Thursday, October 10, 2013

"I was sad when I reached that last page and the great saga of Rumo the Wolperting's silver thread was over. It felt like a chapter of my own life had ended in some way as well." ~ Lucas

Set in the land of Zamonia, this exuberant, highly original fantasy from Walter Moers features an unlikely hero. Rumo is a little Wolperting - a domesticated creature somewhere between a deer and a dog - who will one day become the greatest hero in the history of Zamonia. Armed with Dandelion, his talking sword, he fights his way through the Overworld and the Netherworld. He meets Rala, a beautiful Wolperting female; Urs of the Snows, who thinks more of cooking than of fighting; Gornab the Ninety-Ninth, the demented king of Netherworld; Professor Ostafan Kolibri, who goes in search of the Non-Existent Teenies; Professor Abdullah Nightingale, inventor of the Chest-of-Drawers Oracle; and, worst luck, the deadly Metal Maiden.

Astonishingly inventive, amusing, and engrossing, Rumo is a captivating story from the unique imagination of Walter Moers. Illustrated with the author's own line drawings and filled with humor, this rambunctious novel will delight fans tired of the usual epic fantasy. The comparisons are many - Douglas Adams, Lewis Carrol, J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, R. Crumb - but Moers is clearly an original. Long live Zamonia!

Lucas says:
"I first encountered this author when I read The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear (another excellent read). This author's style of fantasy writing and anthropomorphism instantly caught my attention because it was so fanciful and out there and different than any other fantasy I've read. Rumo... maintains the quality and style of writing that Captain Bluebear has, but it does so in a much more epic way. The story is told in the tradition of the great northern European sagas.

In Rumo... the reader follows a young Wolperting (a dog like creature) named Rumo from his puppyhood to the end of his silver thread (an almost sixth sense that guides the direction of a Wolperting's life). Along the path of the sliver thread Rumo is captured by demons, receives an education, engages in dangerous gambling, falls in love, masters woodcarving and the art of battle, and he even goes to Hel (the underground kingdom) to save his true love from the clutches of death. The path of Rumo's silver thread is rich with great battles, riddles, and memorable and outlandish characters.

It is tempting to assume that this book is appropriate for young readers/young adults because it is fantasy about anthropomorphized animals. While it's probably okay for the young adult reader (considering the content of the dystopian young adult genre), it is not okay for young readers. The battle scenes in this novel are gruesome, the love story aspect of this book is presented in a way that only an experienced adult could understand, and the philosophical exploration of the concept of death would be beyond the understanding of any young reader.

At 684 pages, this book is the perfect read to take along on a trip—or for the person looking for an escape from their everyday reality. It did take me a long time to read, but I enjoyed every minute of it, and I was sad when I reached that last page and the great saga of Rumo the Wolperting's silver thread was over. It felt like a chapter of my own life had ended in some way as well. I think that is the power of Moers' writing , the fact that he can take these outlandish animal characters and make the reader care about their lives and problems the way he/she would care about the problems of his/her own family and friends."

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