. The house trying to defend itself becomes a labyrinth. The two sets of siblings will need to join forces along with their magical clock animal friends to defeat their new evil foe before it destroys their home.
The second book in the series was just as fun to read as the first one. It was packed with humor, suspense, and thrills. Some of the mystery portions were predictable but, still exciting to read. If you liked this first book in the series, this second book will not disappoint.
Mr. Funaro is back with new characters and old friends in the second installment in this series, Watch Hollow: The Alchemist's Shadow. In this book, we meet Agatha and Algernon, the twins. In the beginning I was not a fan of them as they were there to challenge Lucy and Oliver for Blackford House. I loved the first book, so my allegiance was to Lucy and Oliver.
Although, Lucy and Oliver were not the only familiar faces that I was happy to see again. All of the animals from the clock. As if I could not love them any more, I did fall in love with them more. It was great to see them come to the rescue again.
Both young and adult readers will enjoy reading these books. Yet, these books will be enjoyed more by the younger readers for which they are more geared towards. So the audience is just right. Think of these books in the same category as the movie, The House with a Clock in Its Walls. I recommend reading these books.
With only a few scattered pauses to gain time to breathe, this is a fast-paced novel packed full of mystery, danger, intrigue, and tons of imagination.
Lucy and Oliver are settling down into their home. Finally. But things, of course, aren't calming down. A surprise visitor shows up with two children in tow. Agatha and Algernon, with claims that the house actually belongs to them. Not only does this cause large issues for Lucy and Oliver, but the house and creatures start acting up and appear even during the day time. Also, an evil settles in, one which brings more danger than imagined. Lucy and Oliver must somehow work together with the two newcomers if they want to have a chance of defeating the new threat.
Like in the first book, this one offers so much excitement and suspense. The author has created a magical world with amazing creatures, but it doesn't stop there. Around every corner, there is something to discover and more often than not, it's not something good. These children are kept on their toes and that makes it hard to set this book down. A few loose ends are left, but for the most part, things come together nicely.
Each character is a delight to meet. The children have their very own, individual personalities and quirks, and each one is fun to get to know and root for. Their personal issues make their choices understandable. Readers will sympathize with them and wish they could jump in and join in on the adventure.
This is definitely a fun adventure which is sure to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.
I received an ARC copy and enjoyed the tale quite a bit. So, I'm leaving my honest thoughts.
Thank you for the advanced copy. It has been a pleasure to be apart of this series.
Another fantastic novel that had my heart racing the whole time! The characters are so well rounded and relatable that I find myself wondering what it might be like to live in Watch Hollow. The series brings back memories of childhood imagination and the love and safety of ones who you love. Again I can not wait to spread the word on a spectacular book that is sure to fill hearts and imaginations for all who read it.
I am so glad that they sent me book one because this book was CREEPY!!!! I loved book one and book two was even better!! I want more of these now. I think that this story would be great for kids who don't like to read as well as those who love creepy and scary books. It was easy to follow and I didn't have any issue with words.
A fun and spooky follow up to the first book. This one has several creepy scenes which I loved...and there’s a spooky doll. I really enjoy the fantasy elements as well. I hope there’s more coming in this series!
Lucy and Oliver are plunged into stress when suddenly their happy new lives become something not-so-great when the Kojima twins, Agatha and Algernon, arrive at Blackford House along with their governess, who claims the two children are the rightful heirs. Both families barely have time to breathe before the house's walls begin to shift, wood evolves into bricks, and fingers are pointed. Despite their little knowledge of one another, they must band together and form some type of trust before the evil lurking at each corner bests them.
Magic, evil, love...unbeknownst to each other, two families are named heirs to the same house and must figure out how to live together. They learn to accept each others idiosyncrasies, overcome evil and come to realize that love is "the strongest foundation of all," but will all of those accomplishments be enough to help them survive at Blackford House?
I received a copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.
I think this was a strong sequel! It picks up shortly after the first book and immediately introduced new characters that made the story feel more rounded. Again, not as spooky as the cover portrays, but it was still a fun adventure. I also like seeing the character growth of the siblings and how they are at the end of this book in comparison to the first book!
I do wish these books were a little longer—just for the sake of fleshing out the story a bit, and giving it that atmosphere of creepiness that the covers are begging for.
