Cover Image: The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson

The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson

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Member Reviews

I never read children's/middle grade books, so this was a new thing for me. But I really enjoyed it! The book felt fun and dream like. Great writing, amazing adventure. really recommend!
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This was SUCH A FUN BOOK! I would have loved this book as a kid! It's whimsical, fun, and flows so nicely. I really enjoyed this one!!!
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A little disjointed at times, this strange and unique middle grade book has a lot to digest (even for an adult). I feel like it tries to do too much and that takes away from what the core story should be. While I felt like there was an attempt to have a fun and dream-like tone and story; Quinn Sosna-Spear misses the mark for me in some key areas including plot and use of flashbacks. 

Plot
It's only at the 32% mark in which our two children actually take off on their journey together! Just a bit too much introduction and info dumping for my taste to start with. This is a classic quest set-up with our two main characters setting out into the big wide world. Nothing really different from other stories happens. There's a balloon incident (Wizard of Oz), giants (Jack and the Beanstalk), quirky inventors and some odd honeybees. All were unique in their own way as encounters but none of them stood out to me as especially unique or even all that exciting. 

Odd Moments
There are a few noteworthy or odd things that happen or are said in this book that I highlighted while reading and I feel like they are worth coming back to. These descriptions begin to really give a sense of why I wasn't a huge fan of this book. 
In the opening few pages we meet a teacher who is intentionally teaching children the wrong things! From spelling, math and geography; this teacher gives the kids the wrong answers to things; and she does it knowingly. I'm not sure what the point was of this teacher but it really bothered me that this character (already a brief presence) existed at all. Unless of course the reason was to give our children an "excuse" to run away from school? (ie: they weren't being taught properly anyways?)
One of the first towns we encounter sounds exactly like H.P. Lovecraft's Innsmouth. I'm going to assume this is not intentional (?) as this is a children's book and there wouldn't really be a reason to pay homage to a horror writer in a fantasy middle-age story. However; given the Lovecraft Innsmouth town use in the recent blockbuster DC comics hit 'Aquaman' and a bit of a resurgence of Lovecraft's settings and monsters being used by many adult fantasy/horror writers; I can't help but wonder if it was coincidence or not. There is nothing wrong with this homage or use of Innsmouth (as it's a clever way to explain evolution); it just struck me as a bit odd and made me wonder if Sosna-Spear wasn't creative enough to come up with her own quirky town. 

Circling Dialogue<
This reminds me a bit of Ronald Dahl in that there’s a lot of nonsense in it and dialogue that circles itself. Where each character says the same thing a different way and they are confirming their understanding of one another. It's really annoying as an adult to read this. And frankly, as a child I found Dahl to be a bit boring at times because it took him sooo long to describe one thing or have one quick conversation. Perhaps this is just me and it's helpful to children to read the same thing over again in a different way to help with comprehension. If that is the case I will conceded that it is clearly appropriate for this middle-age book. 

Flashbacks
My ongoing hatred of poorly used flashbacks continues. I don't understand why we get the POV of Walter's Mother closer to the end of the story in the current day; never mind her flashbacks. It feels like Sosna-Spear wasn't able to write the story in a clever enough way to have Walter unveil the secrets for the readers and instead Sosna-Spear gives us two sides of the same story so we can put it together (albeit slightly) sooner than our main children do. The purpose is still beyond me except to maybe ensure the reader knows what is/has happened. 
The biggest pet peeve of this book I have is the use of flashbacks. If you want to change POVs without too much context I don't tend to mind. But switching what timeline is being described is a huge no-no to me. If I'm getting slightly lost trying to figure out of the Mother's POV was current day or past I don't even want to think about the struggle a 9-year-old child might have. It was just too much work near the end of the story (especially given the ease of reading the prior sections of the book) to keep things straight. 
So I hold to my usual comment: if you don't know how to set-up and use flashbacks, then please don't use them at all. Tolkien uses flashbacks poorly and emulating his wizard battle flashback from Fellowship will always be a bad idea!  

Overall
I nearly didn't finish reading The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson. Honestly, had it not been relatively short and easy to read I may have put it aside. 3 stars is probably a bit generous of a rating for me. And yet I will say there is some magic here and the children are fairly well put together characters. If a child was to read this as one of their first fantasy-style stories I could seem them being enamored as it's not 'bad' so much as it's just boring and very plain given the plethora of middle-age fantasy that is available to readers which has a much better plot and writing style. 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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This was a FANTASTIC middle grade novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!! The characters were great, and all of the events were so creative and magical. This was such a joy to read!
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From the description I expected an amazing story of fun, adventure and friendship.
There is a trip and some adventure to be had, it just didn't work for me.
It was hard work getting through the long winded pages of this book. Many interesting places and things are introduced in this book, but it felt like the author was trying to introduce too many places/things without really taking the time to develop any of them fully.
It was a really cool idea, I just didn't enjoy the execution.
I did love Periwinkle, he was adorable!
Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for my copy.
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I’ll admit that one of the reasons I requested this book, besides my quest to encourage a love of reading in my youngest (I’ve given up on the oldest), was the eye-catching artwork design on the cover of this tween-novel.

This magical debut novel targeted for the Middle School sector was released today! It is a well-written story with elements of mystery, adventure, family, friendship, acceptance, love, loss, and healing. Set in an incredibly fantastical land with enchantingly descriptive elements and people, the writing is engaging enough to capture the attention of the pickiest young reader while remaining sophisticated enough to appeal to grown-up readers who enjoy a touch of whimsy.

