Read Curioddity by Paul Jenkins Online


Will Morgan is a creature of habit―a low-budget insurance detective who walks to and from work with the flow of one-way traffic, and for whom imagination is a thing of the distant past. When a job opportunity enters the frame in the form of the mysterious Mr. Dinsdale―curator of the ever so slightly less-than-impressive Curioddity Museum―Will reluctantly accepts the task oWill Morgan is a creature of habit―a low-budget insurance detective who walks to and from work with the flow of one-way traffic, and for whom imagination is a thing of the distant past. When a job opportunity enters the frame in the form of the mysterious Mr. Dinsdale―curator of the ever so slightly less-than-impressive Curioddity Museum―Will reluctantly accepts the task of finding a missing box of levity (the opposite of gravity). What he soon learns, however, is that there is another world out there―a world of magic we can only see by learning to un-look at things―and in this world there are people who want to close the Curioddity museum down. With the help of his eccentric new girlfriend Lucy, Will will do everything he can to deliver on his promise to help Mr. Dinsdale keep the Curioddity Museum in business.Curioddity is Paul Jenkins’ debut novel... exciting, fast-paced, and uncanny. A must-read....

Title : Curioddity
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781250026156
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Curioddity Reviews

  • Carrie
    2019-01-31 16:56

    Will Morgan is a private investigator that rarely ever gets any actual work. When approached by Mr. Dinsdale he's quite curious as to what the mysterious man would want to hire him for but after hearing his story he thinks this has to be a joke. Mr. Dinsdale want's will to find a wooden box for him containing the world's largest sample of levity. Will promptly turns him down but Mr. Dinsdale isn't the type to take no for an answer offering up a huge sum for payment. Taking on a case with no clues as to where to start Will takes Mr. Dinsdale's advice and try to "un-see" things which opens up a whole new world to Will that he never knew existed.Wow, was this ever a weird story. If looking for something different in the fantasy world this one would certainly fit the bill. It's a rather slow starter which I kept wanting to put down until it finally picked up and began to gain my interest a bit more. I'd say the best part of this read was probably that you do find yourself laughing quite often even when the story had it's slower moments. Nothing is really simple in Will's world as a reader will come to see. Something as simple as a buying a cell phone becomes quite humorous. And then his cell phone has a life of it's own which was probably one of the most entertaining parts to the story for me. Overall, definitely an odd story to go with the odd title. Slow starter but it did pick up and go at a lot faster pace. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2019-01-22 14:34

    3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum its title implies, this novel is a bit of an oddball. Even the style of it reminds me a little of a children’s storybook, complete with its own whimsical fairy tale message: Your eyes only see what your mind wants to see, so sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective. Or, if you’d like: Magic is real, if you just look for it.The book starts with an introduction to the saddest protagonist ever. Wil Morgan is literally the kind of guy who has dreams about coming in second in a World’s Biggest Failure competition. He’s crotchety, cynical and unimaginative—but that didn’t used to be the case. His childhood was filled with hopes and dreams, and his mother the brilliant jet propulsion scientist Melinda Morgan always encouraged him to reach for the stars and believe in the possibility of magic. But the year he turned ten, Melinda died in a laboratory accident, leaving young Wil in the sole care of his father who is as different from his mother as can be. Barry Morgan, who was never an outside-of-the-box kind of man to begin with, became even more paranoid and set in his ways after the death of his beloved wife, fearing that he would lose his only son too. He essentially forbade Wil to have an imagination, setting the boy on a path to a safe and unadventurous life. And so this was the story of how Wil came to be in his boring, miserable, and uninspired existence.But a part of Wil has never given up hope. He still wants to believe in the possibility of magic. Maybe that’s why he became a private investigator in defiance of his father who wanted him to be an accountant, even though being a PI pays poorly and he is stuck working out of an office building whose elevators smell like rat vomit. One day though, Wil gets a new assignment from a strange man called Mr. Dinsdale, who claims to be the curator of the Curioddity Museum. Even though Wil secretly thinks the man has lost his marbles, he reluctantly accepts the task of finding Mr. Dinsdale’s missing museum exhibit, something called a “box of levity” (as opposed to gravity).Paul Jenkin’s debut prose novel is a bit of a surprise, to be sure. I’ve been following his work as a comic book writer since his Hellblazer days and Curioddity is quite different from what I had expected when I first heard that he wrote a book. It’s a little hard to describe, since it has some elements from everywhere, including urban fantasy and even a little bit of magical realism. It’s also somewhat off-the-wall and weird. The reader’s mileage will therefore vary, as it’s so often the case with books like this. If you enjoy unusual stories or eccentric humor in the style of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, then you might want to pick this one up.On the other hand, if you’re not so sure this will be for you, it might be worth checking out a sample of Jenkin’s writing style if you can, which, speaking of, is very distinctive. You can probably get a good sense of what you’re in for within the first chapter. There are certain quirks like random breaks in the middle of scenes, and not a page goes by without a droll one-liner or some kind of cheeky metaphor. Here’s just one example from a random page:“Wil felt like a nun at a fashion show: he was clearly out of his comfort zone, and would probably be better off sticking to his usual habits.”Okay, that one got a chuckle from me. But a constant barrage of that can also get a little distracting, I’ll admit. I also don’t typically do so well with wacky plots and characters, and getting into this novel took time. Like I said, parts of this story reminded me of a children’s tale, and at times the book read like one too. There were flashes of cleverness, but also moments where the juvenile scenarios or Wil’s groan-worthy similes made me roll my eyes.It’s not that I didn’t enjoy Curioddity though, because I did. Jenkins is clearly a talented writer and he can spin a good yarn. However, I’m also pretty sure I’m not the ideal target reader for this book. And you know what? Considering how well I did with it in spite of that, I would say that’s a win. Though its style sometimes ran counter to my tastes, the book’s whimsical message is something that will stay with me for a long time, as will its heartwarming conclusion. Bottom line, if you think his style will be a good fit for you, then I think you’ll love this one to bits.