The Tinker children are back and...more distant than ever? Yeah...despite having pulled together to defeat the darkness in their first adventure, time, loneliness, and growing up in general, has them at odds once again. Good thing blood runs thicker than most other things because the love they have for each other, that desire to protect those they hold dear, is what's going to get them through the new evil that's reared (quite literally) it's ugly horned head in Blackford House...maybe...possibly....or at least, you should hope so because if not, more than our previously wooden friends are in danger. The very soul of Blackford House stands on the brink of the abyss and trust me, you don't want it falling into these evil little hands.
Getting reacquainted with Lucy and Oliver was like greeting old friends, so the sadness seen in them was that much more moving. When the twins came, the unknown that followed was palpable and became even more so when the house started revolting...though, as we quickly discover, it's actually trying to protect its own! Uncovering the new evil that's descended (or unearthed itself?) is challenging, especially when the ground keeps literally moving out from under them. The friendships they discover, the capacity for love, compassion, and understanding they come to find, warms the heart.
In short, it's the sequel we didn't know we were waiting for with a darkness we couldn't have anticipated, but a heart of gold at its core that can't be denied. Step back into the world of Watch Hollow with all your friends (and unfortunately enemies!) for an adventure you won't forget!
This was a great escape from my day & worries. This one was just as good as the 1st. We got to meet some new characters, & I Loved them too. The animals were also back, & of course I love them w/all my heart! This was another unique & amazing storyline. It also ended in a way that left it open for a third?? Please say yes! Lol highly recommend both books in this series!💜
Unlike the first book, Watch Hollow, this book took me a second to get into, mainly for the fact that the author introduced us to a couple of new characters and had to set up the story for them to fall into. Once the story took off though, it was fun to read and I enjoyed my time doing so. I also like that the end was open ended enough in case we get a third book, but still closed off enough in case we don't get another in the series.
I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
I waited a couple of days after reading before I attempted to write this review. There was something that was bothering me and I couldn't figure out what it was. Luckily, I finally figured it out. This is a bit different than the first one. I expected it to be, but there was an element that I found in the first book but didn't find in this one. For me, the tension was off. The house is behaving a lot differently than one might expect. The house's magic is more prominent in this story - or it plays more of a role here. But a deeper explanation or understanding of the house is not given. So that makes what is happening less impactful. But I still enjoyed this book, and I was happy to return to Blackford House and the Tinkers. You get to see the characters in a different light. More of the Blackford House's history comes to light. It's picked up some additional residents and I'm interested in how the next adventure will unfold.
2.5. Definitely a modern House with a Clock in Its Walls. Would have been happy if he ended it with this one, but he will clearly make more. This whole story felt weird and forced. He also really likes to repeat himself “gaping” and “wiped his wrist across his nose.”
TW for kids: talking doll & “I killed your parents.”
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The Alchemist’s Shadow is the story that follows two months after the events of Watch Hollow. After the Tinkers defeated the evil that was lurking in and around Blackford House, they are now living on the magical property as its caretakers, assuming that there are no other relatives alive to claim the ownership. That is, until two children, Agatha and Algernon Kojima, arrive with their governess Ms. Graves from England to claim the house as their residence.
While Mr. Tinker and Ms. Graves try to work out their living situation, trouble is once more lurking at Blackford House, and it does not take long for it to rear its head again. Getting help from the animals in the clock, everyone must run for their lives in this exciting story that seems even more fast-paced than the previous one.
Read this book to find out exactly how the clock was made all those years ago, what made it tick and turn magical in the first place and to find out if the children and their magical friends will once more save the day, or is Blackford House lost for good this time?
After the crazy discovery of magic at the mysterious Blackford House and the battle against The Garr and the Shadow Woods in the first book, Lucy and Oliver Tinker think maybe life is back to being normal.
Then two British kids and their nanny show up claiming to be rightful heirs to the house, the magical clock that powers the house stops working again, the house turns itself into a fiery labyrinth, a ten foot tall minotaur stalks the stone corridors, and a creepy little puppet knows more than he's letting on.
In other words, the perfect blend of fantasy, magic, adventure, and danger for your average 8-12 year old. And, you know forty year olds who want a little light reading.
Sequel to Watch Hollow, now that Lucy and Oliver Tinker have been living in Blackford House for some time, thinking that all is well since the tree monster no longer poses a threat, they once again come face to face with EVIL, when an English governess with her two young charges appear at the doorstep.
This book, so good!! What can I say?! The spooky vibe is in here again and love and friendship! All the things you want to find in a middle grade book, you can find! I’ve read the book one yesterday and I can’t wait to read this one!! And I finish this book wanted more, because that end (grrr)!!