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This book is one that I actually bought new. It’s been waiting to be read for a while. I’m not sure why I decided to read a large paperback with 702 pages this early in the year, but that’s what I did.

The 13 ½ Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers is the first book in a series, and has been translated from German. The series is based in the continent of Zamonia, which is situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and contains an entertaining array of unusual characters- minipirates, giant bolloggs, Troglotrolls, etc. This story follows the lives of Bluebear, who is found by Minipirates while floating in a nutshell in the ocean, and follows his many daredevil adventures. Each of his lives touches on a different area of Zamonia and the creatures he meets. Mixed in with the story of his life are excerpts from an encyclopedia of Zamonia lifeforms, philosophies, and phenomena, explaining what things and creatures are.

The story is full of Moers’ clever phrasing and fantastical imagination. This is also a great novel for learning new vocabulary- I came across words I’d never seen before, which is a rarity for me. Illustrations are found throughout the book, as are onomatopoeias, which would make this a great book for reading aloud, if you feel like reading 702 pages aloud to someone.

I started reading Moers’ books by reading The City of Dreaming Books, which is the third book in the series. Fortunately for me, each book mostly stands alone. I adored The City of Dreaming Books; it’s still one of my most favorite books I’ve ever read. Moers hides cunning little puns and wordplays throughout the book, and I felt a little glow each time I found or figured one out. The fun weirdness of the storyline, while at times sad or frightening, appealed to me.

The 13 ½ Lives of Captain Bluebear is a really good book, but I did not absolutely love it like I did The City of Dreaming Books. I did not get as emotionally involved in this one. I’m glad I read it, though, and I look forward to reading the further books in the series.