Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dormia by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

Alfonso has never really fit in at his hometown of World's End, Minnesota.  While other kids are nestled in bed, sleeping soundly, Alfonso is asleep, but, well...he sleep-walks.  He could walk a tight-rope in his sleep, or climb the tallest tree in hundreds of miles, or fix a broken clock.  Or randomly put together a complicated concoction to grow a plant that has color changing leaves.  He's done all of these things, including the last one.  And that seems to be the problem.  A big problem.  Alfonso learns from his long-lost uncle how important this little plant is - it's a rare Dormian Bloom - and Alfonso is to take it to the hidden land of Dormia to save the last standing city.  Can he do it in time, or will traitors and wicked men stand in his way?

My thoughts -
This is one of those books that I can totally see being a great action film.  While I was reading it, I got all these crazy cool ideas of how it could be filmed or who could be in it and the like.  It was really cool.  Definitely a movie I'd like to see.

I didn't really think I'd like the book when I started it (I was coming out of a 4-5 day reading funk) and I had a hard time easing into it.  The writing wasn't (and isn't) the best, but it's clear and gets across a nice picture.  The story was good enough and already packed with interesting stuff and some action in the twenty pages, but I was skeptical.  I almost gave up.  I don't know why, because I was enjoying it at that time.

In any case...I'm happy I pushed through.  And while it's not a great book, it was definitely good.

Character notes -
The first thing that struck me about Alfonso was how cautious he is about everything.  A bit afraid at first, but he grows and becomes wise.  I didn't totally get where or how this change happened, but I wasn't confused. I just...knew.  Alfonso isn't the most consistent MC (none of the characters really were consistent), but he was likable all the same.

The characters are constantly caught in a game of deception in which no one knows who's good or who's bad.  I guessed wrong.  I couldn't believe it.  Neither will you.  That was probably the best twist in the whole story.

General Loxoc of Somnos and Spack of Barish-yin-Binder stand out to me as the strongest, most consistent characters.  And Spack made me laugh - SO. HARD.

Story notes -
This story takes you from the US, to Canada, across the Atlantic Ocean, into the depths of an iceberg, to the worst city Russia, and up into the Urals.  It was a fascinating journey, to say the least, with tons of action, deadlines, company, and clear descriptions.  Sometimes I couldn't believe what was happened or what I was seeing.  Intense, fun, or hilarious, it was all good.

What more can I say?  This was some good story-telling, with some major twists and unsurities that will have you guessing until the end.  And the Strazsydlo Forest - Spooky!  I'm telling you!  Spooooooky!  I read part of this part at night and had to slam the book shut and quietly force my breathing back to normal...

Summing it up -
D. J. MacHale said it best - “It’s an imaginative quest through strange and exotic lands with an assortment of quirky, fun characters. Just when you think you know where it’s going, it goes somewhere else.”  So I guess my one word would have to be quirky.  Everything was unique and kept me interested even when I wanted to put it down.  It's a great read for ages 10+, and while it's not a timeless classic that all adults will love, I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy reading about Alfonso and his journey with the Dormian Bloom!

For the parents -
Nothing!  Ages 10+

Read my other reviews!

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