Plot: Marty, Grace, Travis Wolfe, Luther, Al Ikes, Roy, Joe, Bertha, Theo Sonborn, Laurel Lee, Phil, and several other members of the Cryptos Island crew set sail on a haunted freight ship called the Coelacanth to catch a live giant squid for the Northwest Zoo and Aquarium to put on display. They leave with two baby dinosaurs on board. However Noah Blackwood’s henchman, Butch McCall, stowed away on board to try and stop them from catching the squid. He killed Roy and threw him overboard and tried to do the same with Marty, but he caught the rail of the ship and Theo Sonborn pulled him back up. Theo later went into the bathroom and came out different (he looked like a movie star). Marty realized that Theo was actually Ted Bronson - an inventor and scientist that was believed not to have left the island in several years. Ted, Marty, and Dr. Lepod got into the ORB, a mini nuclear submarine that was made of a light alloy that would not get crushed by the pressure in the deep sea. They manage to find a giant squid and lure it up into a holding tank on the Coelacanth. By now Blackwood’s men have boarded the ship and set C-4s to blow up the ship and kill everybody on board. Noah Blackwood got into his helicopter and flew over and boarded the Coelacanth. Butch captured Grace and the dinosaurs and They got into the helicopter. Meanwhile Marty, Ted, and Dr. Lepod disabled the C-4s. Blackwood flew off and after making it 14 miles hit the button to detonate the C-4s. Nothing Happened.
Characterization: Marty is Wolfe’s nephew and Grace’s Cousin. He is an amazing artist and likes to draw comics with Luther. He is 13 years old. He also is a good chef and likes to cook meals for everyone else. Marty is brave and has gut intelligence. Grace is Wolfe’s daughter. She has robin’s egg blue eyes and black hair. She is 12 years old and was born at Lake Tele in the Congo. She is very smart. Luther is Marty’s best friend. He has bright orange hair and is often asked if he dyed it. He draws comics with Marty and is almost as good of an artist as Marty. He is good at hacking technology and video gaming. Travis Wolfe is a cryptozoologist. He is almost seven feet tall and wears size 15 shoes. He has black hair and a big black beard. His right leg was bitten off by a dinosaur and he wears a prosthetic. Noah Blackwood is Grace’s grandfather. He hunts endangered animals and puts them on display at his theme parks called Noah’s Arks. Butch McCall is Blackwood’s dangerous henchman. Bertha can kill someone 106 different ways with her bare hands and is an Ex-army ranger general. Phil is a pilot and Bertha’s husband. Laurel Lee is a former circus aerialist that in now Wolfe’s cultural anthropologist. Ted Bronson is Wolfe’s closest friend and partner and invents lots of things based on nature. Theo Sonborn is Ted’s anagram name.
Theme: A theme mentioned a lot is to keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Travis Wolfe and Ted worked for Blackwood and caught a great white shark for him. Then Wolfe married Blackwood’s daughter, Rose and took her away from him because Noah was a bad person who liked hunting endangered species and cryptids. Rose and Travis were happy together and liked exploring and looking for cryptids. But one day they came across the last living dinosaur - the Mokele Mbembe and it attacked them. It bit off Wolfe’s right leg and killed Rose. Blackwood was furious, so he sent Butch McCall to go and kill Wolfe and everyone else on Cryptos Island. This led to their current struggle with Butch trying to blow up the Coelacanth and everyone on board. Blackwood wants Grace all to himself so he captured her and flew away back to his Ark where Grace will be heavily guarded from Wolfe. Another theme could be that no dream is impossible now matter how hard it is to accomplish. This is proven when first the crew manages to catch a giant squid and proven again when they save the boat from the explosives and transfer the squid to the aquarium safely.
Style: “His mind was racing” is personification that means that he was thinking really hard but his mind was not actually racing. “They were running back and forth along the corridors like blind cats.” is a simile used to compare their running to blind cats. “We had to tell them something, so we gave them Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod to throw them off” means that they were tricking them. “When it all starts, put this on your left arm and don’t take it off.” “It’s your bulletproof vest.” The green armband was a symbol that meant more than just an armband. It was used so that you would not be shot by a team member during the raid. “Marty had passed the rule test with flying colors” is an idiom used to say that he aced the test. “We need to start chipping away at his cover.” means they were trying to get Noah to lie on camera and uncover him for who he really is. “Butch looked like an angry stag frozen in the headlights of an oncoming truck” means Butch did not know what to do when Blackwood whispered to him. “Tie up some loose ends” means that they still had to finish something.
