Leven Thumps and the Ruins of Alder (Leven Thumps, #5) by Obert Skye
Phew! Finally done with Foo! I started reading the series to preview them for my kids, and I’m happy to say the Leven Thumps series is full of good, clean fun. There’s just enough comedy, suspense, adventure, mystery, imagination, and even puppy-love romance to keep the 8 – 16 crowd innocent but engaged.
I had fun reading about Leven and friends and their adventures in Foo. The characters were fun, and I especially enjoyed the humor and running gags that ran through all five books. I actually laughed out loud a few times!
For me, however, the laughs and the fun weren’t enough to get me emotionally attached to Leven, his friends, and especially Foo. I think it’s the fact that Foo is a dream world. How can you write about a world full of dreams and not be confusing? The author certainly has a broad imagination, and he deserves a big shout out for even being able to coherently create a dream world that wasn’t horribly stupid to read about. (For an example of the kind of horribly stupid dream world I’m talking about, watch that Robin Williams movie from a few years ago call What Dreams May Come. Actually, don’t watch it. It was horribly stupid. And it was about the afterlife, not a dream world. But you know what I mean.)
Unfortunately, my imagination just couldn’t wrap itself entirely around the concept of what Foo was supposed to be. There were too many times the rules of the story changed to move the plot along because it’s a dream land–“impossible isn’t a word” (as I was reminded many times throughout the books).
To me the way a book ends can really make or break the story. The ending of The Leven Thumps series felt rushed and confused. Some of the character resolutions just didn’t work for me. Strangely, I didn’t feel disappointed–I just didn’t feel anything. I wanted to be moved, but wasn’t. I just read the last page, turned off my Kindle, and immediately moved on. Where with similar stories like Harry Potter or Fablehaven the characters dwell in my mind long after I turn the last page, Leven and Clover and Geth and Winter didn’t stay in my head or my heart. Weird.
Perhaps I’m being too critical. Certainly 10 year olds don’t care about such things. If I were a pre-teen I think I would appreciate that the story was fun and that my imagination had to stretch and that in the end the heroes saved the day. I guess that’s really all that matters.
If there’s ever a movie made, I’d watch it. And until then, I’ll absolutely be recommending the entire Leven Thumps Series to my kids and yours.