Phooey

I just finished reading Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye.

Grade: B

This is another book that I really wanted to like. I bought it new, which I only do if a book sounds particularly interesting. And to give the book its proper due, I have to admit that it is interesting. The made-up creatures in the book are great. I love the idea of a magnificent tree growing over a home to protect the child who lives there, and I even like the walking, talking toothpick that it becomes. I also love the idea of a cute little creature known as a sycophant that’s with you night and day, feeding you candy that it pulls out of nowhere. The imaginary land of Foo is said to be populated with all sorts of interesting beings, like rants and lithen, and I would have liked to learn more about them.

The real people are another story. All of the adults are horrible, but not believably horrible or “love to hate you” horrible, just unpleasant to read about. The main character, Leven, is wishy-washy and sort of pathetic. He meets up with Winter, a nit from Foo, who can freeze things with her thoughts. She’s cool, but her character isn’t so developed that you can really feel like you know her.

Fate works overtime in this story, creating amazing coincidences and conveniences for the main characters that are, at times, too much to be believed. As someone who once wrote a story that depended heavily on Fate, even to the point that it was another character in the story, I can understand what the author was trying to accomplish. I don’t think it worked any better for him than it did for me.

Overall the book isn’t too bad, but I wanted more from it than it was willing to give. I’m curious about the sequels, because this story might just be background for a more exciting tale set in Foo, but I won’t go out of my way to get the next book. If I see it on sale someday, I might buy it. I’ll take my cue from the lithen and leave it to Fate.

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