Setting: “Tentacles” takes place in present time. There is no specific date set, but you can infer it is present time because of the technology like gizmos which are tablets that also can control a flying insect drone called a dragonspy, which is solar powered and has a micro camera. The book takes place at first on Cryptos Island where Luther arrives and then they set sail over the Pacific Ocean to travel to New Zealand on the Coelacanth. The weather at first is calm but then there is a large storm that the ship sails through. In the confusion and chaos Butch unties the ropes holding their helicopter down and the helicopter falls off into the sea, lost forever. The Coelacanth is a haunted ghost ship because the ship was hijacked by pirates in the South China Sea. All of the crew members were killed and tossed overboard. The ship was found with the captain’s head severed and in his bed. The pirates were caught and prosecuted a year later and Wolfe got the ship extremely cheap because there were no other bidders on the auction. Then towards the end of the book Blackwood hired pirates to destroy and sink the Coelacanth but they failed and were all killed with a sonic cannon that blows up their brain from the inside out.
Point of View: The point of view in this book is at first third person limited because it focuses mostly on Marty’s feelings and thoughts like for instance: “Marty O’Hara did not realize how much he had missed his best friend, Luther Smyth, until Luther jumped out of the seaplane onto the dock at Cryptos Island.” This sentence focuses on how much Marty missed Luther which is his thoughts. Later however, the book says: “Crew members complained of seeing apparitions at night, personal items being moved or missing altogether, strange knockings, screams, and whisperings. Luckily Marty had not experienced any of these strange occurrences - yet.” This is omniscient point of view because while it still focuses mainly on Marty, it says he had not experienced anything yet, and later he is thrown overboard and then everyone realized they had a stowaway. The book also focuses on Grace’s feeling and thoughts as well as Marty’s. “She was acutely aware of the miracle she was observing, but she couldn’t help remembering that one of the hatchling’s relatives had killed her mother and bitten off her father’s leg.” Also it says: “Grace waited happily for Laurel to get into her scrubs”, which shows Grace’s feelings at the moment.
Conflict: Grace is having an internal conflict with opening up the chest full of memories from her long lost mother, Rose Blackwood. She fears that the chest contains bad memories and that her mom may not have been who she thought she was. Afterall she was the daughter of Noah Blackwood - who her dad, Travis Wolfe says, is an evil man who wants him to die. She eventually overcomes the fear and opens the chest. Grace does not know what to think of her grandpa, whether he is evil or if he is actually a gentle person even though he tried to have Marty and Laurel killed. So an external conflict (character vs. character) is when Butch has Laurel at gunpoint and is threatening to shoot her if Grace does not get on the helicopter with Noah Blackwood. So Grace decides to go with Blackwood to save Laurel. Another conflict (character vs. character) is when Theo starts a bunch of rage from the passengers when he cooks poisoned food and they eat it. Marty is upset because he is a really good cook but did not get kitchen duty. He is later assigned to kitchen duty and the problem is solved. But then Theo turned out to be Ted Bronson and he was testing Marty by cooking bad food and seeing if Marty could fix the problem.
Mood: The mood in chapter 1 is excited because Marty’s friend Luther came to Cryptos Island and Marty was so excited and happy to see him again. “In fact he was so excited to see Luther he didn’t even notice the other, rather odd-looking passenger who had flown in with his gangly, fluorescent-carrot-headed classmate.” In chapter 9 the mood is disgusted because Theo was trying to kick Marty out of the galley and Marty was disgusted at how Theo was acting. ‘He glared at Marty and shouted, “What are you doing in here? Serving staff and cooks only!” He pointed an index finger at the doors. “Get out!”’ “The man scowled, hopped off his perch, and strode over to Marty like he was going to hit him, but Marty held his ground. He had to bake a cake for Grace, and he wasn’t about to get booted out.” “Marty laughed. There wasn’t anything Bertha couldn’t do - including kill the little man standing in front of him with nothing more than her index finger.” In chapter 44 the mood is surprised because Pepper is startled by the Orb, followed by the giant squid and finally the sperm whale. “Ted brought the Orb into the Moon Pool so fast it went airborne. Pepper, who was putting his gear into his satchel, was so startled when he saw it that he nearly wet himself. The gold ball was followed into the pool by something huge and red. A second later, something hit the ship so hard Pepper was thrown to the ground.”
Tone: “A chimpanzee ambled down the wooden dock.” Ambled implies a relaxed mood to that part of the story. Another word choice example is the haunted ship called the Coelacanth. The ship could have been named after anything but Travis Wolfe named it after the Coelacanth fish which is a cryptid because it lived with the dinosaurs and was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in South Africa in 1938. The author chose to name the ship the Coelacanth because of Wolfe’s obsession with cryptids. “He sprinted up the gangplank with Bo right behind him, having completely forgotten her fear of ships.” Sprinted suggests a fast pace mood which is also implied by the fact that they are in a four wheeler chase and then Luther got out and ran or in this case “sprinted”. “He started up the gangplank with dread.” This implies that Marty was scared of the ship because he was one of the only people who knew its history. This also implies a scared mood. “Luther was not overly attached to his fluorescent orange hair, but he was not about to have it detached by a deranged chimpanzee.” Deranged implies a crazy mood to that part of the story.