Sunday, 2 September 2007

Book Review: The City of Dreaming Books (Walter Moers)

Continuing from my rather cyptic post HERE the other day on this book, I suppose it's only fair I follow up with a review on it, since I finished it last night... hehe.

So, here we go...

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Title: The City of Dreaming Books
Author: Optimus Yarnspinner (Translated from Zamonian by Walter Moers)

Synopsis:
Optimus Yarnspinner, a young saurian novelist from Lindworm Castle, embarks on a quest to track down the anonymous author of the most magnificent piece of writing in the whole of Zamonian literature. Traveling to Bookholm, the legendary City of Dreaming Books, the naïve Yarnspinner falls victim to Pfistomel Smyke, a maggotlike literary scholar who poisons Yarnspinner and abandons him in the treacherous catacombs miles below the city's surface. Stranded in an underworld steeped in terror-inducing myth and home to more than a few bizarre inhabitants, Yarnspinner undertakes a long and perilous journey back to the world above.


What I Liked:
  • If you love everything about books, you'll love this book.
  • I love the way he treats the simple subject of books and reading in such an imaginative way.
  • Animatomes! Hazardous Books!
  • Almost anything associated with books is imaginatively written about here
  • I had great fun decyphering the jumbled up anagrams of authors' names.
  • BOOKLINGS! I LOVED THE BOOKLINGS! I want a Bookling of my own...
  • I wanna live in Bookholm too...
  • As usual, it's wildly imaginative - almost as if anything goes in Zamonia.
  • Heck, it makes me proud to be an avid reader.

What I Didn't Like:
  • Too short!
  • Optimus Yarnspinner is a little annoying and stuffy
  • Somehow, I get a little annoyed with the way Moers' books end. Like... too abruptly. But then on the lfipside, there's its way better than the godawful ending of Deathly Hallows...

Summary:
Like I've mentioned before over and over again, if you love books, and if you love reading, then I'm sure you're gonna love this book. It's a book that almost every avid reader will be able to relate to.

It's funny, wildly imaginative, the characters are endearing (just love those Booklings), and almost anything and everything you can associate with books or reading is referenced or parodied here.

Heck, Bookholm is the kind of place I always dreamed of as a kid - rows and rows of books, all kinds of books, all going for cheap prices, and where everyone dealt with and talked about books. It's a book-lovers dream come true I tell you. (Writers also can get a lot out of this. Trust me.)

One of the most enjoyable part of the book is when it references real life authors (for instance, guess who this sentence is about: "Only Rasco Elwid could be so relentlessly cynical". Ha-ha!), and criticises certain aspects of the book industry. Consider this quote, for instance:

"In order to make money... we don't need flawless literary masterpieces. What we need is mediocre rubbish, trash suitable for mass consumption. More and more, bigger and bigger blockbusters of less and less significance."

Sounds a little true, doesn't it?

Anyway, back to the book. This is a book that will make you think about what you read, and make you love reading even more. It points out what we love about reading, and what we hate about reading. It might even inspire you to do a little bit of writign as well.

Oh, and don't worry if you've not read the previous two Zamonia books (The 13 and 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear & Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures) because this book pretty much stands alone, with only a few referenecs to what has happened or recurring characters in the previous books.

Yup, it's been a while since I've read a book that made me want to flip through my favorite parts and search for my favorite quotes immedietely after I'd finished it.

This book is not only fun to read, it makes you LOVE to read. So read it already.

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