On the day that the fattest, sweatiest man in Hong Kong kidnapped his parents, thirteen-year-old Boyd McCloyd found out he had a new job from an eight-foot tall yeti in a pinstripe suite and a stoic Chinese android. The job in question: Boyd was to continue to produce yearly editions of The Almanac of the Twisted and Weird (the world's number one printed resource for the odd and unusual, macabre and profane, twisted and...weird).
However, because Boyd had inherited this job from the venerable Confucius Ping, he also inherited Mr. Ping's enemies, every one of which had made it their lifelong goal to destroy everything that Mr. Ping represented. This dastardly and treacherous group of werewolves, leprechauns, mutant swordfish, dwarf giants, and various other cadres of criminals includes the very man who had kidnapped Boyd's parents: Mr. Fang.
It is this Mr. Fang that makes a demand of Boyd: Bring him the Perpetual Motion Machine or his parents suffer a most gruesome fate. But Boyd doesn't have all the pieces and it's a race against the clock as Boyd's ragtag group of acquaintances bolt across Hong Kong in a desperate search to save his parents from being the main course of the next Hot Pot at one of Mr. Fang's many restaurants.
Gives one a whole new perspective on ordering take out doesn't it?
This is actually pretty funny and I love the energy of it.
I'm utterly clueless about middle grade fantasy so I won't comment on whether it's old hat or age appropriate. I will say I like it a lot.