Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Hunting of the Bubblenuff

Title: The Hunting of the Bubblenuff
Author: Joshua Goldfond

Score: 6/10
Chart Entry Point: 32


The Hunting of the Bubblenuff was possibly the most inventive book that I've reviewed. It has a certain feel to it that lingers from reading the title to the final chapter, and one that suits it well. It's got a fairly frivolous plot, but some of the ideas in it are truly unique, and still remain interesting. I almost surprised creatures such as the Somnabulent Sheep don't exist in reality.
However, I found some of them to be unlikely even within the bounds of the world the book is set in - the Whymera seemed particularly unlikely.

The characters themselves are well written, specifically the two main characters Fabian and Wilhelmina  - I especially like the way that we discover much of their backstories as they tell each other stories. It's also a good way to introduce some other characters before we meet them, which means that while the "bad guy" doesn't appear until the end of the book, we have a good reason not to like him before he turns up.

As I've already mentioned - the plot at first seems fairly frivolous, one man's search for an animal that no-one believes in, following the trails of some other animals that don't appear to exist. It's quite light-hearted for the most part, and easy to read. But it also deals with deeper ideas - disease and death, conflict, and family to name a few. This doesn't make it harder to read, but makes it a more complex book, which is always a welcome addition.

One downside of the book was that I didn't really understand who it was meant to be aimed at. The style of the book seemed to be aimed at children - with the fantastical and slightly silly variety of creatures, yet some of the themes seemed aimed at an older audience, who I'm not sure would appreciate the frivolity of the book. I see it as a good book for children who start reading early in their life, perhaps.

The biggest problem that I had with the book however, were the bestiaries interspersed between chapters. While slightly interesting I felt that they broke up the story too much, and weren't particularly relevant. This was particularly true for those bestiaries that occured before the creature had been mentioned in the book. But in general, they provided far more information than was really required for the story, and made the book harder to read.

Overall, I mostly enjoyed the book. The bestiaries could do with being shorter, or somehow more incorporated into the story, but the uniqueness of the book makes it one that I would recommend to most younger readers, and a few older ones. Some of the themes are dealt with well, and it has a nice vibe. It'll be interesting to see what Goldfond produces in the future.

This was a paid review.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 1 male, 1 female
Main Antagonist(s): 1 male
Main Relationships: -
Genre: Fantasy, Children's
Brief Synopsis:

The Hunting of the Bubblenuff follows the adventures of Fabian Vermeer, an eccentric 19-year-old who lives in the fictional world of Lornholm. He is both a Priest and Inquisitor by profession, acting in the service of the Church of Solomn, god of Justice and Fluffy Clouds. Yet Fabian’s true, lifelong passion is “Cryptonaturalism”: the study of hidden, mythical beasts like the Sugar Moose (a rare but friendly creature whose candy cane antlers are treasured by hunters), the Solardillo (a bioluminescent armadillo used to replace campfires), the Hamsterdon (a 40-foot high hamster that runs around in a giant bamboo ball and is used to clear brush), and the dreaded Bubblenuff (which can only be slain with a sharpened yam).

Fearful of proving his own theories wrong, he drags his feet until the arrival of his new bodyguard: the massively tall, awkward, and kind-hearted female teenage soldier, Wilhelmina Turkle. Together, the two venture out, seeking to locate Fabian’s monsters.


Amazon Link: UK | US

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