Hola Readers! Who's ready for another rambling? I am YAY! Today let's ramble about...The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers. It is part of his Zamonia series but can be read as a stand alone like I did. I think this one was recommended to me by my baby sis...which is always a good thing. Let me tell you people this book hit all my literary emotions. It was not at all what I expected in a very very very good way. What the heck do I mean? I'll tell you, but first, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Story - The story was whole and complete. It had a beginning, middle and end. It was in some ways your typical adventure story, but more along the lines of an epic saga like Beowulf with many small adventures, meetings and incidents adding to the whole adventure. The story had a fairly classic structure with a lot of original ideas, giving the reader the comfort of structure and the thrill of discovery, very cool story.
Character - Variety is the word I think best describes the characters in this book. In this book we see so many species (Lindworms, Booklings, Uggly's, Spinxxx and so many many many more), characters from different backgrounds, classes, shapes, sizes, needs, modes. Again you would think that this would detract from actual character development, but I found that the characters that mattered where very fully formed and all the other characters added some delicious flavor. Yay characters.
Editing - I'm shocked at how well this book is edited. Again (are we getting sick of me saying this yet?) it is just stuffed full of so many things that it should feel cluttered or choppy or overly long...but...it doesn't. I found myself reading every single word, trying to absorb as much of the literary goodness that I could. It was a page turner and I had very few complaints about the pacing. Not sure how this happened, if the author is just that amazing, or his relationship with his editor is that good or some combination, but epic editing.
Book Lovers Dream - This book was written for lovers of the written word. The language, the setting, the story, everything about it seems tailored to bibliophiles. I seriously want to go wander into one of the bookshops and get me a stack of books, curl up in a cafe with a cup of Midnight Oil Espresso and a Book pastry and read my brains out. The amount of literariness that has been poured into the book makes me feel like the author loves books and all things literary as much as I do. It is finally a book about books that doesn't drive me nuts. It is not just about reading books either, it is about how they are written, how they are published, the materials, the variety and the idea that there are types of books we can only imagine out there somewhere if we can just look hard enough.
Wordplay - If forced to choose a favorite component about this book, I would say it is the language. The author uses a MASSIVE variety of words....and if there was no human word that was sufficient, he made one up and attributed it to one of his zillions of non human races. On top of that the author would constantly list numerous books and their authors...I kept waiting for this to get annoying...but somehow it worked perfectly with the story. To make it even better, he cleverly disguised some famous authors by anagraming their names. For example: Selwi Rollcar = Lewis Carroll, Aliesha Wimperslake = William Shakespeare, so very cool. I love words, and when an author uses them correctly it just makes my little literary heart go pitter patter.
Not What I Thought - So to be honest I wasn't 100% sure what I was getting into when I started this book. From the description and the titles of the authors other books in the series I thought it might be a kids book. Then the illustrations and mostly almost silly animalistic characteristics of most of the characters led to me thinking it might be a light hearted tale....Nope. This is definitely a book for at the very least older kids. There is violence (so much violence), betrayal, complex ideas...not a book for 7 year old. It was great though and the juxtaposition (sorry this book makes me pull out my big girl words) of the simple illustrations, the fun characters and the adult writing were very original and a great read.
Overall Impression - Ok, so I don't think I have been able to impart even a tenth of what I want to about this book. In the end all I can say is that it is an experience, and one I think anybody who loves books should have. I give this book 9 out of 10 Animatomes and really encourage every book reader to pick it up....even if it's just to figure out what the heck I'm talking about. Happy Reading Everybody!!!