Book Review – Magnus Opum
Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Jonathan Gould
Like his fellow Kertoobis, Magnus Mandalora enjoyed the consistency and comfort that life provided in their wonderfully stable land of Lower Kertoob. That is until his brother Jangos developed the Grompets and did something a Kertoobi rarely did – leave Lower Kertoob. Why anyone would leave was beyond all of them, what more could one want that to plant, grow, harvest, bake and sell Pflugberrys in Pflugberry pie? Such a scandal was Jangos departure that Magnus could hardly concentrate. Then the unthinkable happens. News reached lower Kertoob that Jangos had been attacked and killed by the hated Glurgs. Needing to avenge his brother’s death, Magnus decides he too must leave Lower Kertoob and find his destiny.
Jonathan Gould is a master at “Adult Fables” as demonstrated in his novellas – Flidderbugs and Doodling. Turning his talents to a full length novel – Magnus Opum – Gould creates an even richer world and experience than possible in a novella. In the opening chapters, Gould’s turn of phrase and creative names for places (Lower Kertoob), characters (Magnus, Jangos), and races (Doosies, Glurgs) are Suess-esque and immediately give the sense of joy and wonder of life as the Kertoobis experience it by connecting readers with their childhood Suess experiences. But this is not a simple children’s book as Magnus and readers soon learn. Gould slowly exposes Magnus to a world forged of prejudice forged by generations of misunderstanding and hate to which Magnus is not immune.
As with all of Gould’s works, one cannot help but reflect and spend time questioning ones own mores and decide whether or not to be courageous and face them, as Magnus did, or live life in our own version of simple Lower Kertoob.
Note: A complementary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.