Nathan (vovat) wrote,

Book Reviews: Fantasy Meets Mystery

Brewster Bunny and the Case of the Purloined Pachyderm of Oz, by Marin Xiques and Chris Dulabone - Another tale of Brewster Bunny, the rabbit detective who previously appeared in several other books published by Buckethead/Tails of the Cowardly Lion. He's a well-realized character, with his starring adventures usually written in sort of a comic noir style. This time, it's told in first person. Brewster teams up with a lagomorphic jester-in-training named Martin Hopwell; as well as Kabumpo, one of my favorite Oz characters. It's a fun story, although it becomes a bit overloaded with characters toward the end. The authors find a clever way to get around the standard problem of Ozma and Glinda being able to magic away just about any threat to Oz, by having them totally unable to read books of Gansheri magic. I do think the modern references and slang, while funny at times, were a bit overdone on occasion. Overall, though, I enjoyed it.

The Big Over Easy, by Jasper Fforde - The first book of the Nursery Crime series involves the investigation of the murder of Humpty Dumpty. Kind of a familiar scenario, not just because the story was sort of previewed in Fforde's The Well of Lost Plots, but because Robert Rankin's The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse also involves the murder of the famous egg. Both books also go on to involve many other nursery rhyme characters, but they're really not all that similar for all that. While Rankin's story is pretty wacky all the way through, Fforde takes a comical scenario and plays it pretty straight. Not only are nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters real in this world (many of them living in Reading, England), but police work has reached the point where people care more about stories that will sell than actual justice being done. While Jack Spratt (yes, the guy who eats no fat) is a good detective, his work lacks the flair of his rival and former partner Friedland Chymes, a famous and egotistical Holmes-style investigator. The satire on the media is pretty similar to that in the Thursday Next series, and while I don't like the characters as much (not yet, at least), I get more of the references. There are some hints that the two series take place on the same alternate world, due to the references to former actress Lola Vavoom and some of the same media outlets, but the series is treated as fiction-within-fiction in Well.
Tags: books, oz
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