The One Where Archer Goes On An Adventure: The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon | Double Book Review

I hope everyone has been having a great day!

For the first time on this blog, I’m here with a two/double/pair/dual book review for you! Both reviews are fairly short, so I thought it would make more sense to talk about both books in one blog post just for convenience sake.

I don’t remember where I saw this book being talk about, but I do remember going on ‘World of Books’ and purchasing both books. (‘World of Books’ is a secondhand online bookstore! Highly recommend checking them out! Free shipping!!). I want to say I first came across this book from a YouTube video because that is where I have been getting my book recommendations lately.

These books are catered to the middle-grade audience, so I’ve been sure to keep that in mind whilst reading this book and writing the reviews.

I hope you enjoy my book review!


The Doldrums (The Doldrums #1)

by Nicholas Gannon

Edition: Hardcover, 364 pages

Publication Date: September 29th 2015 by Greenwillow Books

ISBN: 0062320947 (ISBN13: 9780062320940)

Series:The Doldrums #1

Literary Awards: Vermont Golden Dome Book Award Nominee (2017)

| Goodreads |

Goodreads synopsis:

Archer B. Helmsley has grown up in a house full of oddities and treasures collected by his grandparents, the famous explorers. He knows every nook and cranny. He knows them all too well. After all, ever since his grandparents went missing on an iceberg, his mother barely lets him leave the house.

Archer longs for adventure. Grand adventures, with parachutes and exotic sunsets and interesting characters. But how can he have an adventure when he can’t leave his house?

It helps that he has friends like Adélaïde L. Belmont, who must have had many adventures to end up with a wooden leg. (Perhaps from a run-in with a crocodile. Perhaps not.) And Oliver Glub. Oliver will worry about all the details (so that Archer doesn’t have to).

And so Archer, Adélaïde, and Oliver make a plan. A plan to get out of the house, out of their town entirely. It’s a good plan.

Well, it’s not bad, anyway.

But nothing goes quite as they expect.


This was a pretty fun book. 

‘The Doldrums’ follows Archer, a boy who has always been curious about most things. Ever since he heard about the disappearance of about his “famous explorers” grandparents, he has a feeling that there is more to being a Helmsley than sitting at home. Follow Archer and his friends as they come together with a plan to escape their homes and seek adventure elsewhere. 

Keeping in mind the intended audience for this book, I think readers who enjoy the genre would find the adventure, friendship, and mischiefs within this book really enjoyable. There were some parts of the book that weren’t as interesting, so I did end up lightly skimming through some paragraphs. That being said, the illustrations kept me going. The illustrations in this book are the epitome of peculiar and whimsical that tie this book together beautifully.

3 stars.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


The Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse (The Doldrums #2)

by Nicholas Gannon

Edition: Hardcover, 384 pages

Publication Date: November 7th 2017 by Greenwillow Books

ISBN: 0062320971 (ISBN13: 9780062320971)

Series: The Doldrums #2

Goodreads synopsis:

Archer B. Hemsley and friends are back and yearning for adventure in this second beautifully told, stunningly illustrated story from author-illustrator Nicholas Gannon.

After two years, Archer B. Helmsley’s famous explorer grandparents are finally coming home. They had been missing – abandoned on an iceberg – and Archer and his best friends, Adelaide L. Belmont and Oliver Grub led an adventurous mission to rescue them.

Archer is overjoyed by his grandparents’ return. However, he seems to be the only one . . . Rumours begin to surface that Archer’s grandparents weren’t abandoned after all. People are claiming that they made it all up. Well, Archer knows those rumours are false, and with the help of his best friends and new neighbour, Kana, he is going to prove it. Off the foursome set, into a snowstorm and beyond, to restore his grandparents’ reputation.



This book was just as whimsical and charming as the first. ‘The Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse’ follows Archer and his friends as they navigate through his grandparents’ surprising arrival and the “curse” that follows. This book is definitely one to look out for if you are into middle-grade novels and long to explore the unknown along with some fun, interesting characters. The writing is also so much better in this book than the first, and the story follows so much better in this one. The illustrations, which are my favourite part of these books, are scattered throughout the book and add so much life to the story. 

It almost creates this desire in me to seek out my own adventure instead of waiting for it to find me. 

3 stars. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Do read Middle-Grade books? Any recommendations?

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