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I might bump this book up to five stars but I need to sit on it for a little I read this book so slowly to let it sink in, but I m already dying for a sequel The main thing I take away from this book is that the writing is just so goddamn PERFECT Tahereh has such an unprecented use of metaphor that the colors and the scenery in this book were the most vividly described experiences I have ever read Transitioning from a series with little world building, I ADORED Ferenwood It was like Diagon Alley on cocaine I will be using this comparison a lot Stay tuned Dare I say the writing is better than Shatter Me, but it definitely rivals the series One thing I adored about this writing is that it utilizes SECOND PERSON Tahereh would use little asides addressing the reader, and it absolutely made my day to be referred to as dear friend I felt like I was curled up in her lap as she was telling me a bedtime story, it was such an interesting style of narration ALICE Oh my god, I ADORED Alice If you put down Shatter Me because you thought Juliette was weak, Alice will blow your mind The sass and the confidence packed into this twelve year old is so admirable, I fell in love with her immediately She s like book 3 Juliette on crack told you Sometimes she took this confidence a little too far and it made her a bit impulsive, which I ll touch on later And I was fully expecting to love Oliver just as much Any character with a Y chromosome written by Tahereh Mafi, no matter what age, I was expecting to fall deeply in love with And being honest, Oliver fell flat to me He was sorta a jerk I mean, I did have a mini panic session when he was described as pristine and clean LIKE SOMEONE ELSE , but he was not a good match for Alice He was rude and expected so much of her without giving her instructions, and all this caused a really irritating rivalry between them Perhaps I was let down because my expectations were high, but regardless, as a character he was still really fleshed out and the dialogue between them had me in fits of grinning Now let s talk world building I already mentioned how much I loved Ferenwood Take The Capitol mixed with Diagon Alley, and there you have it The imagery is UNREAL everything is so vivid But although the town was described very nicely, I wish we had explanation of the magic system I feel like toward the end of the book you get a clearer explanation of talents and the magical coins that contain power, but at the beginning when it matters most , I was very confused Some things just needed to be explicitly explained up front, like how Oliver s talent of lying works and how the money magic is used One last complaint about the world I was having a hard time not comparing it too closely to Harry Potter It seemed very similar, and knowing how much Tahereh loves the series, I was noticing that the two books came out a bit similar A town s own currency, a street with magic shops, and just little things like that which I could draw a parallel Surely J.K Rowling doesn t have a trademark on any of these things, but the fact that I could stop and think Hmmm that kind of reminds me of Harry Potter was a bit concerning Onto Further I gotta say, I wasn t too impressed This is partially my own fault because somehow when I read the synopsis I missed the part that literally described Futher as dangerous, so I was expecting a light and happy trip through fields of flowers on the way to find her father And this book was much, MUCH darker than I had anticipated And sadly, I felt as if it could have been described a lot better Coming from Ferenwood which was so bright and lovely and well described, Further seemed so bleak that I literally couldn t imagine it It seemed like Oliver and Alice were just walking through blank, black landscape for half the book I would say that this book needs some type of illustration or map, but even that might be impossible because there s no coherent left, right, up, or down inside Further And this is the root of one of my main issues with the book because the reader doesn t know what to expect as far as what sorts of magic can be expected in Further, we re kinda just dragged along blindly and experience everything as the characters do This goes back to I wish we had been explained things explicitly, and I wish that Oliver could have given Alice a debriefing on what to expect, or just something to prepare the reader for what Further is like, because I m still a bit confused on all the different villages they visited and how all those different realms are sewn together Going back to Alice acting impulsively if this was any other author, it would probably annoy me But since it s Tahereh, I reconciled it with myself and couldn t help thinking IT HAS A MORAL HER MISTAKES SERVE A PURPOSE But even then, and I m not sure if it s because this is middle grade, Alice had a tendency to think stupidly