  • Karen
    2019-01-19 20:48

    Sometimes things just don't work out how we expect...Curriodity landed on my radar at a time when I was wanting to read something really different and unusual. So after pondering it for a few days and reading the blurb several times I thought why not? While I have to admit it was definitely unusual it also turned out that it just wasn't the book for me. I struggled with just how much unusual was in at.Wil works as a detective...well, works might be a bit of a loose term to use...maybe, more like struggles to earn a living. He studied to be an accountant because this was what his father wanted for him. But for Wil life until the age of 10 had been filled with the exploration of the unusual and unique an interest that was nurtured by his mother until she disappeared.Now as an adult he plods through life struggling each day filled with his efforts to ignore the existence of the unusual and quirky things that surround him. Things like the noises coming from the pipes in his apartment, the fact that said apartment seems to always smell like mushrooms and things aren't always where he left them when he went to bed the night before or when he gets home from work.Things begin to take a turn for the truly unusual when Wil encounters Mr. Disndale the curator of the Curioddity Museum. A man that strikes Wil as being most unusual and a man who seems to challenge Wil to look at the world from a totally different perspective and who never really takes no for an answer. Wil's instincts tell him to distance himself from this strange man but it's the offer of a job that promises to pay Wil a considerable amount of money that keeps tempting him along until before he realizes it, he's accepted the challenge of finding the missing box of levity from the Curioddity Museum.Wil's search for this elusive and valuable object takes ihim to places that are not what he expected and place him in the path of one Lucy Price. The beautiful girl who captures his heart instantly. Along with the adventures and misfortunes that occur in his search Wil has to deal with his father's pending visit which has thrown him off kilter because Wil's father has no idea that his son is not working as an accountant much less that he lives in an apartment building that is managed by the neighborhood cat lady whom Wil strives and fails to avoid every morning as he leaves the building to start his day.I liked the story line about Wil and his father it was the primary reason that I kept reading the book I wanted to see how things played out between this two men and for me this was definitely my favorite part of the story, I also liked anything involving Lucy driving a car or Wil's Lemon phone especially when it was using the navigation function...turn left, turn left, turn goes to a personal experience that my husband and I had while on vacation and we were using his cell phone for directions and yes at one point that was all we heard...turn left, turn 200 meters turn left...Sara is real or at least for me she was realistic.Unfortunately there was more that didn't work for me than what did and I often found that I was bored or becoming frustrated with the pace of the story so I would take a break and move on to other books...once or twice maybe three times...this is not the norm for me. Making me feel that it was a good indication that things just weren't clicking with this story.I'm sure I could probably go on and on about why this book didn't work for me but at the end of the day it would still come down to just that. It didn't work. It wasn't the right book for me to read or I wasn't the right reader for this book because truthfully I don't feel even remotely inclined to make inferences that the author wasn't a good writer. I truthfully think he was.So yes, I've given this book a 2 star rating much to my chagrin. But I also think if you're someone who wants a story that's quirky and incredibly unusual from a new author who knows how to write you need to check it out for yourself because truthfully...a literary critic I am not. I'm just someone who enjoys reading books, loves to step outside of her comfort zone from time to time and really loves chatting with her friends and sharing her thoughts on what she's read and before I forget while it really has no bearing on the book good or bad can I just mention this book has a superb cover.Happy reading and remember the only person who truly knows if it's the right book for you.********************A copy of 'Curioddity' was graciously provided by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Megalion
    2019-01-31 19:34

    What the synopsis doesn't mention is that Will had a lovely creative woman for a mother. Most little boys would agree because a mom that encourages you to blow up things to learn how they work? Divine!However, she dies in an experiment at work. Her husband and son were so bereft at her loss that the grief heavily affects their lives going forward as well as their relationship with each other. Will's dad uses the accident as an excuse to crush the curious spirit of his son. Tries to steer him into a dull life as an accountant where he'll be safe from danger.That is who Will is at the beginning of the story. The concept of un-looking is something he struggles with but it serves as a social commentary by the author on the world today. Get out of your routines. Open your eyes and really see what is in front of you rather than what experience leads you to expect. That is the foremost reason why I recommend this book. It's also a fun jaunt especially after Will starts to let go of his party pooping world view.Bonus: The setting of the curio museum. I adore books about types of entertainment that have fallen out of favor in the modern world. This curio museum has some rather interesting objects that make for humorous scenes.Thank you to the publisher for the copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-11 13:44

    This was okay. I really liked parts of it, especially when Will's life started to turn around. The writing was good. I did have some problems though. The story didn't hold interest at times, the pacing felt off, and I just expected something a bit different than what I got.

