Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Imaginality of Somewhere (Someone)

The Imaginality of Somewhere
(The Imaginality series, Volume 1)
Fiction, YA Fantasy
*+ (Terrible/Bad)

DESCRIPTION: Many city kids, forced to move to a farm in the middle of nowhere, would be angry, or at least depressed, but not Ellie and Thomas. This farm once belonged to their great-grandmother Grathie; she used to tell them stories about a hidden magical world, known as Somewhere, that could be found in just such a place. Ellie, ever the adventurer, just knows Somewhere is real, and can't wait to find it, despite the skepticism of her more rational twin brother. Even learning that the farmland hasn't produced a viable crop in decades can't dampen her enthusiasm. When the kids stumble upon the key to the magical portal, they can hardly believe they're standing inside Grathie's stories... only Somewhere isn't the paradise their great-grandmother described. Something's gone wrong in the magical world, and it's up to Ellie and Thomas to set things right.

REVIEW: I think this may be the quintessential Fluffy Bunny story. It's composed of generic, snap-together components, like the Brainy Boy, the Brave Girl, the Mysterious Stranger, the Magical World and its Friendly Denizens, and so forth, held together with sugar and bubblewrap. The children seem to have sprung into existence simply to have this magical adventure; they don't miss television or the Internet, and actually carry fully-loaded backpacks of "adventure gear" (color-coordinated with their compass wristwatches) like characters out of a bad Saturday morning cartoon series. For that matter, their parents seem several degrees too foolish to function as adults, somehow convinced that they can turn a profit off a nonproductive farm when top-scientist Dad can't even figure out how a tractor works. Somewhere is one of those worlds unique to Fluffy Bunny fantasies, where the dense yet helpful residents suffer for years, decades even, under problems that underage outside visitors resolve in a single afternoon's light questing. Everyone's a friend except for the villain, and even he really isn't so bad after a good, firm talking-to by the heroes. Sinking this tale further in the ratings, the author (the ever-so-cleverly pseudonymed "Someone") not only repeats herself incessantly, but gets far too clever for her own good with the narrative. Still, I suppose there must be an audience for this sort of bland, no-calorie snack of a story... somewhere.

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