12 year-old adventurer, the intriguingly named Timothy Other, escapes the Dreams and Hopes Orphanage and travels to the bizarre world of Marzipan Mountain, where he befriends some amazing creatures.
With the help of his friends, Timothy seeks to discover his true origins and returns to the Orphanage. He becomes embroiled in a matter of life and death and faces the evil forces that crave the secret of ‘Golden Life’.
He becomes embroiled in a matter of life and death and faces the evil forces that crave the secret of ‘Golden Life’.
Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.
From a captivating and really sweet beginning this story turns into one that is filled with adventure, puzzles and mysteries, and a lot of other elements that are a combination of magical, bizarre, and delightful.
The narrative is interesting, it is cryptic and elusive, with tiny tit bits dropped throughout that pique your interest. The tone is light and casual, conversational almost like that of a storyteller, but it soon settles into an almost regular narrative style while still maintaining its deliberate style. There are also multiple points of view which allow an understanding of all angles and character intentions, both good and bad, and Abel makes use of these nicely to propel the story along.
There is just enough character depth and explanations to make the situations believable and the events make sense. Timothy goes off on a spontaneous adventure and is quite accepting of the strange and bizarre things that follow, but there are brief explanations that justify what happens which doesn’t make it too farfetched, and the mindset and justifications of a twelve-year-old can account for a lot of things.
Timothy is a decent main character, he is a bit snappish and he likes to tease and bicker seemingly out of the blue, plus he is slightly intolerable, all of which was a little strange but if you remind yourself he is only twelve then it does help explain his behaviour.
Other characters are interesting, unique in their own way, and a mix of quirky, eccentric, and strange with a few stereotypical figures like jolly cooks and maternal housekeepers, but Abel has them in a place that suits them, and makes it a nice environment. There are some darker characters who are not just mean but a tad threatening, but there is restraint in their behaviour and while the actions can be quite dark, Abel doesn’t make it too disturbing.
Plot wise there were a few odd things that were explained strangely or just accepted, even with a magical reasoning. Though this does add to the quirky and mysterious nature of the story, and while it feels like a few things haven’t been answered as much as you’d like, it doesn’t affect the story too much. Where the story shines is towards the end when after all the dropped hints and secrets and puzzles Abel does a great job of bring the story to a close, solving many of the riddles and offering wonderful surprises while still hinting at further adventures.
I wouldn’t call this a Young Adult book; it is more down the Junior Fiction 10-13 year old bracket, though admittedly not unenjoyable for older readers. There is adventure and mystery, with fantasy mixed in but there is also a sweet story as well. There is a slight paranormal element but it is pleasant rather than scary, and coupled with the magical and fantasy components it works really well.
Overall it is nice, complex and delightfully cryptic with secrets to reveal and a fun bunch of characters in a detailed but not over the top adventure story.
You can purchase Timothy Other via the following