Parodic and sincere, slapstick and heart-tugging by turns, Moers's novel has fresh things to say on the nature of heroism and nobility. As if Tom Robbins had been inspired to rewrite Tolkien, Moers manages to imbue classic sword-and-sorcery motifs with his off-kilter worldview.
The Washington Post
Set in the land of Zamonia, this exuberant, highly original fantasy from German writer and cartoonist Moers (The 13U Lives of Captain Bluebear) features an unlikely hero, Rumo, a little horned puppy (or Wolperting) who lives on a farm with a family of seven dwarfs. Rumo's rise to greatness begins when he's kidnapped by a Demonocle, "a vicious type of one-eyed giant," who takes him to Roaming Rock, a floating island. There Rumo befriends Volzotan Smyke, a Shark Grub, who can live on land or in water but "thought it wiser to convey the impression he was a sea creature pure and simple." Innumerable picaresque adventures follow, one of the funniest involving gambling and the hazards of winning. Illustrated with the author's appealing line drawings and full of sly humor, this rambunctious novel will appeal to fans tired of the usual epic fantasy, though they should be prepared for some violence in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Apparently there is no exhausting the imagination of Moers when it comes to the continent of Zamonia, first encountered in The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear (Overlook, 2005/VOYA December 2005). This lengthy tome is a boisterous, zany epic about Rumo, a Wolperting (a horned, dog-like creature), whom readers meet as a puppy doted upon by Hackonian dwarf farmers. He sees/smells a silver thread, which he senses will lead him to absolute happiness. But first he must defeat villains who challenge his skills in one hopeless situation after another, as he travels through Overworld and the dark subterranean Netherworld, and finally emerges as Zamonia's greatest hero. Puppy Rumo is seized by one-eyed Demonocles and brought to Roaming Rock, where they fatten their prey before eating it live. There Rumo meets Volzotan Smyke, a huge shark grub, who teaches him Zamonian mythology, gives him his name (in a game, playing the Rumo card risks everything but has a huge payoff), and helps him to escape. When the two separate, Rumo discovers the city of Wolperting, where he meets others of his kind, learns to fight, and falls in love with Rala. When the other Wolpertings are taken off to Netherworld as prisoners, Rumo and his talking sword Dandelion follow them into this dangerous region to save them from Dr. Ticktock and the Copper Killers. The prose and silliness flow perfectly; the pen-and-ink drawings are charming (especially the Wolpertings); and the typographical oddities (e.g., some characters' speeches are in different fonts) are fun and not over-used. It is a wonderful, rollicking tale for advanced readers because of high readability and sophisticated vocabulary.
Just as charming and relentlessly whimsical as Moers's previous novel of Zamonia, The 13 Lives of Captain Bluebear, his new book follows the miraculous adventures of Rumo, a Wolperting (a sort of half-dog, half-deer), as he discovers himself and finds true love. Readers may wonder what else there could possibly be to say about Zamonia, since it was so exhaustively cataloged in the first book, but they will discover many more strange lands and creatures, each with its own lengthy story to tell. Though the novel is nearly as digressive as Captain Bluebear, it's actually more engaging, with a main plot arc that hooks readers in spite of the many (pleasant) distractions along the way. Moers's amusing illustrations-111 black-and-white images in total-and an excellent translation by Brownjohn add up to a rousing fairy tale for adults that will please fans of Captain Bluebear as well as newcomers to Zamonia. Recommended for larger fantasy collections or where Moers is popular.-Jenne Bergstrom, San Diego Cty. Lib. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
An overstuffed confection that threatens to collapse under its own heft. Cross Lord of the Rings with Yellow Submarine, throw in dashes of Monty Python, Douglas Adams, Shrek and The Princess Bride, season with more serious fare such as The Tin Drum and The Odyssey. That's the sort of alchemy in which this sprawling novel by German writer/artist Moers (The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, not reviewed) trades, and part of the pleasure of reading it is to see what echoes will next bounce off its crags. Adults may be a touch embarrassed to be seen with a book about a little "Wolperting" who "would one day become Zamonia's most illustrious hero," a critter who grows up in the farmyard of (seven, naturally) Hackonian dwarves but somehow, magically, sheds his animal qualities and learns to wield a sword most impressively. Rumo's skills come in handy as he goes off into the wide world of men and Demonocles ("If asked what fate he hoped to avoid at all costs, the average Zamonian tended to reply: Being captured by the Demonocles"), when the book becomes a touch more mature. Along the way, he falls in with a pretty girl Wolperting and encounters enemies, such as the unspeakably evil General Ticktock (think Ian McKellen in a very bad mood), to say nothing of a madcap king who, in one of Moers's wonderful line drawings, resembles Klaus Kinski's Nosferatu. The General has big plans, and he employs very bad assistants such as "Tykhon Zyphos's Subcutaneous Suicide Squad," micro-ninjas who conjure up images of Fantastic Voyage, sans Raquel Welch. These are nothing, though, compared to the Smarmies, critical creatures who go about wounding writers' literary self-esteem . . . Read it as allegory. Read itas a fairy tale. Whatever, it's amusing-but still too long by half.