Mar 18, 2013

The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books, by Walter Moers

I love love love Walter Moers, a little-known German author who writes fabulously original fantasy. But this book, the sequel to the incredible "The City of Dreaming Books," is a bit of a snooze fest. It starts out well, and the reader soon expects to be taken down into the exciting and terrifying maze of Unholm, where giant albino insects and living books roam. This never happens. Instead, we get what is essentially a very detailed travelogue. And as with most travelogues, it's, well, a little boring. There is very little action or plot, since most of the 400 pages are taken up with extremely detailed description. It's rather like being shown a long slideshow of your friend's vacation: you're friends so you don't complain, but the pictures get old after a while and you start to wonder when it will be time for dinner. There will be a third book, and I will definitely read it since the second one ends with our hero, Yarnspinner, stepping foot once again into the labyrinth, but I can't help thinking that this second book was rather unnecessary. The set-up for the return to Unholm could have been done in 50 pages, 100 at most, and I worry that this boring book will deter people from reading Moers' other novels.

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