sometimes, which was frustrating And that s a sentence I found myself saying a lot But it s middle grade I was very hesitant going into this just because of that fact And yeah, I think maybe some facets of the book were simplified for the sake of the genre, but it was still well done One aspect of it s middle gradeness, if you will, was that it implemented some made up words and childish explanations I m gonna compare it to Rick Riordan using his lame jokes in the Percy Jackson series I adored it because I m a fan of Tahereh and literally anything she has to say, but I can see how others might take it as annoying It just depends on what kind of reader you are, and how much you can handle whimsy and silly metaphors.In the end, I think this just wrapped up too conveniently The ending was very rushed, sort of like in Ignite Me when things fall together seamlessly and a bit anti climactically, and I would have liked to see a slower resolution that was explained better It irritated me that the characters found such an easy way out after struggling for so long, how they made stupid decisions after being careful for so long.I m not sure if the problems I had with this book are because it was middle grade, or if some necessary details were just omitted But I was absolutely sure I would be giving this five stars, and I m left a little confused even though in the end, the main feeling that sticks with me is contentment I would recommend this if you like REALLY whimsical books, if you like Tahereh s writing, or you just want an enchanting tale about a ridiculously sassy heroine going on a strange, dark adventure And of course, I can t wait to get my hands on the sequel 2 1 2016tHE COV ER OHD YM GOD THE FOX ALICE OLLIIEEE OH YM GO OH MY GOD OH MY GOD AND SHE WEARS HER BRACELETS LIKE TAHEREH DOES AND OLLIE LOOKS LIKE A BABY ROWAN AND NOW SHE S SO DEVOID OF COLOR SHE DON T KNOW WHAT IT MEANS AND I M SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD 1 15 2016The lengths I am going through to draft a good email and convince Penguin to send me one of these ARCs is so nerve wracking I want to cry because THE BOOK NOW EXISTS IN PAPER FORM AND I DON HAVE IT IN MY HANDS 1 THIS IS A TRAGEDY 1 3 2016WE HAVE AN OFFICIAL UNOFFICIAL COVER I AM SO READY DO U SEE THAT WHIMSICAL FONT THEVOID I M READY TAKE ME12 21 2015I want this book so badly it hurts I literally check once a week to see if any new info has come out or if the cover is on its way I WILL BE HARASSING THE ENTIRE INTERNET FOR AN ARC ONCE THIS BOOK SEES THE LIGHT OF DAY I CAN T WAIT OH MY GOD august 30th can t come soon enough i hope oliver fucks me up as much as warner did8 5 2014SCREAMINFWANtBRENDAN PARALLELSFAV CHARACTERDO WANTMUCH ADVENTUREVERY SASSJSNEJSKWND NEED Alice Alexis Queensmeadow Rates Three Things Most Important Mother, Who Wouldn T Miss Her Magic And Color, Which Seem To Elude Her And Father, Who Always Loved Her Father Disappeared From Ferenwood With Only A Ruler, Almost Three Years Ago But She Will Have To Travel Through The Mythical, Dangerous Land Of Further, Where Down Can Be Up, Paper Is Alive, And Left Can Be Both Right And Very, Very Wrong Her Only Companion Is Oliver Whose Own Magic Is Based In Lies And Deceit Alice Must First Find Herself And Hold Fast To The Magic Of Love In The Face Of Loss I really loved this The second you have a main character named Alice I m going to make comparisons to Alice in Wonderland and I think that really was the intent with this one We have a character going down the rabbit hole to a world that s even magical and whimsical than the world she came from The magic system was really cool, it was tons of fun, and I think it did the Alice story justice I ll be doing a video review soon since I do have quite a bit to say about it I was right The first time I read this I have it a 3 star and it was my mood This second time around was awesome I listened to it on audio and the audio was fantastic Now it s on to the second book, Whichwood Okay, I love middle grade books and I love Tehereh Mafi s Shatter Me series but it took me awhile to get into this book But don t get me wrong, I will read it again later on to make sure it wasn t my mood And the book was crazy cool All Alice wants in life is to find her father He just disappeared one day Alice doesn t feel like her mother loves her any and she s not sure she loves her mother Alice has three younger brothers but they aren t really in the story but for bit parts They live in Ferenwood and it s a magical place It s just different I would like to explore this world a little , but it s when you get to Further that everything is cray and dangerous This boy named Oliver that Alice has known all of her life says they have to go find Alice s father together because of THINGS no spoilers And Alice thinks he s off his nut Why would he all of the sudden know where her father is and why should she trust him Anyhoo, there is no