Friday, November 26, 2010
By Alan Dean Foster
Jonathan, full time college student and part time janitor, musician, and pot smoker, was just sort of drifting through his life, not a total screw-up, but not all that focused and driven either. But all that didn’t matter much when he found himself transported from the ordinary world into a fantasy world of talking, intelligent animals, all at the behest of a powerful, but frequently befuddled wizard. And in typical befuddled fashion, the wizard, Clothahump, the turtle, had set forth to summon from the universe a wizardly engineer to help him defeat a terrible evil threatening his world. But what he got was Jonathan the student and part time janitor, whose job title was “sanitation engineer.”
So now Jonathan is stuck in Clothahump’s world because Clothahump exhausted his powers summoning Jonathan and is unable to return Jonathan home. And Jonathan now has to cope with a world where otters wear boots, robins deliver the mail, rabbits cheat at dice, and where the most powerful wizard in the world is a senile turtle with drawers in his shell and glasses on his beak because he can’t remember where he put the spell that would cure his nearsightedness. Good thing that Clothahump is not quite as senile as he may seem, since before much longer it becomes very apparent that Jonathan, or as he is known there, Jon-Tom, has some magic powers of his own, once he finds a stringed instrument and begins to play and sing: Jon-Tom is the Spellsinger. But will his newly found powers enable him to help Clothahump or to find his way back to his own world?
This is the first book in the Spellsinger series and is really an introduction to the story and the main characters. Nothing much is accomplished in the story besides introducing the reader to the characters and to Jon-Tom’s discovery of his magical powers. Jon-Tom, Clothahump and their band of allies set forth to gather forces against the coming time of evil but, in this story, nothing more really happens other than the starting out on their journey. They have some adventures, Jon-Tom works some spells that don’t quite turn out the way they were supposed to, and they pick up a few friends along the way and we are briefly introduced to the enemy, the Plated Ones, who turn out to be bugs intent not only on world domination, but on taking over the whole universe.
It’s an okay story. Jon-Tom’s fumbling but infrequent attempts at magic are kind of amusing. I can’t say I found the story particularly compelling or even enthralling. The next book in the series isThe Hour of the Gate.