Book Review: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

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Book Title: Remarkably Bright Creatures

Number of Pages:  362

Audiobook Narrated by:  Marin Ireland and Michael Urie

Listening Length: 11 hours and 06 minutes

Published in: 2022


Remarkably Bright Creatures : Quick Summary 

Remarkably Bright Creatures follows a widow, Tova Sullivan. Tova is trying to find solace in her job at the Sowell Bay Aquarium after her husband’s death and son’s disappearance over thirty years ago. 

Amidst the routine of mopping floors, she crosses paths with Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus at the aquarium.

Surprisingly, Tova and Marcellus strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite Marcellus being a bit of a recluse in his watery home, he becomes Tova’s confidant. 

But it seems that Marcellus is trying to figure out what happened to Tova’s son all those years ago. 

Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel beautifully explores themes of friendship, dealing with the past, and finding hope in unexpected places.


Remarkably Bright Creatures  Book Review

My Views on Theme and Plot

Remarkably Bright Creatures has a truly great setting. It really reminded me of the movie Finding Dory. The themes of loss, grief, and family were genuinely heartwarming. I absolutely loved the fact that the main characters were entirely different.

One of the protagonists, Cameron, trying to find a place in the world was really  interesting and easy to connect with. I like that the author chose an octopus as the main character; it really made the story unique.

Another interesting aspect of the book was the small town and close-knit community.

Remarkably Bright Creatures Characters

Tova is a kind lady who doesn’t want to depend on others. She’s strong and independent. Her love for her late son and husband makes her character very emotional.

Cameron is a likable character, but sometimes he did things that annoyed me.

And I felt like he wasn’t trying his best to get things done and find a better future.

Marcellus, the octopus is my favorite. He’s grumpy and doesn’t like humans. I absolutely loved his observations about humans. Seeing an octopus as a sleuth was really fascinating. 


 Remarkably Bright Creatures was a good book, but I felt like there wasn’t anything new, except for the main character, Octopus.

The themes of lonely elderly and troubled youngsters weren’t something unique. I had expected a lot more in the story. Because there weren’t many characters or various plots, I could easily guess the ending.


Remarkably Bright Creatures is a happy book. Although it wasn’t exactly a mystery book with an unpredictable plot, i enjoyed the heartwarming moments. If you are looking for an uplifting, feel good story this is a good one.  

The Creative Muggle Rating : 3/5 stars


My Favorite Quotes from Remarkably Bright Creatures

Humans. For the most part, you are dull and blundering. But occasionally, you can be remarkably bright creatures.

I loved this  quote. It’s funny to see how Marcellus observations about humans are really fascinating. It feels like he is mocking them but somewhere appreciating the talents. 

Secrets are everywhere. Some humans are crammed full of them. How do they not explode? It seems to be a hallmark of the human species: abysmal communication skills.”

This is absolutely true. We are crammed with secrets but almost find a way to hide it or avoid communicating to each other entirely. 

Day 1,361 of My Captiv- Oh, Let Us Cut the Shit, Shall We? We Have a Ring to Retrieve.

This was really humorous. If you have really listened to the Remarkable Bright Creature audiobook, it was a really funny moment. Marcleus has put on the hat of a detective so no time to discuss his  captive days. 

What to Read After Remarkably Bright Creatures

If you are looking for books like Remarkably Bright Creatures featuring animal protagonists here are some great book recommendations.

About the Author Shelby Van Pelt

Remarkably Bright Creatures is Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in  Chicago. 

Related post:

26 Remarkably Bright Creatures Book Club Questions and Snack Ideas

Stephy George
Stephy George

Hi I am Stephy ! I became a bookworm in my late twenties. So I created this little corner of books online to share my love of reading with YOU! I want to help you find the best books to read so you won’t ever have to worry about your next read!

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