  • Barb (Boxermommyreads)
    2019-02-07 13:49

    I've sat and thought about this review for a little while now and I guess it's about time I try to put it in to print. When I requested Curioddity, I figured I was in for a Harry Dresden/urban fantasy type book and while I was somewhat right, I don't think this book actually lived up to my expectations. That's not to say it's a bad book because it really isn't. It was just really hard for me to become engrossed with the plot and I didn't really connect to any of the characters until Lucy came along. And let's just add, it's a good thing that ODD is in the title because it very accurately Jenkins' latest endeavor.Wil Morgan has his own business as an insurance private investigator but right from the start, the reader finds that Wil is not happy with his life and really has only been going through the motions since his mother died when he was 10. Wil's mother sparked Wil's creativity and imagination as a young child and especially an interest in all things science related, but when she passed, he was raised by his more practical father. Wil has always disappointed his father and has never really been happy and sad to say, I'm surprised Wil just didn't off himself several years before the events in this book even took place. However, one day he is approached by Mr. Dinsdale - an odd curator for the Curioddity Museum and Wil's subsequent involvement with Mr. Dinsdale and the museum leads him to unravel a new mystery which leads to Wil changing the way he looks at absolutely everything. I never really became attached to Wil and perhaps it was because he was rather drab and boring. However, I imagine Jenkins portrayed him exactly as he wanted and he was supposed to be this way. It also took me quite a while to get used to Jenkins' writing. Many paragraphs and even the chapters are long and descriptive and for me, it bogged down the novel. However, once Lucy arrived on the scene, both the dialogue and the action picked up and I can honestly say in my opinion, she saved the book. Plus her driving abilities - priceless! Also, Wil's father comes to visit and the reader gets some insight on their very strained relationship which did succeed in making Wil a tad more interesting.If you like mysteries, science fiction and strange adventures with odd characters and contraptions, then this might just be the book you have been searching for. At this time, I believe it's listed as a stand alone, yet I could see where it might have a sequel sometime in the future. If so, I might pick it up to see what happens to Lucy and Wil in the future, but it wouldn't be high priority on my list.I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • All Things Urban Fantasy
    2019-01-16 16:48

    Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:CURIODDITY starts a bit slowly, like a strange roller coaster. It's a sluggish start, if well written, highlighting just how boring Wil’s life is at the beginning of the book. Luckily, we quickly nosedive into the action when it starts. I read the first thirty percent of the book in a few days, and the rest in a frenzied seventy-five minutes of madness.Wil’s life has been a predictable, dull, and slightly mushroom-flavoured. He lives in a small, dull apartment, walks to a small, dull office, and he can barely afford either of them. Since the death of his eccentric mother, his father has smothered all imaginative thoughts and Wil has now fully embraced that he will never do anything exciting ever.Until a Monday morning when it all changes.Mad characters start popping into his life, as well as multiple cranial injuries.The nonsense is fabulous in this book because it isn't just nonsense for the sake of making the world wacky: each and every little thing is sorted or important, or at least explained a little bit by the end. Readers still don't know how the box of levity or the lightning catcher work, although I imagine not even the director of the Museum of Curriodity knows that. When the nonsense really hits the fan, it all comes together beautifully.The writing is what brought it up to a four bat book. When Wil stumbles into a bazaar, I could almost smell the pastries and spices. There a lots of humorous little jabs at modern life, and as Wil’s dull, drab life crumbles around him, the descriptions and humour get more and more fun. By the end, you don’t know what to expect and it’s fabulous.Add to that a legitimately charming romance, a larger than life super-villain, time-traveling electronics and a wonderful sense of whimsy,and CURIODDITY is a fun scifi/fantasy romp by an author I’ll be checking up on.

  • Rebecca (whymermaids)
    2019-01-19 16:33

    If you were to take Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and blend it with a bit of Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore then throw in the quirkiness of All My Friends are Superheroes, you’d get Curioddity. It’s a fantastically weird novel in all the best ways.Life is pretty bland for Wil Morgan, and has been since he was 10. He trudges through life (trudging being one of his favorite activities), is haunted by the clock tower that can’t seem to work correctly, and has a daily battle with the teenage barista over his morning coffee. Nothing seems to go right for him. When Mr. Dinsdale of the Curioddity Museum shows up and enlists his help, however, Wil learns to unlook at things to see them truly.The main theme of Curioddity is “your eyes only see what your mind lets you believe,” which I absolutely love. Only when Wil allows himself to let his imagination take control, to go off the one-way road, does he find himself and happiness again. It’s a great message. Curioddity is smartly written, with metaphors for today’s society cleverly interwoven. Wil is harassed by a QVC salesman, his too smart Lemon phone, and Pan’s robust statue; and consumerism and laziness means spending more money just to avoid the red tape.My only complaints were the pacing (I tended to read it in chapter chunks rather than binging it, though it does pick up towards the end) and some of the objects and events were hard to picture purely because of their strangeness. At times, things felt too easy, but I suppose that was the point. There are even moments when the characters look at one another and address this, so while it was intentional, I would’ve still liked to see a bit more struggle at times.Paul Jenkins’ history of writing for video games and comic books has helped flesh out his debut novel. It’s well structured, well written, and a fun adventure. Curioddity is very much in the realm of Neil Gaiman: a quirky and inventive magical realism that helps you see the world upside down.*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for an honest review*