The plot follows the road trip-style adventure of two tweens who embark on their journey for two very different, personal reasons. The riveting escapade is balanced with colourful scenery, elements of humour, and personal introspection. I was both charmed and surprised. I loved the quirky odd characters and wish we had the opportunity to get to know them a little better. The ending caught me by surprise and left me a little bereft, yet touched – not because it was poorly written, but because I was so engaged with the tale.

A recommended read for any tween or adult readers who enjoy imaginative and extraordinarily curious fiction along the lines of Neil Gaiman or Roald Dahl.

Additional thoughts available on my blog:  https://lifelovelaughterlinds.home.blog/2019/04/02/book-review-the-remarkable-inventions-of-walter-mortinson-by-quinn-sosna-spear/
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First off, this is one of the voiciest, most irreverently funny books I've ever come across. Sosna-Spear has an incredible talent for wordplay, and I found myself desperate to turn the pages to see what quirkiness awaited me next! It's a roadtrip novel of sorts, except chances are, you've never been to these destinations before: giants and fish-people and honeybee towns and all sorts of absurdly wonderful pitstops! 

But beyond the noise and colour, this is also a book about loss. About how loss changes relationships, and the importance of finding light in the darkness. Walter and Cordelia are a fantastic pair, and gosh ... minor spoiler alert, but I was not prepared for the ending. But I think that's Sosna-Spear's key skill: she doesn't shy away from ANYTHING, be it strangeness or grief. 

My one, nitpicky complaint: occasionally it felt like characterisation suffered at the hands of style. I loved watching Walter and Cordelia and Hadorah go about their journey, yet I never, truly, felt invested in the characters themselves. Certain scenes seemed to exist purely for spectacle (which is fine!), but the distanced me from the story. 

But overall, FANTASTIC!! I can see middle graders loving this one, and it's a wholehearted recommend from me!!
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I couldn't put it down. Walter made me laugh and made me want to cry. Filled with delightfully imaginative ideas.
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A delightful, fun read . I enjoyed being introduced to Walter and his magical life.   The publishers compare this work to Roald Dahl and I"m happy to report I agree!  I will be recommending this book to children and parents alike.
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Debut author Quinn Sosna-Spear has a hit on her hands with THE REMARKABLE INVENTIONS OF WALTER MORTINSON. 

With an imagination equalling that of iconic children's author Roald Dahl, and emotional intelligence   commensurate to that of BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA author, Katherine Paterson, this exceptional middle-grade book is destined to be at the top of multiple BestSeller lists. 

Firstly, I have to mention the awe-inspiring cover art. There is no way that any reader will be able to walk past that cover in a bookstore without pausing to pick it up to read the back. And, as most of us know, if you can get people to hold a book in their hands, they are much more likely to purchase it. 

However, a great cover can only do so much. The story inside must be equally fascinating, and debut author Quinn Sosna-Spear has mastered the art of storytelling to make this happen.  

Kids will quickly be able to relate to one of the main characters, either Walter or Cordelia. 

Walter Mortinson is a young tween who invents all kinds of fabulous contraptions and who lives with his mother in the most boring town on the planet - Moormouth. The problem is that Walter's inventions often get him into trouble, but he can't stop inventing, he loves it too much. 

Walter does not have many friends, in fact, he doesn't have any friends at all. He hates going to school because of being bullied.

Walter used to play with the girl who lives next door, but Cordelia doesn't come around anymore. She only has one eye and is very self-conscious, but Walter doesn't care about her "disability," he just wants her friendship.

Nothing ever seemed to happen in the small town of Moormouth - until the day that one of Walter's inventions go awry and causes big problems.

Because of what happened, his mother tells him that he is no longer allowed to invent things, and that it is time for him to become a mortician, just like her. 

At the same time, he receives an invitation to apprentice with the most famous, and the richest, inventor alive. His name is Horace Flasterborn and he lives far, far away in a place called Flaster Isle. Walter decides that he isn't cut out to be a mortician and runs away with Cordelia to accept Horace Flasterborn's offer of apprenticeship. 

Walter may be a few years too young to have a driver's license, but he doesn't let that stop him, he drives away in the only vehicle available to him - the family hearse. 

The two runaways experience a road trip they will never forget, and neither will the readers of this book. 

There are sinister forces that want to exploit Walter's gift for inventing and the people and creatures they meet along the way will either help them, or possibly harm them and what fantastical creatures they are. 

To find out what and who the bad guys are, and to explore the fantastic world of Walter and Cordelia, you need to buy a copy of this book. 

Fans of Eoin Colfer and Madeline L'Engle will adore this marvelous story filled with amazing adventures and interesting 'people.' 

As fun and interesting as their adventures are, there are also some serious issues that are explored in this book, such as the fact that Walter's father is dead, and someone else in the story might just be seriously ill. Kids struggling with grief will find that they are not alone and will gravitate towards Walter's character.

It is hard to believe that this is author Quinn Sosna-Spear's debut novel. She writes with depth and an immense talent. If this is her first book, I cannot wait to read the next one. 

If I could rate this book higher than 5 out of 5 Stars I would, as it is I am giving it my highest rating of 5+ Stars. 
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

***Thank you to #NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with a free ARC of this book.***
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ARC Copy...I liken the imagination and inventive wonder of the world itself especially the seemingly impossible inventions shown to Walter...we totally need a paint by slumber invention to paint actual dreams!
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The book was wonderful! An exciting mix of fantasy and what I call fiction that mezmerised me the entire time. My only critisizm would be that the book ended too quickly, I felt it could have gone on and on. My habit is not to offer a synopsis so I will only add that if your a fan at all of Neil Giaman books? Then this is for you!
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