Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“Alice was an odd girl, even for Ferenwood, where the sun occasionally rained and the colors were brighter than usual and magic was as common as a frowning parent.”
Alice Alexis Queensmeadow 12 rates three things most important: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. Father disappeared from Ferenwood with only a ruler, almost three years ago. But she will have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is Oliver whose own magic is based in lies and deceit. Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss. – Excerpt from Goodreads.
This is one of my favorite books published in 2016 so far. I adored it, so much fun and the writing was magical, so why not five stars?
Futhermore was pitched as a mix of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Now we hear this kind of stuff all the time, so did it live up to those names (which are very near and dear to my heart). I would say yes, this is definitely a modern adaption of those books and you can clearly see the inspirations they had on the author, I think it worked beautifully. The main protagonist, Alice, constantly tries to make an impractical world practical when she enters Futhermore. Very Wonderlandish! The kids bump into one adventure after another, so in that way it’s very episodic, there isn’t always rhyme or reasoning for everything that is happening and that is the glory of this book. There are some disturbing images in this book, especially when they enter the land of Still, that might freak out some younger kids. This is where it really started reminding me of Oz, which got really messed up at times. The images certainly took a turn for the darker at a couple parts.
Can I start off by talking about this cover? Damn! This is one stunning cover! Tahereh’s Mafi books are always beautiful (at least the re-release of the Shatter Me series, we shall never speak of the originals!). If I didn’t know the author already and knew nothing of this book, this would be a shallow cover buy for me easily. There is just so much going on but for some reason it works so well and once you read the story, the cover works even more! Had to give something this cover a shout-out!
It’s a completely original story and it has Tahereh’s Mafi’s almost lyrical way of writing. The more I read from this exceptional writer, the more I want to see from her. I know she is going to have a very long career and I’ll certainly be following it.
So, how come I did not rate this book five stars? Well, it comes down to two issues I had. The first is the magic system. It was barely talked about. I mean it got mentioned a lot but almost mentioned like the magical system had been developed in a chapter that I must’ve somehow missed. Tahereh could have easily turned this book into a duology and fleshed it out better. The second problem is somewhat similar. At the end, when she finds her father, it goes super fast. We get very little explanation or interaction between them all. The dad just returns home and suddenly the mother is a wonderful person again with again very little explanation. This book DESERVED a better ending. It was just too fast. I’m not sure if that was Tahereh’s decision that she made for this book or a publisher’s but I feel strongly that it was the wrong decision and a bit of a rip off. Those are the ONLY reasons this didn’t get a perfect rating from me.
This is a fairly polarizing book, mostly due the fact that it’s so strange and so whimsical. Most readers are going to love it or hate it – thankfully I was part of the former. If you enjoy whimsy and some really bizarre reading then grab this one.