  • Marvin
    2019-01-21 14:35

    In Curioddity by Paul Jenkins, we have a emotionally oppressed gentleman by the name of Wil Morgan who lives in a life-long struggle between the imaginative and the mundane. His mother, who died when he was young, encouraged a fantastical approach to life. "Your eyes only sees what your mind lets you believe," she tells him. His father, on the other hand, steered him toward the safe and the dull, so much so that when Wil becomes a private investigator of insurance fraud he is afraid to tell his father who wants him to follow the even duller and safer career of accounting. One day an eccentric owner of an unusual museum comes to him and asks him to find a box of levity, which is the opposite of a box of gravity. From this point on, Wil becomes entrenched in an adventure going beyond just finding a box and is entrusted with the task of saving the Curioddity Museum.It is a cute tale and there is lots of stuff is going for it. Wil is an adult that misses the childhood feeling of wonder that his mother instilled in him. It takes a major push for him to reclaim it and that push is aided by Mr. Dinsdale who is the owner of the museum, and a woman who is so endearing and cute that I wanted to ask Wil for her phone number. There is a satisfactory amount of befuddlement in Wil's reactions to the weird going-ons and even a nasty capitalist villain to move along the plot.Yet, as enjoyable as it was, I couldn't get over the feeling I've read this all before. The clever and humorous writing is often in a style too close to that of Douglas Adams and the characters seemed like copies from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy right down to the neurotic piece of technology. Much of the humor is charming but not all that unpredictable. At the same time, It didn't really launch itself into the farcical surreal as I wanted it to. In a manner of speaking, I wanted to do more than just leave Kansas. I wanted to see Oz. The Museum opened the door but I, Wil, and Lucy never really passed through it.The thing that works best in Curioddity is Wil's conflict between being "odd" himself or being a conformist. That struggle parallels the conflict between the love for his father and mother to which he cannot reconcile. Wil's father makes an appearance in the second half of the book and it is those conversations between Wil and his father that puts flesh on the bones of the story . Yet the fantastical elements do not meld well enough with the part that moved me to win me overCurioddity is certainly clever and there are lots of funny one-liners and situations. But with all the satirical fantasy and science fiction that is out there begging to be read, i just didn't give this book too much of a thought afterwards. It seems fairly obvious that the author left plenty of room for sequels. I can think of many series that didn't win me over until the second or third book. This could easily be one of them. But that is in the possible future and for now I have to say I liked it but with reservations. But if you are into satirical fantasy, it just might be worth a shot.

  • Zippergirl
    2019-01-28 14:00

    "And could you hold the heavy cream, please."Enclosed please find two tickets to the Curioddity Museum, you are encouraged to bring a friend in need of mind expansion. Please leave all conventional thinking at the door. Visitors are expected at the main entrance, located on Upside-Down Street right across from the abandoned cinema, at precisely six minutes past three.KLONNGGG!Okay, this is me speaking, avid reader and reviewer. I read a lot of books. I am always on the lookout for the sincerely odd book to engage, amuse and inspire. Curioddity is high quality magical realism. It is peopled with, well, odd people. And the world's most insane smartphone. The humor ranges from tongue in cheek to sly wit, with a few true laugh out loud Pythonesque situations thrown in for good measure. And within you may find wisdom and a new sense of wonder."As Wil rushed to the exit, he passed the teenaged server, who for some inexplicable reason was now simply standing by the door holding a large carton of heavy cream."I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Alice, as in Wonderland
    2019-01-31 15:47

