Review of The Inkberg Enigma

The Inkberg Enigma
by Jonathan King; illus. by the author
Intermediate, Middle School    Gecko    129 pp.    g
9/20    Paper ed.  978-1-776572-66-3    $17.61

In this graphic novel set in and around the fictional contemporary New Zealand fishing town of Aurora, youngsters Miro and Zia witness something they weren’t supposed to: a fisherman, entangled in huge tentacles, being rushed inside the fish processing plant by crewmates. Miro prefers to read about adventures rather than live them, but Zia’s curiosity is contagious, and he grudgingly agrees to help her investigate. Soon they are unraveling a mystery involving a captain’s logbook from a disastrous 1930s Antarctic expedition; Aurora’s seemingly overnight success as a fishing port immediately following the survivors’ return; and the cultish “Order of the Sea” that appears to control just about everything in town. Although the supernatural secret behind Aurora’s prosperity is disturbing — and very tentacle-y — the story is more thrilling than frightening, thanks to the light dialogue and Tintin-style illustrations. Miro’s bookishness plays as much a part in righting the town’s wrongs as does Zia’s daring, and playful references to Miro’s beloved adventure novels (including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, of course) and vintage comics abound.

From the November/December 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, formerly editor of The Horn Book Guide, is a freelance children’s and YA editor. She's also a former bookseller who holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons University. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.

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