choice and off they go to Further where Oliver has been before and he s trying to keep Alice safe But, to be honest, she s being a butthead about a lot of things She s almost gotten them and herself killed doing stupid stuff Who wants to listen to a boy that knows the rules of Futher eyeroll There are cannibals and paper foxes and so many cool things Well, they are not all cool, I m just sayin But in the end, they all found what they were looking for or did they I ll never tell MY BLOG Melissa Martin s Reading List DNF after about an hour into the audiobook After a somewhat frustrating experience with the author s debut Shatter Me, I was curious if a few years and her first middle grade foray would turn out to be a better experience But for my taste, this tries very hard to be whimsical and funny without quite succeeding at either, the motivations and emotions are constantly explained to us, and I found the overuse of Alice s proper name annoying when a simple she or her would often do The plot and obstacles feel familiar, which aren t necessarily bad things in and of themselves, but they re items to tick off when they re obscured by tangled view spoiler deliberately tangled, to be sure, but for me, it just didn t work hide spoiler I really enjoyed Further It was definitely a different kind of story, but there was a lot to love Writing Tahereh s writing is beautiful as always As it is EXTREMELY descriptive and exceptionally whimsical in this novel, I did have to slower my pace to catch every detail, but it was well worth it For whatever reason, the narration reminded me a bit of A Series of Unfortunate Events I don t even know if they are the same I believe ASOUE is third person omniscient and I m not entirely sure if Further is the same but there are certain passages where the narrator is speaking TO us for example, Alice falls asleep and the narrator says Now, while our young Alice is asleep, let us make quick work of important details. and proceeds to explain information rather than showing it through the story Breaking the fourth wall in literature is not something I m normally exposed to, so it was really interesting to have that sort of relationship with the narrator The one negative aspect I found in the foundation of the novel is that in the beginning especially which was much slower than the rest of the book , it felt like there were many chapters that were included specifically to reveal ONE important detail I felt many of the first chapters before Further could have been combined to shorten the novel and take out unimportant details.Magic The magic system is probably one of my only problems with the story As I stated before, this book is whimsical AF which I m sure anyone can assume the magic system will be very unconventional With me already having that expectation for something totally out there, I have to admit, it did not seem as developed as it could have been There s little explanation on how each person s magical talent works, the exchange of currency which I could not grasp WHATSOEVER and some part of Further were just confusing For example, at one point, Oliver breaks open a fink which I couldn t really tell you what that is despite just finishing the novel a few minutes ago and somehow manages to create a brand new pair of shoes that don t get dirty or damaged at all There was just very little explanation in the magic system I think some sort of guide in the back of the book would have been very helpful for retaining details and making sense of things that aren t as clear in the books.Further While I think the land of Further also had it s issues in explanation and development, I thought the idea of it was FASCINATING Reading each new adventure into a new village was honestly exhilarating Being totally honest, their travels distantly reminded me of the Percy Jackson series not to say it s a carbon copy, just that I had the same feelings reading Alice Oliver s journey as I did when reading Percy s The land of left totally reminded me of the Lotus Hotel Casino in certain ways, and I really enjoyed getting a flash of nostalgia from reading it I am a little disappointed because Oliver mentions there are a hundred or so I believe villages in Further, and I feel like we don t see enough of it I would have loved scenes exploring the world so we get a larger view of everything.Characters Alice I LOVE ALICE This girl is the sassiest, bravest 12 year old I ve ever seen There s this great line where Oliver asks her if she s ready and she replies, Always, but what for She doesn t care what s ahead of her, she knows she has to get her father back and anything standing in her way is just another obstacle she must overcome On a slightly less positive note, I do think she kind of embodies the saying Children think they are invincible Her bravery definitely borders on impulsive and reckless at certain points in the book, but ultimately I truly adored her