Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing EyeWelcome to the Warren Hotel, a once lavish facility that has fallen on hard times due to the absence of its devoted staff. The hotel is a shambling building with creaky floor boards, dusty mirrors, a hedge maze covered in brambles, and peeling wallpaper. Warren the 13th, the hotel’s heir and sole bellhop, is dedicated to this establishment, and does his best to clean and polish every room and floor, all the while wishing for some new customers and adventures. Warren soon becomes involved in a mystery that could change his life forever, a mystery which involves a treasure hunt, witches, riddles, and strange new creatures.

The first title in a new dark fantasy series, Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye, takes readers into a creepy but attractive world where anything is possible. This heavily illustrated novel combines the artistic style of Will Staehle and the prose of Tania Del Rio. Together they have created a story that is reminiscent of a Neil Gaiman tale with gothic stylized illustrations and scenes.

When readers first see Warren, he does not appear normal. The boy has blonde curly locks, a toad like face, and square teeth with gaps in between. Further inside the book, readers are introduced to Warren’s overweight and lazy uncle, his thin and creepy aunt, an odd little octopus creature, a silent visitor covered in bandages, as well as various hotel guests. Warren is kind and curious. The octopus, named Sketchy, is overly friendly, and guests may not be who they seem to be. As the readers learn more about the characters and the hotel’s secrets are uncovered, aspiring sleuths may be able to solve the mystery along with Warren from the clues uncovered.  

Will Staehle’s illustrations provide a visual representation of the characters and setting; many of the images include clues about the eponymous all-seeing eye while others reinforce the text’s descriptions of numerous characters, objects, and important scenes. They are done using black ink with splashes of red to make them more visible in an otherwise dark setting. Their placement is variable, usually located within the text or covering a whole page. Readers intrigued by the story’s mystery will want to search every image to see if a clue is hidden inside.  

Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye is a dark but humorous fantasy tale for juvenile readers. With its scary images and unique format, the novel would be best for readers between third and sixth grade. Middle school students who enjoy Neil Gaiman and R.L. Stine will gladly want to read this book, as well. It is an interesting read with delightful characters and an ending that will keep readers wanting more.

Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye, vol. 1
by Tania del Rio
Art by Will Staehle
ISBN: 9781594748035
Quirk Books, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12

  • Gloria

    | She/Her Children's Librarian, Elmont Memorial Library

    Gloria is a full-time children’s librarian at the Elmont Memorial Library in Long Island, New York where she runs a monthly STEAM program, a graphic novel book club, and storytime for preschoolers. During her free time, she is found reading anything and everything from the classics, to poetry, to the newest best seller. Her other interests include writing, online games, exploring new areas in her home state, and spending time with friends, family, and colleagues. She has also written articles and reviews for the website Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries and on her personal Goodreads page.

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