Sunday, August 25, 2013

Delightfully Bizarre Fantasy

The Order of Odd-Fish
by James Kennedy
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
4 Out of 5 Stars

It's difficult to decide what I should say about this book. If I could sum the novel up in one word it would be, well, odd. Or absurd. Or peculiar. And I mean this in the best possible way.The Order of Odd-Fish is a young adult fantasy that drips with the absurdist humor of Monty Python or Douglas Adams. Naturally, this secures me as a fan. 

The novel is about Jo Larouche, an orphan who was found with a note that said, "This is Jo. Please take care of her. But beware--this is a DANGEROUS baby." For that alone, Jo received notoriety, but interest in her quickly fades when it appears that she will be a normal child after all. Jo is raised by Lily Larouche, an eccentric and absent minded former Hollywood starlet who, despite being in her 80's, still parties like she did in her heyday. Through a few twists and turns, Jo and Lily find themselves in Eldritch City, a bizarre land of cockroach butlers, flying ostriches, and the Order of Odd-Fish--a knighthood dedicated to researching bizarre and useless facts when not defending the city. Lily, it seems, was once a member of Odd-Fish. However, after being accused of treason, her memory was wiped and she was exiled to the desert. Now that Lily is home and has her memory back, Jo learns of the circumstances surrounding her birth and a prophecy in which she plays a role in the destruction of the world--finally, Jo realizes just how dangerous she can be.

In the beginning, I wasn't crazy about the novel. I thought it was trying too hard to be bizarre, but once the characters find themselves in Eldritch City, the bizarre quality feels right. I would highly recommend the novel to young adult fantasy fans.  

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