Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt – Book Review

I read Remarkably Bright Creatures over the long Easter weekend and it was the perfect heart-warming book to keep me company over sunny, laid-back afternoons. I’ve included two versions of its cover here (US on the left, UK on the right) as I originally saw the one on the right featuring a Swedish Dala Horse and decided to read it based on that. (Yes, I DID judge this book by its cover.) My gran has these horses in her house, so they remind me of her.

This turned out to be a fitting link as the lead character in Remarkably Bright Creatures, Tova is a charming older lady in her 70s. I then saw the cover on the left and loved it too as it so perfectly captures the story. Have you ever read a book with chapters narrated by an octopus?

Opening sentence: Darkness suits me.

Heart-warming narrators

Yes, one of our narrators is INDEED an octopus, a giant Pacific octopus called Marcellus to be precise. You’re either going to like this fact and get invested in this idea or not. I fully suggest going with it, as our octopus friend is wise, pithy and cuts to the chase much quicker than humans. His chapters are a delight.

Secrets are everywhere. Some humans are crammed full of them.

Tova Sullivan lives in Sowell Bay, Washington. The type of place where everyone knows everyone and you can never shed your past, no matter how tragic it is. And Tova does sadly have pain in her past. She is a cleaner at the local aquarium, which is where she strikes up her unlikely friendship with Marcellus.

Meanwhile, Cameron is turning 30, a little lost in life and on a hunt to find his father which takes him to… Sowell Bay. His path crosses with Tova’s and we discover more about both of them.

We all need feel-good reads

What I really enjoyed was how Remarkably Bright Creatures blended a cosy main story with pockets of heartbreak and despair to give it real depth.

She understands what it means to never be able to stop moving, lest you find yourself unable to breathe.

Plus, I mean, Marcellus the octopus, loved him! My heart was just bursting by the end, such an enjoyable and charming read that tapped into the nuances of human nature in a way that had you rooting for all the characters.

If you know of any other books with non-human narrators, let me know below!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

7 thoughts

  1. If you like non-human narrators, check out Hollow Kingdom and its sequel by Kira Jane Buxton. I loved the narration by the main character, ST, who happens to be a crow. All of the other POVs are also animals.

    Liked by 2 people

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