    Yeah. Another one star this year from me, because talk about books I really suffered through. This is a terrible book wearing the husk of a much better book, and that better book is Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Detective Agency, which, I might as well mention, is one of my favorite books of all time. So it's trying to live up to what is an expertly crafted series of plotholes with philosophies on mathematics, extinction, written in the sprezzatura-ian way that Adams became the master of. And "trying" is the main word here. It's trying so hard. And it fails in a spectacularly miserable and unfun way. There were so many lines in this book that I was very tempted to just DNF at, and not just DNF, but throw it out into the street and rain. I cannot describe the joy I felt when I realized that the copy I had had major printing errors for the last 50 pages of the book - suspiciously almost as if no one expected to read that far - but it meant that I could send it back to the publisher and not have to shelve it in my bookstore.Let's talk about the writing. The writing is bad because it's a Adams-wannabe book written in the notebook of a 14 year old - I know because it reads remarkably similarly to stuff I wrote as a 14 year old. An obsession with needing to make a joke out of everything, to the point that an entire paragraph gets eclipsed by the need to be witty. An extra sentence, an extra continuation of the joke where it was unneeded, because of this "oh, did you get it? Did you really get the joke I just made" obsession. Nothing can exist on its own terms in the book - they are all commented on, made similes out of, there is no point where it naturally lets it go. The fact that there's a plot and things must happen wrench the writing out of its self-backpatting "humor" and is the only thing that keeps the book from devolving into a pointless mess. None of it is even that funny, just a persistent harping on normal things in life like people who work in not-Starbucks and dare to work under their company policies. If continuing with the Adams comparisons (and it is impossible not to), Adams didn't constantly fester in unhappiness and miseries. He also had the guts to write characters that aren't perfect and aren't likeable, or even liked.That's the main problem of Wil. Wil is the hapless hero sort whose magnetism is entirely inexplicable. He is self-absorbed, a dick to strangers, and is a distinctly average person who is only elevated in importance because of his throne as "Main Character of Book." But because of that throne, he ends the book being the only person who could do the Thing, in love with the One, and saved the Day for Everyone. The book starts with Wil going to not-Starbucks and being a jerk to the teenager who is working the counter. Now, even with the normal defense of Starbucks' naming policies (well, more the fact that employees are more or less forced to comply with it, not to mention because of naming policies, if you don't specify correctly, they could get the order wrong and who do you think suffers the drawbacks from that the most, really), Wil is acting an indubitable prick. It's such a cheap ploy to get the reader to empathize with his stupid arse of an existence that I was thrown out of the book almost immediately. He isn't being witty, he isn't standing up to any concept of a Man. Wil is being a dick, and the book refuses to call him out on it. Because he's the main character! He's the author's main character, and he's your presumably white, male main character, dear reader! He's you, if you are a specific type of person who all of media already circles around. He's just like you, an underappreciated funny genius, with qualities that have been laying dormant until the day where the perfect series of events that perfectly tell you how amazing you are! That day is just around the corner, and here's a book that reaffirms this tired old message just one more time because God knows we haven't heard it enough. And he's had a sad and tragic past because his mother died! His mother, who might as well have been Jesus in the sense of how little she could possibly have done wrong.Speaking of one-dimensional female characters, let's look at all the female-characters of this book and how terrible they are. The female characters themselves aren't terrible, but they're written terribly and with about as much depth as a puddle in the Sahara. Wil being a terrible character sent off warning alarms in my brain, but it was how this book wrote female characters that promoted it to "I would watch this book be engulfed by flames and feel only relief." Wil's mother is mostly told through flashbacks, and as I mentioned before, has little to nothing in the way of faults. And neither, when it comes down to it, does Lucy, other than her wild driving habits, which only add more fuel to her loveable free-spirited quirkiness! It's not exactly the Madonna-whore complex, but worth mentioning that of three major female characters in this book, one is the dead saintly mother and one is his girlfriend. The third barely talks at all.This all comes to a head, I think when Wil goes to dinner with Lucy, who is described in no uncertain terms that she is "pretty." Or gorgeous. Or attractive. Is there a point at which this book gives me her goddamn hair color or whether she's tall, fat, skinny, whatever? There might have been, but I wouldn't want to detract from the most important descriptor: that she is attractive. Because there's a universal marker on that one (especially if you're an entitled white dude, which works out because this book is for you and only you, buddy!). So Lucy, who is pretty and attractive and gorgeous (and if you think I'm mentioning that too many times it's only because the book is ten times worse) is a wacky manic pixie dream girl, and you can tell, because she walks barefoot around her shop. After making some pointless, vaguely xenophobic remarks about Korean food, Wil spends the entirety of their dinner date talking about himself; his problems, his life, his dad, his mother, his Monday, etc etc etc.At which point the book loses any credibility it has left by forcing Lucy to tell Wil that he is the anti-boyfriend because he is not selfish like her previous boyfriends! I. Couldn't. Even.On his first date with this woman who he has already decided he is in love with, he has spent the entirety of it either complaining about his food or complaining about his life, and the book gives him a slap on the back for selflessness? If there was one scene that could really sum up what a worthless combination of thousands of words this was, it was this scene. It should have this scene on its cover, so that people know what they're in for. It sums up every fault of this book in a couple of pages. For heaven's sake, does Lucy even have parents? Where did the shop come from? Is there even a reason she walks the shop barefeet other than to exhibit her free-spirited, "groovy," nature? Who knows! Who cares! WE ARE WIL AND WIL IS US AND WE ARE ALL TOGETHER.And wrapping up, there's nothing to be said for the plot that isn't overshadowed by its miserable writing and characters. It continues to attempt to be Adams-ian, but the "un-see" aspect of the book is haphazard and makes little to no sense. It's magic but not. It's science but not. The novel's inability to understand or elaborate on its in-universe physics continue to demonstrate its flimsiness for the sake of what the author clearly believes is his hilarious prose. Its time-looping is an unhappy callback to gimmicky bland episodes of Doctor Who as Written by Steven Moffat and only adds to its belying how really very hard its trying to be witty and smart.The best thing I can say about this book is at least I know now to not read this author or this book's sequels.Whoever wrote on the back that this is the happy union of Lewis Carroll and Douglas Adams is on my revenge list now because you convinced me I'd like this book and to give it a shot.

