Hello everybody! Today, I’m going to be sharing my review of Alex Bell’s latest release, the Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club, which is the 4th book in her wonderful Explorers series. Onto the post!
I’ve been a fan of this series since I picked up Stella Starflake Pearl’s first adventure back in 2017, so I was absolutely thrilled when I was offered this new release, which continues the story arc of the first three books, but mainly follows a new group of explorers from the Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club rather than Stella and her friends, although they do make some delightful cameos throughout the adventure, which I absolutely loved.
Our new main character is Ursula Jellyfin, who is a trainee engineer at the club who happens to be half human and half mermaid, a secret which she has to guard very closely given that mermaids are viewed as an enemy of the club. She’s such a fantastic heroine and I loved her instantly, particularly because her friendships with Joe and Minty the dolphin that we see at the beginning are so lovely, and because it’s so deeply unjust that she isn’t able to achieve her dream of becoming an explorer just because she’s a girl, even though she’s an excellent engineer and hates being confined to the club. My love for her only grew when she was on her expedition to return the Lost City of Pacifica, as she proved once and for all that she was a fantastic explorer, who demonstrates kindness to pretty much everyone she comes across (except the evil ones, obviously) and shows so much ingenuity in solving problems as she makes her journey through the sea.
Obviously, no explorer can undertake an expedition on their own, and the crew Ursula travels with are equally wonderful as she is. I had a particular soft spot for clever, sunny, optimistic Genie, who is a whisperer who can speak with a very unusual animal (I loved Bess too, for that matter!), but her more serious, officious brother Jai was amazing as well and I thought troublemaker Max added lots of humour and fun to the book, and I loved learning more about him as the book went on.
I’ve said this in pretty much every review I’ve written about this series I think, but I honestly don’t think I’ll ever have had enough of this world and I’m absolutely delighted that this seems to be the start of a new arc within the series, hopefully for at least the length of a trilogy. The world in these books is just incredible, and I love getting to follow the explorers to fascinating new places with such interesting new people every time I pick one up.
Thank you so much for reading! Are you a fan of this series? If so, do you have any recommendations for something similar I should try? I’d love to hear in the comments!