Author: Jonathan Gould
Book title: Magnus Opum
Magnus Opum is a delightful read in Jonathan Gould’s unique style, a book that shows this writers extraordinary talent in even greater depths than his other works Flidderbugs or Doodling. Imagine a mix of Tolkien and Dr Seuss and you have Magnus Opum, a humorous epic fantasy that highlights the absurdity of cultural assumptions. Perfect for all ages, I urge everyone to read it.
Populated with bizarre animals like the borse, who has two legs shorter than the others, making them perfect for hilly terrain but highly unstable on the flat, and the Blerchherch, “a ravenous giant with a hunger of the flesh of all other creatures”, who lives in the dingy dungy Drunglegum valley, the books names alone provide plenty of giggles. I had fun trying to say words like Pharsheesh, Pergle-brots, Parghwum, and the rather tricky Hargh Gryghrgr out loud.
Magnus Mandalora never thought he would leave the safe confines of the small homely village of Lower Kertoob. He certainly never expected to end up in the middle of a long-running war between the saintly Cherines and the beastly Glurgs. But when circumstance place him in such a dubious position, he finds himself on a rollicking adventure where nothing is quite as it seems.
Magnus is a little Kertoob in a big world and with more courage than he knows. His main companion Shaindor is a beautiful Cherine, but he also befriends Klugrok one of the race of ugly Glurgs. These two races are mortal enemies, and as Magnus discovers, the only reason behind their conflict is cultural differences and misunderstanding. To the Cherines, anything ugly must be evil, and to the Glurgs anything that prides itself on its beauty is evil. And indeed, we do see the ugly side of the beautiful Cherine race. So, in true Dr Seuss style, there is an important message for adults and children alike.
I put this book squarely in the zany-and-out-of-the-box category (except that Jonathon has made his own box), and because it’s 2012 and the author isn’t waiting for traditional publishers to go through the incredibly time consuming process of making up their minds, we can buy it for next to nothing for our electronic readers. I give it 5 stars and urge you to buy it immediately.
Only in an Indie published book will you find something so highly creative and different. Long live Indie publishing. May it take its rightful place as a respected part of the publishing industry. This is where you’ll find alternative reading fare, the artistic ground breakers and even new subgenres.
Review by Tahlia Newland