Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Let's Hear It for the Boys - Toonopolis: Gemini by Jeremy Rodden

Published: May 2011
Publisher: Portmanteau Press
Pages: 314
e-book: Received for Review
Summary: Goodreads

Toonopolis is a cartoon city that is home to the thoughts and ideas of all sentient beings in the universe. As the center of the Tooniverse, it acts as an other-worldly rest stop for these creations.

Gemini is a teenage human boy who is thrust into Toonopolis through his father's scientific research program. He loses part of himself in the process and immediately begins a quest to regain his lost memories with the help of his Tooniverse guide named Jimbob the Talking Eggplant.

After an altercation with a mysterious Shadowy Figure, Gemini's mission is changed, and he begins a new quest to defeat Shadowy Figure and protect Toonopolis from his nefarious destruction. Along the way, he meets new friends, discovers just how diverse and strange Toonopolis is, and learns lessons about compassion, forgiveness, redemption, and being true to oneself.

When I received this for review, I'll admit to being a little sceptical.  I'm not a huge cartoon or video game fan, and I wasn't sure what to expect.  I can happily say it was a hilarious romp, that read just like a Saturday morning cartoon.  One of the first characters our protagonist Gemini meets is a talking mirror and I had this very funny visual in my mind as I was reading

'“Hello?” the teenager said to the person he presumed was holding the mirror.  He attempted to walk around to the back of the looking glass to see who was quietly taunting him.  The mirror, though, spun with him to keep the reflective surfave facing forward. 

" This isn't very funny, you know," the boy said.

Much to the young man’s surprise, the top portion of the mirror opened like a mouth and responded,
“It also isn’t very funny to try to look at someone else’s butt without at least introducing yourself first.”  The looking glass emphasized its apparent disgust with a firm nod of the top of its frame.

“How are you doing that?” asked the boy, still trying to look behind the tall mirror.

“Well, if you are that interested in my backside, fine!” the mirror said in annoyance. It turned around, giving the red-haired boy a full view of a dark wooden backboard, such as one would expect to see on the reverse side of a tall looking glass. The mirror turned back around.

“Are you satisfied?” it asked. Then it turned its back toward the bewildered boy again and began walking away on its very tiny legs. (page 8)

Can't you just see that in your mind's eye? 

There were nods to the 'Wizard of Oz', 'Harry Potter', 'X files' and Douglas Adams' 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' and that was just in the first couple of chapters.

Jimbob the Talking Eggplant - think a purple non-singing Jiminy Cricket here - helps guide Gemini through the Tooniverse on his search/quest to find Shadowy Figure, and on the way  some valuable lessons are learnt, without situations ever becoming preachy and with a generous helping of wit.

A very different book that was quick and fun to read and should appeal to Saturday morning cartoon fans.
Thank you Mr Rodden for the opportunity here, it certainly made me step out of my comfortable reading box.

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