There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other.
But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit–and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice’s wits (and every limb she’s got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself–and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Number of Pages: 416
Publishing Date: Aug. 30th, 2016
I received a free ARC of this book via a Twitter giveaway,
but this in no way influenced my opinion on this novel.
If you’ve been reading my blog posts for a while then you’d probably know that one of my favorite authors is Tahereh Mafi. There’s just something about her writing style that completely and utterly enchants me and I find myself flying through any piece of literature that she writes. After falling in love with the Shatter Me series (which has become my favorite series of all time), I was honestly a bit nervous when Tahereh announced this book. Now, you’re probably thinking, “But Courtney, you love Tahereh Mafi, why would you be nervous?!” That’s exactly the reason, though! I love Tahereh so much, but every time a favorite author of mine comes out with a new series or a new standalone novel, I find myself worried that I won’t like it. Has that ever happened to you before? You’re totally in love with an author and then they release a new book and you’re all hyped up for it and then you read it and you feel kind of… eh? That’s what I worried was going to happen with this book, especially because it’s middle-grade, which is a genre I’ve never read before (I know, I know, I need to read Percy Jackson soon).
Thankfully, however, my worries faded away within the first few pages of this novel. I once again found myself enamored within the beauty of Tahereh’s writing and, although it took me about a week to finally dive into the story because I somehow found myself in a bit of a reading slump, I sped through the last 350 pages of this novel in one sitting.
Furthermore was a whimsical and magical novel full of important lessons to be learned, witty characters, and an overall theme that inspires self-love and confidence. I really, really enjoyed this story and, although I only just finished reading this novel a few hours ago, I’m already missing the adorable characters and wonderland of a world that Tahereh Mafi has created.
The rest of this review is spoiler-free.
Furthermore tells the story of twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow, a colorless girl living in the ultra-colorful and magical land of Ferenwood. It’s been three years since her father has gone missing and she’s desperate to find him. Once she pairs up with Oliver, a boy who holds magical abilities based on lying and deceiving, she must venture into the land of Furthermore to find her father. The premise of this novel intrigued me immediately, and I was quickly struck by the originality that Tahereh had brought into this story. While it took me a few chapters to thoroughly invest myself within this plot, I soon found myself truly mesmerized by the beauty of this story.
I’m going to reluctantly start out with the parts of this book that I didn’t like that much, and just note that this is rather painful for me to write considering how much I adore this author and this story, but I’m of course going to keep this review completely honest. So, with that being said—there were parts of this novel that weren’t perfectly put together. There were parts that developed too quickly and were a bit too cliché or held problems that the characters were able to solve much too easily. This is a middle-grade novel after all, so I knew that there were going to be some situations where a too-good-to-be-true solution was going to occur, but the parts of this book that this characteristic was so heavily evident in were the ending chapters of this novel. Everything was so fast-paced and rapidly being put together that I found it rather anti-climatic, which caused me to wish that the ending was longer so there could’ve been more detail and unexpected twists put into the last few chapters, rather than just a perfectly put together happy ending.
Now, putting those thoughts aside, let’s get to what I loved about this novel: I loved how quirky and strange this story was. I loved that sometimes I would be confused, but then a few chapters later it would all make sense and I would be able to have that “Ah-ha!” moment that I know all too well when it comes to fantasy books. This plot was so different from anything I’ve ever read and it was so much fun to read.
“The truth was that Alice would always be different—but to be different was to be extraordinary, and to be extraordinary was an adventure.”
I really enjoyed the journey that Alice and Oliver went on and I loved exploring through the areas of Furthermore that appeared in the novel. Tahereh’s writing style is so intricately detailed, so the settings that were described in this book are out-of-this-world (literally). The land of Furthermore was so different from what I expected and this story as a whole was much darker and held such a deeper meaning then I ever thought it would contain. I really, really enjoyed the plot of this novel and, while it had it’s flaws, it was wonderful and eccentric and colorful and when I finished reading it I was overcome with a feeling of universal happiness and warmth that only Tahereh Mafi could provide to me as an author.
Alice Alexis Queensmeadow is an adorable ball of sassiness and cleverness and I just want to be her best friend, okay? The character development that she went through was blatantly obvious and I loved watching her grow so much throughout the story. Alice is strong, determined, quirky, and tenacious, and I loved her so much as a main character.
“Alice would choose to love herself, different and extraordinary, every day of the week.”
Okay, I don’t know what it is about Tahereh’s male characters, but I grow thoroughly attached to them within a few pages of being introduced to them. Was Oliver perfect when he came into the story? No. He was rather rude and atrociously inconsiderate towards Alice, but I still somehow fell in love with his character fairly quickly. I kept relating his mannerisms and description to a certain someone in the Shatter Me series (*cough*Warner*cough*), which I know I shouldn’t have done but, urgh, I just couldn’t help myself. Oliver’s character development was so well-executed and I’m always amazed at the characters that Tahereh comes up with because I usually end up loving them immensely.
The writing style, the freaking writing style of this novel. I love Tahereh’s writing and the writing within this book was so descriptive and intricately detailed and I loved enveloping myself in it completely. I loved how there was second-person point of view at times and it never took away from the story at all; in fact, it really added to my overall enjoyment of this book.
Overall, I really loved this novel. It was whimsical, playful, rather dark at times, and so magical. This novel sent out a message of learning to love yourself for who you are and learning to not care about what others think of you, and this is such an important topic that I appreciated greatly. Tahereh Mafi continues to be one of my favorite authors and I’m really interested to see what she writes next, because I’d definitely love to see more of Alice and Oliver’s adventures!
So, have you read Furthermore? What did you think about it? Comment below!