Monday, October 1, 2012
YA Fantasy: The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.)
From GoodReads: Jo Larouche has lived her 13 years in the California desert with her Aunt Lily, ever since she was dropped on Lily’s doorstep with this note: This is Jo. Please take care of her. But beware. This is a dangerous baby. At Lily’s annual Christmas costume party, a variety of strange events take place that lead Jo and Lily out of California forever—and into the mysterious, strange, fantastical world of Eldritch City. There, Jo learns the scandalous truth about who she is, and she and Lily join the Order of Odd-Fish, a collection of knights who research useless information. Glamorous cockroach butlers, pointless quests, obsolete weapons, and bizarre festivals fill their days, but two villains are controlling their fate. Jo is inching closer and closer to the day when her destiny is fulfilled, and no one in Eldritch City will ever be the same.
My review: The Order of Odd-Fish is one of the most delightful YA books I've read in a while, perhaps since Going Bovine over a year ago. It's completely wacky and bizarre in a very fun, lighthearted way. I was laughing the entire time I was reading because of all the unexpected things that happen and the author's humorous characterizations and dialogue. It's a refreshing read because it's nothing like other YA fantasy novels, so there's no expectations of epic world-building or teen romance or fitting certain narrative archetypes. Anything can (and often will) happen, and all the reader has to do is hold on tight for an exciting ride.
The characters are great, each with his or her own, unique, quirky personality. It's nearly impossible to tell where the author is going to go next - past a certain point, I had no idea how in the world he was going to pull off a suitable ending (but, of course, he did) - which is a big part of the fun. At around four hundred pages, I felt like the novel was a bit long for how the main plotline is developed, but the story stays interesting and engaging the entire way through. The Order of Odd-Fish is a fantastic read if you're looking for something different from the current genre fads: its quirkiness and, well, oddness distinguish it as a fun read that stands out from the rest of the pack.
Reminds me of: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll