Thursday, August 11, 2016

Review: Furthermore

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Source: ALA Midwinter
Date Read: 3/24/16 to 3/28/16
416 pages

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other.

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll 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 a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit—and with a liar by her side in land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice's wits (and every limb she's got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

So I actually ended up enjoying Furthermore much more than Shatter Me, which just shows how different the two are from each other. Besides being marketed as Middle Grade, Furthermore

We're introduced to Alice, who so badly wants to go on a quest, away from Ferenwood. She's so self-conscious of the fact that she isn't comprised of color, while everything else in Ferenwood does. Just imagine, everyone is bursting with color from their hair to their eyes. Alice on the other hand sticks out like a sore thumb, with her colorless, clear milky hair. To add on to that, Alice's father has mysteriously disappeared. In order to save him, she plans on winning over the judges with her one special talent, one every child in Ferenwood is born with.

But of course, things go wrong. Alice is stuck with a boy she doesn't want around. And even better, she discovers that her father is stuck in this god awful place, one where logic is basically nonexistent. Now here's where things get interesting. Furthermore is without any sort of order, meaning any strange thing can occur really. This reminded me of the The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, which is why I think I liked this book so much. But just to give you a taste, there are rules such as having to carry your own ruler in order to measure the time you have in Furthermore. You also can't steal time, which is why you are assigned only a specific amount. Once your ruler runs out of time, you have illegally trespassed into Furthermore. There's more but I rather you discover the strangeness on your own.

Yet even with being enamoured with both Furthermore and Ferenwood, and of course with Alice and Oliver, I didn't end up rating it 5 stars. For one, I found it "interesting" that the author broke the fourth wall a lot. I mean I didn't mind it, but then again I wasn't such a huge fan of it either. To me if just felt a little out of place I suppose.

I also felt misinformed about what was happening multiple times. For example, I was completely under the impression that Alice's ability was that she could tell the truth as long as she didn't lie once. And I wasn't sure when that was still in effect, because Oliver was definitely telling a lot of lies. And at times she accepted them, even though she should have seen through them. Did I miss the lie she made at one point? Or was that just describing a moment in her past? I felt deceived when I discovered what her real talent was, the one she was actually born with.

Lastly, I found the ending to be incredibly convenient. Though now that I think about it, this is Middle Grade. Plus this didn't bother me that much.

Furthermore ended up being a very fun, unique read for me, even though I don't usually read Middle Grade. Plus just look at that cover. It is absolutely gorgeous.
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