The City of Dreaming Books: Fun for young (and not-so-young) adults

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsYA young adult fantasy book reviews Walter Moers The City of Dreaming BooksThe City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers

Walter Moers’s young adult novel The City of Dreaming Books is a wonderful combination of fantasy and farce. Moers leads the reader on a highly entertaining, and sometimes tense, journey through an imaginary world where literature is life.

Following the death of a beloved mentor, aspiring author Optimus Yarnspinner journeys to the city of Bookholm, a city devoted entirely to the creation, sale and consumption of books. The City of Dreaming Books follows Yarnspinner as he tries to follow the path that leads from his mentor to Bookholm and finds adventure along the way. Yarnspinner may be a dinosaur, but he lives and thinks like we do. After all, what could be more human than spending late nights in a café, drinking good coffee and eating good food?

I really liked Walter Moers’s willingness to use a combination of high level vocabulary with deliberate recreations of words. The characters are all interestingly named and the level of detail provided to flesh out Bookholm and its environs is really wonderful. One could easily imagine the setting that Moers creates and it truly brings the story to life.

The City of Dreaming Books is clearly a Young Adult fantasy, but it holds enough compelling and interesting content to readily draw in a more mature reader. It’s just very fun. I didn’t coast through the story in a day, but worked through it over a month; Moers’s descriptive prose is best savored slowly.

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JOHN HULET (on FanLit's staff July 2007 -- March 2015) is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years.

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