Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mysterious Max

Down the Mysterly River by author Bill Willingham and Illustrator Mark Buckingham

* ARC I read provided by Tor|Forge Books
* Book will be released on September 13, 2011

A heck of a read, this gets a definite 4 gnomes out of 5 gnomes for feeling like a modern day fairy tale and making you think twice about how characters in stories are treated.  This book reads like a mix of Alice in Wonderland and The Wind in the Willows but with a lot more killing and life lessons learned the hard way.

Max the Wolf is a Boy Scout who has the nickname wolf.  This leads to a misunderstanding of sorts.  Max is well known for solving mysteries and generally being able to figure things out for himself.  Max wakes up remembering nothing about how he got where he is now.  Not knowing where he is really throws him and then he meets a talking badger.  At first, like any sensible person would, he thinks he’s dreaming.  

At first I thought it was going to be more of a happy-go-lucky kind of book.  Then the boy and the badger get attacked by dogs and a man with a wicked looking blue sword.  This unexpected attack adds more tension and mystery to the story.  Especially since the people of this world seem to know about Max and yet he knows nothing about them.

This of course leads to more questions, and Max isn’t the kind of boy that sits idly by.  He tries to understand the world and survive no matter what.  He takes meeting talking animals pretty much in stride after that.  He slowly meets more animals who like him, aren’t exactly sure how they got into the world they’re now in.  His next two companions he meets are McTavish the monster who is a monstrous looking cat who isn’t afraid of taking on anyone and Walden the bear who used to be a sheriff.  They are all on the run from the blue cutters aka the bad guys with the blue swords.

It’s nice getting to see the point of view of the bad guys and the good guys.  The bad guys are deluded and are a hundred percent sure that what they’re doing is right.  What they are doing is horribly creepy.  They cut people/animals with their swords and change everything about them all in order to suit whatever they think would make the creature or person better.  

The group slowly learns more about the world and meets some really strange people along the way.  There’s lots of excitement and plenty of mysteries to solve.  I like that the mysteries of this world are not easily solved.  

No answers are easily achieved and the final mystery when solved by Max leads to even more questions about the future.  

The ending of the book is exciting and makes you think that these characters have the potential to keep going on to new adventures.  If you're looking for a book that will keep you thinking long after you finish reading, then this book is the book for you.

My Favorite Quotes/Lines“Maybe Kerris will make me a cook, or let me work in the kennels, or even make a librarian out of me.  There would be some dignity in that at least.”

“It’s only those who prefer to wrap up in a warm bear pelt without the bear attached that I find fault with.”

“You think better after you poop?” McTavish said.  “Me too!  Maybe I could be a detective.”

“If he’s a hero, then I’m the long-lost son of an improbable union between a flounder and a mountain goat.”

“What did I say that was so bad?”  McTavish asked.  “I’m just trying to contribute to the discussion.  You all said something, so I thought it was my turn to speak.  This busi-ness of having friends is still new to me, but isn’t that what friends do in a friendly conversation?  We each take turns saying stuff, right?  So I said stuff.”

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