  • Yzabel Ginsberg
    2019-01-23 16:49

    [I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]Hard one to rate… I found it full of good ideas, but the pacing threw me off, except after the 70% mark or so, when it really picked up.The beginning was tricky: slow and “dull”, which was fitting as it perfectly reflected the daily drudgery that is Wil Morgan’s life. So in a way, it was perfectly adequate, even though it made it difficult to get into the story fast. Wil is, simply put, a man who used to dream when he was a child, encouraged by his mother who taught him to look at the world differently; yet after his mother’s death, banality caught up to him, this time with his father’s support, the latter wanting a secure and normal life for his son. Of course, when the mysterious Mr Dinsdale waltzes into Wil’s bleak existence, everything starts to change…There is no blatant revelation here, or very complex world building with a whole underground, supernatural society and its many rules and denizens. As far as urban fantasy goes, it’s relatively light, with the magical/unexplained side of things more touched upon than delved into. In itself, it’s not bad at all: it has a quaint charm, that also makes it easy to discover all those strange occurrences at the same time the main character does. It’s all about little things, and perhaps they’re not even so extraordinary, just less mundane than we’re used to, and able to become fascinating if we decide to let them do. Crates that move only when you’re not looking at them. Perpetual Motion artefacts. Machines rumoured to have been created by Da Vinci himself. Weird contraptions and items that “do stuff” as long as you don’t worry too much about it. The Museum of Curioddities has a lot of such objects, and every addition contributes to making Wil’s life more and more unusual, little bit by little bit. (Also, the Evil Swiss Clock.)And even though it seems like nonsense, all of this, this little world, has a logic of its own. Nonsense ends up making as much sense as mundane life—perhaps even more, at times. So what if the villain is pretty wacky, and the light romance kind of predictable in a world full of unpredictability? Well, it doesn’t really matter.What prevented me from enjoying this book more were mostly:- The pacing: even after Wil’s life takes a turn for the oddest, it still felt somewhat… dull in places. I guess I had expected more in that regard.- Although the writing in general is good, I thought there were too many “witty lines” and bizarre metaphors. A couple thrown in from time to time is all right, and fun, but too many will ruin the fun, so to speak. It was enough to pull me out of my reading; it may just be me, though.Conclusion: apart from those (jarring enough for me, perhaps not for another reader), it was good in terms of whimsical/somewhat nonsensical magical realism.

  • Meigan
    2019-02-08 16:51

    Author Paul Jenkins delivers a magical tale, full of whimsy and oddity in his debut novel, Curioddity. Centering around a man suffering from the worst case of ennui I have ever encountered, Wil Morgan is a man stuck in a perpetual state of tediousness. He takes no chances, he takes no risks despite his occupation of private investigator. Although to add to his sense of boredom, his job is as safe as he is because he rarely (if ever) actually has a client. He is certainly a man shaped by childhood events, and it's becoming ever-clear to him that this life he's been "living" isn't all it's cracked up to be. When he encounters a curious little man who wants to retain Wil's services, his life is turned upside down. Just as upside down as the little man he now works for. There were many things about Curioddity that I loved, but the pacing is something that I had a real struggle with. For about the first 1/3, the pace was as tedious as Wil's life. Jenkins did a phenomenal job making the reader feel Wil's experiences with his current life, and sadly, I was almost as bored as Wil himself. Despite that, once curious little Mr. Dinsdale makes an appearance, the whimsy and the magic and the odd happenings follow quickly behind. There's quite a bit of quirky humor peppered throughout and if it weren't for the initial snail's pace setting up the story, this would have certainly garnered more stars from me. There's much to like about Curioddity, and if you manage to make it past the slow start, there's plenty of good stuff within these pages. For that alone, I recommend this for anyone looking for an oddball story with equally oddball characters, and I will certainly be on the lookout for any other future novels Paul Jenkins has to offer. *eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • Alan
    2019-02-02 19:42

