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review 2016-09-25 05:53
So conflicted
The City of Dreaming Books - Walter Moers,John Brownjohn

I had a true love/hate experience reading this book. Full disclosure, I have not read the other books in this series, and I probably won't. I read this for a book club with the understanding that the book could stand alone, and I suppose it did.

 

There were numerous times I almost quit. The first of them was when I realized the main character was an anthropomorphic dinosaur. I read fantasy; I love dragons and elves and wizards, but a dinosaur crossed a weirdness threshold for me. Still, I found some of the concepts within it clever enough to keep going.

 

I hit a wall with a great deal of exposition. The infodumping is strong in this book. I hate infordumping. I would start to find myself interested and motivated to read. Something entertaining or curious would be happening. Some piece of action or foreshadowing would grab my attention. And then, inevitably, more infodumping. Every time it happened, I almost quit.

 

The story in between all the exposition was good, though. It was very clever, and very different. I loved the booklings, and the catacombs. I loved the story about the Shadow King, and I loved the ending. I even teared up a little over it.

 

Ultimately I can't decide if I loved this book or hated it. I guess it was a little bit of both. 

 

That said, I will not be reading anything else by this author. His style is not for me.

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review 2015-01-21 04:13
Book Review - The Selecction Series (No Spoilers)
The Selection - Kiera Cass
The Elite - Kiera Cass
The One - Kiera Cass

So...

 

Let's talk about books.

 

Fue una lectura rápida, al menos para mí. Me tomó dos días por cada libro, algo que es bueno. Quise tomarme mi tiempo porque habia escuchado muy buenos comentarios acerca de este libro. Muy a parte queria leer algo de princesas puesto que no lo hago desde los ¿5 años?

 

Daré mi opinión en general de los tres libros junto con el puntajé que le di en Goodreads.

 

 

La Selección 

 

Sinopsis solo del primer libro

 

Para treinta y cinco chicas, La Selección es una oportunidad que solo se presenta una vez en la vida. La oportunidad de escapar de la vida que les ha tocado por nacer en una determinada familia. La oportunidad de que las trasladen a un mundo de trajes preciosos y joyas que no tienen precio. La oportunidad de vivir en un palacio y de competir por el corazón del guapísimo príncipe Maxon. Sin embargo, para America Singer, ser seleccionada es una pesadilla porque significa alejarse de su amor secreto, Aspen, quien pertenece a una casta inferior a la de ella; y también abandonar su hogar para pelear por una corona que no desea y vivir en un palacio que está bajo la constante amenaza de ataques violentos por parte de los rebeldes. 

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review 2014-08-22 17:52
The City of Dreaming Books - Walter Moers,John Brownjohn

The moment I opened this book (and yes I know I say this a lot) I knew that I would love this book from the first page.

My dear readers, did you, like me, never want this book to end? I wanted it to be longer. I savored it, took my time...but at the same time, I was reading pages whenever I had the chance. Literally in the bathroom, during dinner--I'd read into the night until my eyes got sore and even then, the book nagged at me from my bedside tables in my dreams. "Read me, read me!" it cried until I would give in, light a candle and become a night owl once more.

You may ask, what would compel me to do such a thing? Let me fangasm for a moment, if you please. *OMGZZZ THIS BOOK IS SO AWESOME LIKE YEAHHHH I JUST WANT TO LIVE IN IT FOREVER AND EVER AND EVERRRR!" Ok. Now that that's out of my system, let me give my explanation as to why this kooky book is so very wonderful.

Moers writing is so detailed and creative that he invokes emotions, senses. When Optimus Yarnspinner entered Bookholm for the first time, I was in awe. I could smell, at least in my imagination, a place I've only dreamed of: a place dedicated to BOOKS. I smelt leather and paper and ink...As a bibliophile, you can imagine how happy this made me--this book was written for people like me in my mind. I've always loved books about books, but this takes everything and blows it out of the water. Even Inkheart.
A part of me ached because Bookholm doesn't and will never exist, except on a page, and another part was telling myself that I could visit this book time and time again and be enraptured.

