Book Review: The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear

The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear
The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whimsical, wild, and hilarious! Imaginative, original, and wacky! I’m trying to find some good adjectives to describe this book, but none of them do it justice. I have never read anything quite like this! There are just so many things that are thrown together in this story… it defies categorization.

Bluebear recounts his first 13 lives, which range from adventures with the tiny Mini-Pirates to the Babbling Billows (waves who talk), and onward to a pterodactyl, a deceitful Troglotroll, desert nomads, and a professor with seven brains. You never know what insane character or monster is going to pop into the story next! There are a lot of supporting characters, and they are all wacky and weird with their own detailed history and their own quirks and habits.

Bluebear is an endearing and hilarious character. He blunders along, bumping into monsters and natural disasters, and escaping death by an inch. He makes friends easily, and always sees the best in people. Bluebear is a hero that you WANT to follow into an adventure. He’s ready to walk along whatever road is in front of him, no matter where it leads.

One of the many things I loved about this book is that it expanded my vocabulary by at least 20 words, all of which I had to look up in the dictionary, and all of which were repeated in the story at least twice each, so that the words became firmly embedded in my memory. I love it when author’s use big words again later on, and it sparks your brain!

The only thing that I didn’t like was the endless explanations and descriptions of the characters and landscape and political systems, etc.. etc.. etc.. forever and ever into infinity (or what felt like infinity) for 700 pages. It’s beautifully inventive and marvelously imaginative though! Taken on its own, each paragraph of description about this richly diverse fantasy world is interesting and delightful. But when it stretches on and on for page after page, with no plot or dialogue, just explanation and description, then I get bored and my brain can’t take it all in.
Thankfully, those places were pretty few. Most of the time, we get back to some action fairly quickly.

I can’t wait to read more from this author!

View all my reviews

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