Monday, March 26, 2018

The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers

I borrowed this book because I really enjoyed The 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear (my introduction to the author) and because the title has the word 'books' inside. What I didn't realise that this is part of a series and that I probably should have read The City of Dreaming Books before reading this.

The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books is set two hundred years after the events of The City of Dreaming Books. As the narrator and protagonist Optimus Yarnspinner will gladly tell you, he's grown incredibly rich and popular since the events of the previous novel. However, the 'orm' has left him and he is unable to write. Intrigued by a letter claiming that the Shadow King has returned, Optimus returns to Bookholm and discovers that much has changed since he left.

Although the start of the book promises a mystery and adventure about this Shadow King, most of the story is concerned with the ways that Bookholm has changed. In a way, this is a travel guide about a fictional place in narrative form. The reader gets to see (through illustrations) Bookholm, learn about its different inhabitants, and even enjoy some puppet shows. The novel does end with the Shadow King, but it seems like the rest of the story is being kept for another book.

Despite the lack of plot, I really enjoyed this story. Bookholm is a fascinating place and I enjoyed reading about it. And since I didn't read The City of Dreaming Books, everything felt new to me so I wasn't bored at all. The only thing I didn't like was that there was a section of the book that used a Gothic font which made it a little hard to read.

Optimus is also an entertaining narrator. He's fairly pompous, but he clearly enjoys stories and I found him to be very endearing. I also enjoyed his interactions with his old friends in the later half of the book and that made me want to read The City of Dreaming Books.

Overall, this is a book that will appeal to bibliophiles looking for their ideal fictional city. I'm not quite sure if I want to live in Bookholm, but I definitely want to pay it a visit.


  1. This sounds so interesting and a bit different! I will have to look for the first book. :-)

    1. I'm going to have to look for it too! It's really charming!


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