character and would love to read from her perspective Oliver Oliver is another character I enjoyed, but it was VERY difficult to warm up to him at first He leaves Alice in the dark for a lot of the book, not preparing her for what s coming, not being truthful, tricking her in what felt like a somewhat manipulative way to get her to follow him, which I do not condone He definitely has some shady traits, but I do love their friendship and would be so happy to see stories of their adventures together.Ending Another large problem with the book I had was the ending Everything wrapped itself up perfectly at an extremely fast speed view spoiler The explanation for three fugitives, one already in captivity, escaping a prison village was that Oliver handily opened up his magic box and they returned home safely The ending would have been saved a little bit for me had they had some epic struggle escaping Alice gets her arm back which I ve explained why this dissatisfies me below Alice s mother breaks down and finally appreciates her which I AM happy about, but it was like one pretty bow on top of another pretty bow to wrap things up hide spoiler Am I the only human in this world who can t help but think of Alice in Wonderland when she looks at this cover and proceeds to read the blurb And yet, this is marketed as inspired by The Secret Garden and The Chronicles of Narnia I don t know about Narnia, but I don t see why this would resemble The Secret Garden than Alice in Wonderland.Come on, the main character s name even is Alice and in the book she is described as odd And let s not forget that the land of Further is as strange as Wonderland.Which is why I was so disappointed when we weren t introduced to the crazy Queen of Further who literally eats visitors For an adventure book, this is a good one It s original enough to keep the reader s attention and let s not forget the two very loveable main characters I don t think anyone else would have been a better heroine than Alice She was made for this book Well, you know what I mean The writing, however, is such a hit or miss You re probably already familiar with Tahereh Mafi, as she did write the dystopian Shatter Me series So you know she has a tendency to use repetition in her writing to make it a little poetic Well, she does the same thing in this book, except with much exaggeration Read the first chapter, you ll see if this is for you or not I personally did not mind it at all, because I did think this was some kind of retelling of Alice in Wonderland, so I actually welcomed the peculiar writing style Again, such a shame we didn t meet the Queen of Further Oh well, next time, I guess Blog Youtube Twitter Instagram Google Bloglovin I approve And I approve even if she creates a guy in Warner s level of perfection. You know when you re desperately TRYING to love a book and you re reaching a point where you re FORCING yourself and it s still not working and then you give up on life and become a hermit I dunno, when people talk about Further, they talk about how exquisitely poignant and elegantly crafted and whimsically carved the book is and im like just the writing was alrightI d be impressed with the book as a whole if I knew what was going on It seems like it took 150 pages to establish the ground rules of what the plot was and then it took another 150 pages to establish what on earth is going on and then theres like 100 pages of some other stuff happening and by the time to reach there you re so Done with everythingAlice is a girl without colour in a colour filled world So basically she s the ugly duckling and to make matters worse, her home life is terrible bc her mother is v rood and her father, the only one who really cares for her, went missing.And now its up to her to find him and bring him home or that s what she makes her quest to beI m gonna be honest, I was lost a lot of the time It seems like anything that could have been a mundane task and would have taken approximately 13 seconds to complete takes 34 pages of prose and prose and prose.Sometimes it enhanced the atmosphere, like for example,The morning arrived the way Alice imagined a whisper would in tendrils of gray and threads of gold, quietly, quietly The sky was illuminated with great care and deliberation, and she leaned back to watch it bloom Like okay, I get that, that s not terrible and might even be appreciated.But then other times it just gets EXHAUSTINGThe afternoon our story begins, the quiet parts of being alive were the busiest wind unlocking Windows rainlight nudging curtains apart fresh cut grass tickling unsocked feet Days like this made Alice want to set off on a great adventure I m quite positive I lost you at this point To me it just felt like lots of flowery words and exaggeration and not enough plot building and purpose And to that, I tire v easily1.5 stars I admit I was looking forward to another YA book with new guys as hot as Warner