This book was given to me in audio book form with a high recommendation, and though I have been trying to avoid YA novels I don’t often refuse a recommendation without trying it first. I will admit that I was reluctant to give the story any of my time, but when you work at a desk looking at a computer screen all day there is plenty of time to listen to books. What did I have to lose?
Only on a rare occasion will anyone lose anything by reading a book; there is almost always something to be gained. There are some exceptions where the writing and content are nothing more than pointless drivel designed only to create more fluff between the ears, but I digress. To cut to the chase: this was not one of these books. I found it to be an original take on fantasy with characters that were both diverse and had significant depth. There was also, I might add, a bit of a mystery involved with this book.
After the murder of his mentor, John and his new acquaintances, Jack and Charles, are visited by a strange man with peculiar information; John is the new caretaker for the Imaginarium Geographica, an atlas of all the isles of a magical world. With this responsibility comes great danger as John and his friends become pursued by the Winter King and his forces who seek to obtain the atlas by whatever means necessary. In order to escape, and ultimately stop the Winter King, they must travel to the magical world where they find that fairy tales and fantasy are much more real than they had previously thought.
The mystery that I hinted at above is figuring out the identities of several characters throughout the book. Hints are left here and there throughout the story that will help disclose the real names of these well-known literary figures. One reference that is a near give-away is when the caretakers are spoken to as “the sons of Adam.” Three guesses as to who it’s referring to.
One of my purposes in reading so frequently and so diversely is to get new ideas for stories of my own. Though the writing quality is important, I have read a few books which are lacking in this area; however, the story itself is usually unique enough for this to be overlooked, and often they spark fresh ideas in my mind.
I found the use of so many different stories all bundled into one to be a fun twist. It is becoming more common practice to use ideas of other stories to create new ones. Fairy tale adaptations are a good example. My only problem was that these references were sometimes distracting from the main plot. It wasn’t significant but some subtler references could have been used.