Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Discover Fantasy Tour: book review

Today I’m reviewing Magnus Opum by Jonathan Gould,
as part of the Discover Fantasy Tour.

What is the Discover Fantasy Tour? Well, during the month of July, three authors are aiming to show that fantasy can offer something for everyone, be it humour, romance, adventure or just a darn good story. To find out more about Jonathan Gould,
 David M Brown and Jeremy Rodden, head over to the tour website for a little bit
of what you might fancy:

Magnus Opum by Jonathan Gould

I’ve read two of Jonathan Gould’s other books, Doodling and Flidderbugs, and Magnus Opum is just as magical – and fun.

I was wondering about that title, so I just had to go Google... Magnum opus comes from ‘great work’ and refers to the largest or greatest, most renowned achievement of a writer, artist, composer or craftsman.  Meanwhile, ‘opum’ is the plural of the Latin ‘ops’, meaning resources, wealth and food. So, perhaps the title could mean something like great resources... or great food! So, there you go...

Our story begins in Lower Kertoob, which is inhabited by the Kertoobis, who have a healthy obsession with baking the very, very best, most perfect pflugberries. In this place, life is simple and safe, and simplicity reigns unless you get an attack of the dreaded Grompets – that itch in your foot to travel – which is feared as some kind of degenerative disease to be sprinted away from. This is what happens to Jango, the brother of our not-too-confident hero, Magnus Mandalora, and there begins an adventure.

There are many well imagined places here, from the sacred old battlefield of Ferelshine to eerie Krondeep forest, the colourful world of the Parsheeth and the beauty of Sweet Harmody. Over everything hangs the threat of the Glurgs – even their name sounds like the flush of a dirty toilet. There are some amusing side adventures; one with something called a Blerchherchh, and it has nothing to do with burping or anything worse!

The story follows Magnus as he tries to do the right thing while seeking the truth of what happened to his brother. But, things aren’t always what they seem in this world, as he discovers. The author writes: “What was he to do in a world that had turned as topsy-turvy as the plumiferous grousehen that walked on its head and sang through its feet?”

The story skips merrily along. The style of writing is easy to read and whizzes along happily. The tale is a fun one, told with confidence, and full of hilarity. I loved the silly names of everything – well, they are damn silly!

Many themes run through the book. Tharella the beautiful, tells us, “Everyone has their own gift. They just need to know where to look in order to find it.” This is a major theme, along with the idea of what is beautiful and what is ugly? External attributes are compared with internal ones. Assumptions and preconceptions are thrown up (no, that wasn’t the Blerchherchh) against reality. Gossip, represented by the Doosies (whose physical attributes match their personal ones), is compared to the truth. And then there is power – is it used for the general good or to corrupt?

I enjoyed the characters of Magnus and Shaindor, the polite, dashing and blue-eyed swordsman with a penchant for song. But my favourite character of all is Klugrok, who I found hilarious. The family welcome from Klugrok, Kruperke and the Glurglets is brilliant, and one of my favourite parts. To steal some of his words, pick up this book, enjoy it, and “may your dreams be dark and yucky”.



  1. Replies
    1. Love the bee! Thanks for stopping by for a read :)

  2. Great review Vickie.

    Thanks once again for taking part in the tour.

    Myself, Jonathan and Jeremy really appreciate the support of all the amazing bloggers who have hosted us :)

  3. Hi Vickie,

    Sorry I'm choofing in so late - was caught in the Plergle Swamp without my gromple sword...

    Thanks for having me here and so glad you enjoyed the book.

    1. You'll probably be in need of some pflugberry pie then! Fun book! :)

  4. Wonderful to see a great review for this book. The more I hear about Jonathan's writing, the more I think I'm going to have to pick up one of his books :-)

  5. I have Flidderbugs and can't wait to read it. Sorry I'm so behind or I'd review it already. One day I'll catch up and now I want to try pflugberries I bet they are tasty

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