First post by Clara π (a.k.a. aRandomStudent). Enjoy!

The Cover That Grabbed My Attention

Books, books, books! A city full of streets of bookshops full of shelves upon shelves full of books. And if that is not enough, there is a whole underground city, a complex network of caves and secret places, that are hiding very, very old books that are asleep and just waiting to be discovered and read. The grandeur of a library on such a massive scale should be enough to send bibliophiles swooning. You know who you are, ordering half-priced books on-line and browsing the aisles of Barnes&Noble in glee. Enter Bookville, a.k.a. City of Dreaming Books – they have enough books to kill you.

In Walter Moërs’ fantastic tale of this Zamonian City, we follow the story of Optimus Yarnspinner, a writer-in-training from Lindworm castle. He may be a bit of an unexpected adventurer in a fantasy novel – He worries about germs; He is an inexperienced traveler; He really is more poetic than athletic, but it was his poetic soul that set him off on his journey to Bookville in the first place. And hey, he is a dragon.

I was first drawn to this book by the title (which I thought was romantic) and the cover art (and I later found out that Moërs draws all his own illustrations). Then I read the dust jacket, which told me this is a book about books. How fascinating is that! Yes, I admit I judged the book by its cover, but that didn’t turn out too bad this time, did it?

My favorite aspect of this story is the vastness of the underground caves and tunnels. So many books! So many unexplored mysteries and dangers! So, time after time, I have to pick up this book and send Optimus Yarnspinner blundering into traps and walking into dark, unlit hallways.

My second favorite aspect of this story is that it always makes me so hungry. There are only about a handful of foods worth salivating after, and they described only briefly, but it makes me want to bake a loaf of bread and smother it with butter, black pepper, honey, and toasted almonds… but I desist, lest I give you a false impression that this is a culinary literature. (Read Alchemaster’s Apprentice for a good example of culinary literature.)

I heard rumors of The City of Dreaming Books being made into a movie in Germany, but I don’t know what became of it. If you, too, like the world of Zamonia and would like to explore it more, there are other works available from Moërs, such as 13 ½ Lives of Captain BluebearRumo & His Miraculous Adventures , and Alchemaster’s Apprentice. I found it interesting to read all four of them and find recurring characters and landmarks that connect the otherwise unrelated stories. I certainly hope Moërs will “translate” more Zamonian tales.