    It's dangerous to start your book by describing exactly how gray, soggy and boring your protagonist's life is. Even if there's a reasonable hope for more excitement, eventually, readers won't necessarily have the fortitude to trudge through a sorry beginning to get to the good parts. Paul Jenkins' Curioddity came very close to that point for me, in fact, before it took off.Wil Morgan is a hapless and lonely private detective in a gray, soggy and boring city, trudging back and forth through a maze of one-way streets between his squalid apartment and his deserted office. Curioddity conveys only a vague sense of place—it's not easy, to start with, even to tell which continent Wil's city is on. Possibly this is because Jenkins himself is a British-born author living in Atlanta—that's got to contribute to a certain... rudderlessness.Wil himself certainly thinks like a Brit—he sleds down a snowy hill on a "tea-tray," is very concerned with his city's "one-way system" (the phrase is used repeatedly, whereas most American urbanites, used to rectangular city blocks, wouldn't even notice such a common street plan), and frequently uses phrases like "It's a good job" that make him sound veddy British indeed—but the unnamed city where the Curioddity Museum resides is actually somewhere in the eastern United States, as a reference (quite a few pages in) to Washington, D.C., eventually clarifies.Wil is something like (okay, a lot like) Dirk Gently as played by Arthur Dent. But... now that I've raised that spectre, please erase it from your mind. Curioddity really isn't all that much like a Douglas Adams book, however inevitable the comparison may be. For that matter, don't pay any attention to the name-dropping on the front flap, either—Paul Jenkins' first published novel (though he's been active in comics for years) bears even less resemblance to Neil Gaiman's, and none at all, as far as I can tell, to Isabel Allende's.Put up against such household names, Curioddity doesn't hold up that well—but evaluated on its own, it's actually not bad. Eventually, perseverance is rewarded. All that grayness and vagueness and timey-wimey wibbly-wobbliness end up being okay, and much of it was probably even intentional.I couldn't help thinking, though, that the absolutely atrocious pun on p.99 might've been the whole point of the book... I'm going to hide it behind a spoiler warning here, just in case you want to come upon it in context, or in case epic groaners give you hives... read at your own risk... don't say I didn't warn you:(view spoiler)[He was equally astonished when she smashed him over the head with an oversized copy of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, though he was forced to concede as he fell to the ground, stunned, that this was a novel approach.—p.99 (hide spoiler)]I did laugh more at this exchange between Wil and Lucy Price (about whom more shortly):"You know, you really are a complicated man, Wil Morgan. Did you find a good Korean restaurant for Thursday?""According to my Lemon phone there are five of them but they're all a bit of a drive.""How far?""Korea."—p.126Wil's relationship with SARA (the digital assistant for that Lemon phone) is, in general, always good for a laugh—it's a relationship that reminded me strongly of the (underrated, though admittedly cheesy) 1984 film Electric Dreams, in which a hapless and lonely architect named Miles gets off on the wrong foot with a Pinecone computer named Edgar who doesn't even have feet...Wil's love interest in Curioddity isn't SARA, though, despite her feminine persona. Lucy Price is the girl for Wil, and a more perfect example of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl could not possibly exist. Lucy is, and I'm quoting verbatim from that TVTropes page here, "stunningly attractive, energetic, high on life, full of wacky quirks and idiosyncrasies (generally including childlike playfulness), often with a touch of wild hair dye. She's inexplicably obsessed with our stuffed-shirt hero, on whom she will focus her kuh-razy antics until he learns to live freely and love madly."Although I'm not sure about the wild hair dye, the rest fits Lucy precisely.The science is a little weak, too—and I'm not talking about the intentional absurdities; those are just good fun. Things like... well, it may have been hyperbole, but Wil's plan at one point to drink rubbing alcohol would have been sickening and perhaps fatal. It's a good job he didn't actually do that. And, just so you know, it's common knowledge that rats can't vomit, so whatever that smell is in the elevator of Castle Towers, it ain't that.Just don't believe everything you read here, folks...One thing you can believe, though: Curioddity is a comedy, in the Shakespearean sense at least, so you are going to get a happy ending. And if you've been following along with Wil and Lucy and Mr. Dinsdale and the rest, you'll find yourself rooting for just exactly that.

  • Nancy
    2019-01-23 18:38

    I really wanted to like this novel but I think I was in the wrong mood or something. I'll try it again later.

  • Koeur
    2019-02-02 15:40 St. Martins PressPublishing Date: August 2016ISBN: 9781250026156Genre: FantasyRating: 4.4/5Publishers Description: Will Morgan is a creature of habit—a low-budget insurance detective who walks to and from work with the flow of one-way traffic, and for whom imagination is a thing of the distant past. When a job opportunity enters the frame in the form of the mysterious Mr. Dinsdale—curator of the ever so slightly less-than-impressive Curioddity Museum—Will reluctantly accepts the task of finding a missing box of levity (the opposite of gravity). Review: A pretty impressive debut novel that combines character development and movement to create a wonderful story line. As Will Morgan stumbles through life, he cynically analyzes the actions of others while internalizing his own pain. It is often laugh out loud funny the way his cynicism boils to the surface in the rendering of daily interactions. The writer really gets at the meat of Will’s persona, so much so that you root for him at every turn in hopes that his dismal existence meets the cathartic. As his life becomes more complex with the meeting of a deranged old man, it also becomes the very thing that you hoped for Will. Almost 5 stars but at times a little too Douglas Adamsy. Well played sir, well played.

  • Ian Mathers
    2019-02-04 12:55

    Ooof, I did not enjoy this one very much. If I hadn't been reading for review, I'm not sure if I would have finished it. I've liked some of Jenkins' other work, but this suffered from a pronounced amount of telling and telling and telling while also showing. I am absolutely down for comic exaggeration, but it was too much here in a way that didn't work for me. And the central romantic relationship just seems like weightless fantasy fulfillment for our protagonist. There are some good bits, sure, but it's all a bit much.

  • Nichole Mohler
    2019-02-07 19:51

    Will Morgan has no imagination. He used to, but after years of listening to all of father's points against imagination, Will lost his. Now an adult, Will does the same thing everyday. Trudges to work, trudges home, trudges to work, trudges home. Until, Mr. Dinsdale offers him a job. His life will never be routine again. This was a fun read. Lots of humor. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.

