Gustav Gloom and the People TakerI haven’t had as much fun reading a book to the whole family since Nanny Piggins. And that’s saying a lot. Gustav Gloom and the People Taker is a cross-generational spectacle of entertainment. In the world of Gustav Gloom, shadows rule, completely shrouding Gustav’s house, yard, and everything that appears behind his home’s fence. Fernie What (that’s right, her last name is ‘What’) moves into the house across the street from Gustav Gloom (along with her older sister Pearlie and her father, Mr. What – Mom).

Gustav Gloom and the People Taker
is rated
Buy Two!
(One for You, One for a Friend)

On Fernie’s first night in the new home, her cat Harrington runs out of the house (suspiciously chasing his unattached shadow?) and across the street into the Gloom house. Fernie (as she notes later in the novel), runs into the house when every reader who has ever seen a horror movie is yelling for her not to go in. Without giving too much away, Fernie enters Gustav’s world where shadows live, libraries contain all the books that were never written, galleries contain all the statues never built, and the evil People Taker plots to, well, take people on behalf of the evil Lord Obsidian.

The first book in the series has a satisfying ending, but leaves enough questions unanswered that reader(s) (and listener(s)) will yearn for more for more (the ultimate goal of any author). Adam-Troy Castro (who notes in the afterward that he doesn’t like writing too many books in the same genres) perfectly creates a genre of his own (Castrossian?). It’s dark humor, fantasy, with a brand-new take on death(?), new magic, and magical creatures never known to literature. I don’t know how Castro visually imagined Gustav and the characters while writing the book, but I can’t conceptualize a more sensational rendering that Kristen Margiotta’s black and white full page chapter heading illustrations.

Somehow, Castro already has two more Gustav Gloom books scheduled for 2013 releases (Gustav Gloom and the Nightmare Vault in April and Gustav Gloom and the Four Terrors in August) and I’ve heard twitter rumors about Castro’s editor editing a 5th within the last week. I don’t know how many more he’s got planned and if there’s and endgame in Castro’s mind, but my family’s in for the ride!

Book Information:

  • Reading Level: Grade 3-6
  • Interest: Age 8-12
  • Pages: 226
  • Pictures: 1 Full Page Picture per Chapter
  • Main Characters: Two ten year olds (Gustav Gloom & Fernie What) and a whole bunch of shadows …
  • Genre: Dark Humor, Fantasy, Castrossian, Fiction

Borrow. Read. Return. Repeat.


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