TIMOTHY OTHER: THE BOY WHO CLIMBED MARZIPAN MOUNTAIN
by L. Sydney Abel
Middle Grade Fantasy
Timothy Other's birthplace has always been a mystery. 12 year-old Timothy lives at the Dreams and Hopes Orphanage where he was abandoned as an anonymous infant. Timothy’s world crumbles when the orphanage is repossessed by the bank and comes under the strict rule of the horrid Mr. Sterner and the scaly-skinned Ms. 'Fishy' Finn.
He escapes the Dreams and Hopes Orphanage and travels to the bizarre world of Marzipan Mountain, where he befriends some amazing creatures. Timothy seeks to discover his true origins and becomes embroiled in a matter of life and death, facing the evil forces that crave the secret of 'Golden Life'.
When I read the title, I had to read this book, not for a logical reason though. Simply the idea of Marzipan Mountain and the beautiful cover page did it...as said, one never knows what grabs the attention.
This is a story chucked full of fantasy, not the magic throwing/dragon flying type, but honest to goodness magic of the lovely child type sort. There are fantastical creatures, but the characters, mystery, friendships and delightful life messages thrown in make this so much more. I was captured up into the book from the very first pages by the fantastic narration and writing. It's humorous and pulls right in with just the perfect twist on names, actions and details, reminding a bit of Dahl or Snicket.
The characters are well done, each with their own personality and purpose, and it's impossible not to fall in love with a few of them. The story is told from several view points, which seems to get a little muddled in the middle, but by the end, the purpose of the different directions becomes clear. There's simply so much involved--a little mystery, a little fantasy, a little friendship and danger. In many ways, it pulls elements from genres together and molds them into a delightful tale kids ages 10+ are sure to enjoy.
One of the things I appreciated about this tale was the slight sense of darkness. Timothy is not a perfect character of roses and sunshine but has his sharp corners. But this suits him just fine and makes him easier to sympathize with. After all, the story does have to go somewhere. There are some harsher comments and moments too, which might bother some (quick mention of throat slitting), but it's by no means concentrated on or taken to a degree inappropriate for the intended audience. I found the sayings and thoughts often very meaningful and simply a delight to read. They are worded in such a way which is fun to read, but still, makes one stop to think because the messages are deeper than they first appear.
Summed up, this is a lovely tale with tons of delicious magic, fantasy and mystery. It's the type of adventure kids can fall into and get lost in. Humor abounds in subtle details, creating the perfect balance for the more darker corners. In other words, I can highly recommend this to kids ages 10+.
And here he is. . .
L. Sydney Abel!!!