  • Chris
    2019-01-24 19:39

    Reminded me a lot of Douglas Adams Dirk Gently books, which I love. Not quite as good, but still a fun read. I would read more, if he writes more.

  • Ali Kiki
    2019-02-01 17:43


  • Rebecca
    2019-01-28 16:32

    I really loved this book. The characters were wonderful and entertaining. I loved Lucy and SARA, who was a phone and definitely a character. I really liked the idea that as you grow up and stop using your imagination you miss things that are going on around you. That you have to un-look at the world and get a different perspective. "Your eyes only see what your mind lets them" (possibly paraphrasing) was a constant statement throughout and one of my favorite parts. I really liked the idea of the Curioddity Museum and its curator was awesome. This was incredibly well-written and I found it very amusing. Not exactly laugh out loud funny, but I often caught myself smiling as I read, which hasn't happened in a long time, for me. I will say it was a little slow at the beginning and I had a rough time convincing myself to continue, basically until Mr. Dinsdale was introduced, but I do get that that was the authors point. Wil's life is so boring and gray and that comes across loud and clear to the reader, to the point that the story was pretty boring and gray. It wasn't until Wil started noticing things differently, so to speak, that the story because interesting and imaginative.

  • Clay Kallam
    2019-01-17 13:48

    There’s a lot curious and odd about “Curioddity” (St. Martin’s Press, $26.99, 308 pages), starting with author Paul Jenkins’ background in video games such as “God of War” and movies like “Hellblazer.” This, of course, wouldn’t be out of step with a lot of the dark and violent fantasy and science fiction that sells so well, but “Curioddity” goes in the opposite direction. It is, at heart, a happy book, a book of triumph, a book about a downtrodden everyman finally earning God’s smiles.The plot, which ranges from unbelievable to simply impossible, works because Jenkins is focused on how our worldviews affect our world. Wil Morgan lives in a dreary town, has a dreary job, walks to in dreary weather, and has absolutely nothing going for him. Then, however, his eyes are opened to the magic in the world around him, and good things happen.“Curioddity” handles this transformation with wide eyes, a sense of fun and plenty of comic book-like escapes and derring-do. Despite some flaws, I recommend it to anyone looking for a ray of sunshine in what often seems to be a dark world – though those who require logic and consistency might not be as enamored as I was.

  • Bruce
    2019-02-13 15:58

    Curioddity reads somewhat like a YA novel, or even a pre-teen book. While all the characters are grown-ups, the lightness in tone and the basic gist of "finding the person you are" and "discovering the world behind the world" hits a lot of the bullet points of youth fiction. It's madcap, quirky, and ends with a slapstick adventure The style of writing was a bit... much. I'm all for wordplay and clever metaphors, but literally ALL the passages have wordplay and clever metaphors. Once I got a feel for the rhythm of the writing, I would just skim whole paragraphs until the plot picked up again.But you know, this style really took me back to my own youth, reading books that reveled in language. I don't know if there are still books with this quality in middle school libraries, but the thirteen year-old me would have loved this book much more than the grown-up me has.

  • Kate
    2019-01-31 15:48

    The writing is very clever, a la Terry Pratchett. The story is sort of a mad cap, offbeat adventure blending magic and modern reality. Only downside is the manic-pixie-dream-Girl trope of a character introduced about halfway in. I don’t mind her as a character, it’s just that she pops up so often, and then there’s instant love. Ehh. Could’ve done without it. But the rest of the story is a lot of fun, and I would recommend this book.

  • John
    2019-02-14 16:36

    Fantastic, cheerful novel. Reminds me a bit of Joe vs the Volcano. It's about a man rediscovering magic, in all senses, in his life while having some crazy adventures and becoming a hero in the process. Full of levity and quirks. Slightly green, and some of the pacing is off, but otherwise a delight.

  • Grant E Moulton
    2019-02-12 13:33

    This book contains one of my favorite quotes, one that has profound implications for our knowledge and understanding of the world. Page 44 says "After all... your eyes only see what your mind lets you believe". The book helps open your eyes if you let it. This was a fun read, I enjoyed the strangeness of this book, and it reminds me of the best independent science fiction films, especially those with limited budgets, but not limited intelligence. If you are a fan of that type of entertainment, this should give you a great read.

  • Kate Kelly
    2019-01-19 15:38

    This book was so much fun! Want aliens? Got it? Robots? No problem. Got an itch for slightly campy sci-fi with a bit of adventure and a decent story to boot? This may be your book. If you are a fan of Hitchhikers guide I think you will enjoy this read.

  • Lee Cochenour
    2019-02-13 16:35

    Delightful, whimsical story of a private detective trying to retrieve an item stolen from the Museum of Curioddities. In the style of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, this book kept me laughing from beginning to end.

  • Mandy
    2019-01-19 18:31

    It was fun but easy to put down and forget about, if that makes sense!

  • Cammy Lowe
    2019-02-16 19:48

    3.5 totally bizarre but humorous - lots of magic.