Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books

by Walter Moers

I truly believe that German author Walter Moers is one of the most creative literary minds writing today. Rumo and The 13½ Lives of Captain Blue Bear were both good books, but then he really got going and solidified em as a fan of his writing with The Alchamaster's Apprentice and The City of Dreaming Books, which were both fantastic. So I was very surprised and not a little bit disappointed with The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books. It's a direct sequel to The City of Dreaming Books but it's definitely not its equal.

In The City of Dreaming Books Optimus Yarspinner, the narrator, tells of his journey to Bookholm, the legendary City of Dreaming Books and his quest to track down the anonymous author of the greatest piece of literature in all of Zamonia. On his journey he met a host of creative characters and was eventually lured into and abandoned in the fantastic and dangerous tunnels below the city. He's ultimately able to escape, but not until his climactic encounter with the King of Shadows.

The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books begins 200 years later. Optimus is on vacation in Lindworm Castle when he receives a mysterious note. A note that leads him to believe the King of Shadows has returned and compels him to return to Bookholm. Unfortunately the majority of the book that proceeds from that point is a review of the events of the last book, as Optimus once again crosses paths with many of the the same characters he met on his first journey and retells his story. When I read a sequel, I want a new and hopefully equally engaging storyline featuring the characters I already know and care about. Not a character reminiscing about the story I've already been told.

The book does end on a high note though, promising more to come. Hopefully the next story, which Moers spent a whole book setting the stage for will be worth the wait. I'm optimistic and hope he delivers.

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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