It's hard to say what drew me to Furthermore, by Tahereh Mafi. Perhaps it was the whimsical cover, the promise of magic and adventure, or the fairy tale-like quality with which the main character, Alice, is described in the synopsis below. Whatever it was, I'm glad I took a chance with this book. It wasn't 100% for me, but it might appeal to you! Read on for a spoiler-free review!
A captivating and colorful adventure that reads like a modern day fairy tale, from the bestselling author of the Shatter Me series.
Inspired by her childhood love of books like The Secret Garden and The Chronicles of Narnia, bestselling author Tahereh Mafi crafts a spellbinding new world where color is currency, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places.
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. 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.
I'd never read Mafi's books before, so I was pleasantly surprised by her lyrical writing! There were magical twists and turns and it was all delightfully described. I think the story of Furthermore was inspired and original, and there were some wonderful moments that made me chuckle.
However, I think her magical writing was the book's saving grace. Keep in mind that our protagonist, Alice, is only twelve years old. Many (if not most) things seem strange to her, and her journey into Furthermore is filled with confusion and lots of questions. I'm not going to lie, it was annoying at times. In my view, Alice was an extremely immature and careless adventurer, but again, she's only twelve years old. The beginning of the book dragged on and on for me, and didn't really pick up until Alice begins her adventure in the land of Furthermore, and even then, the story's pacing was all off.
That being said, there were some crazy whimsical devices to move the story along once it got there. There's an omnipotent narrator that sometimes pauses the story and explain a certain plot hole. There are no chapter numbers, rather text that might say "I don't know how many chapters there are" or "Keep reading for more adventure."
I wonder if my reading experience would have been different with a physical copy of this book in its fun design. I admit that it took me longer than usual to get through Furthermore. But if you read the story with the mindset that it's like a bedtime story or bizarre fairy tale going in, maybe you'll have a different feel for the overall story. This is a standalone book, but it's probably not something I'd pick up again.
I rate Furthermore 3/5 stars!