Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Review: "The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear"

The first in Walter Moers' series about the fictional continent of Zamonia is The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear (Overlook, 2006), which serves as something of a geographical overview of Moers' universe in the form of a travelogue. Narrated by the eponymous Bluebear (a blue bear), the story tracks Bluebear's adventures through the first half of his 26 lives: from his rescue by the hilarious darkness-fearing, peg-legged Minipirates to his time spent in Professor Abdullah Nightingale's Nocturnal Academy to his stay in the middle of a tornado to his time as the champion liar of Atlantis ... and those are just four of the 13 1/2 lives he covers here.

As with the later books in the loosely-connected series, Moers fills the volume with details about the bizarre creatures and situations he's concocted, providing much background about Zamonian history, culture, cuisine, &c. For anyone who enjoys taking a magic carpet ride (with a gelatine prince from the 2364th dimension, in this case) around a very creative author's head, give this book a whirl. Witty, satirical, amusing, and completely nonsensical, Moers' books makes for a terrific diversion.