This is how I imagine I'd react in Bookholm:

I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get across my feelings about this book. I love all the small details and the world building, all the quirky anagrams which were fun to figure out in my head, and the interesting Zamonian book titles, the creatures and the food. I felt like I was in the tavern with Optimus, wincing as he accidentally got a bad sting from Beebread. {watch out for that by the way!} The Poets Ringlet sounds most delicious to me or the book shaped pastry with apple filling and pistachios. I loved all the footnotes and the backstories of Zamonian history, or even Optimus's little asides about a memory and such. I think one of my favorite parts was when I read about Regenschein and his adventures in the catacombs. I swear that in reading that passage, I could hear The Shadow Kings rustling papers behind me, his ink breath on the back of my neck. Another part I enjoyed was towards the end, about the history behind Zamonian horror literature. (pgs. 318-322 in my edition) There are so many passages that I want to memorize, just for the sheer delight. There were so many that felt special to me, but especially this one on pg. 81 of my edition: "Books, books, books, books. Old books, new books, expensive books, cheap books, books in shop windows or bookcases, in sacks or on handcarts, in random heaps or neatly arrayed behind glass. Books in precarious tottering piles, book parcelled up with string ("Try your luck --- buy your surprise package!), books displayed on marble pillars or locked away behind grilles in dark wooden cabinets ('Signed first editions--don't touch!). Books bound in leather and linen, hide or silk, books with clasps of copper or iron, silver or gold--even in one or two shop windows, books studded all over with diamonds." My bibliophilic brain went dizzy with the images I conjured up in my owlie head.

The illustrations make the book come even more alive and the writing is wonderful, have I mentioned that? There was never a point where I wanted to stop or I felt it slowed down, I felt as if every word was placed perfectly in the story--beautiful sentences complimented each other in wit and vivid imagery. and god help anyone who interrupted me. I was irritated whenever my stomach growled or I had to use the bathroom. I wanted to yell at my body and say "Can't you see I'm trying to read!?"

This is a fun charming and gorgeous read for bookish adults who still dream of mountains of old books in a far off fantasy land. I was obsessed with this book to the point where I would be at the edge of armchair, going through a range of emotions just as how most people did reading the manuscript given to Optimus. I giggled with sheer happiness at all the passages describing ancient book lore and the shops, and the stories of the catacombs--I laughed at a lot of things--I bit my lip and nail in fear for Optimus's safety, and shed a tear when it was done, considering picking it up again because I felt as if I had just lost something. I can't say exactly what, but I knew I'd miss the whimsy and the adventure. I had an Oz moment and I wanted to turn to the Booklings and say: "I'll miss you most of all!" The ending with the Booklings made me tear up a little, I must say.

Even though I'll miss this book and I certainly never wanted to stop and start other books, I'm glad I have finished such a wonderful story. Many other stories are waiting on my shelves for me, so this one will be put up in a place all its own and rest for a good while--but I know like a good old friend, it will always be there to welcome me back into its pages.

PS--Beware of Hazardous Books and Animatomes! (or the hybrids)

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text 2014-07-13 14:24
#BookADayUK - Day 13: Best title for a novel
The City of Dreaming Books - Walter Moers,John Brownjohn

That's an easy one: It has to be The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers! How could a title for a novel be more perfect? And I so want to live in Bookholm!

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review 2014-04-24 12:38
The City of Dreaming Books - Walter Moers
The City of Dreaming Books - Walter Moers,John Brownjohn

From the blurb:

Walter Moers transports us to a magical world where reading is still a genuine adventure, where books can not only entertain people but also drive them insane or kill them.

How could anyone resist that? The City of Dreaming Books is a tale about Optimus Yarnspinner, a budding writer of Lindworm Castle who finds his way into the labyrinths beneath Bookholm, a city dedicated to books and reading whose catacombs are populated by heavily-armed Bookhunters, mysterious and possibly deadly Booklings, and the enigmatic Shadow King. It's a book filled with books, a world in which books are a reason to live and die, a quest for inspiration.

 

As is often the case with novels that sound like the one thing you've ever wanted to read, The City of Dreaming Books fails to live up to expectation somewhat. Well, with a blurb like that, it would be extraordinary if it didn't. It's a fun read, something like a cross between Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and the Edge Chronicles (complete with wacky line drawings), and it's certainly imaginative in its creation of all the bookish horrors of Bookholm's labyrinths, but it never becomes more than that. Yarnspinner's quest as a writer never seems particularly convincing, and nor does his general characterisation: I couldn't tell you anything about what he is like as a person, or what he would say to you in the street. And he has virtually no meaningful interactions with any other character.

 

That's not to mention the blatant deus ex machinae (two of them) that bring about the denouement of the novel, nor the train of unlikely coincidences that dog Yarnspinner's footsteps throughout. By far my favourite part was the beginning: the descriptions of the bookish city were delightfully fascinating, and I think Bookholm may well be one of my favourite fictional cities. It was also kind of fun deciphering the various anagrams of authors' names - Aleisha Wimpersleake = William Shakespeare, etc.

 

The City of Dreaming Books is probably best read for atmosphere and inventiveness rather than deep characterisation and narrative satisfaction. A light, fun read, but nothing more.

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