Furthermore is a fantasy–adventure, the story of twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow who has been born milk white from top to toe (but for a touch of colour to her eyes) in a land where colour defines you and represents your magic, Ferenwood. Her mother doesn’t seem to bother much about her and her father who loved her has disappeared three years ago, after he set out on his travels. Now that Alice is old enough, and ready to participate in the surrender, an annual ritual where the children surrender/demonstrate their talents and are given tasks accordingly, she is ready for adventure. But, things aren’t quite as simple as that, and it turns out that an adventure is already in store for Alice, as she must set out for the dangerous and magical land of Furthermore where her father has gone missing to find him, something she wants to do from the bottom of her heart. But in navigating these dangers, issues of trust, friendship, betrayal, belief and illusion must also be faced.
I absolutely loved this one. For starters, this book is so so imaginative and not only that, the author has put that imagination on paper so perfectly, with beautiful descriptions of the strange and fantastic worlds that our characters live in and travel to—the colour, the flowers and trees, the whole environment, really. From an imagination point of view this book very much made me think of Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series and her lands on top of the tree, though here the lands are far darker, but that said, these lands are very much Mafi’s own—nothing like Blyton’s. Then this book was also so Alice (the wonderland Alice I mean). There is a direct reference of course as Alice Queensmeadow too gets “curiouser and curiouser” but other than that there so many Alice-y lines which I loved. As usual I never marked them out when I was reading but here are a few:
‘We might be gone very long’.
‘As long as a caterpillar?’, she asked, one eyebrow arched as she inched the sky. ‘Or as long as an Ocean?’ She threw her arms wide.
‘Let’s go left’, Alice said, deciding. She got to her feet. ‘Everyone is always going right, and if so many people are going right, it’s bound to be wrong I think’.
‘Why do I need a ruler?’
‘Because’, he said. ‘Despite many inconsistencies, following rules is very important in Furthermore.’
Such good fun. I also felt a touch of the Little Prince, with the foxes Alice encounters though these have a special touch of their own which I loved. But really, these comparisons aside, Furthermore is very much its own story and a very enjoyable one. The plot is interesting, and while nothing extraordinary in a sense, is one which I really liked very much and with the gorgeous descriptions to carry it along, I loved every bit of it. Alice herself at first I found a little petulant, but before long I did like her and Oliver too, despite his flaws (in this both are very real people), one takes to. The little art work that there is, is also lovely—I wish there was more and in colour. This was an excellent read for me. Loved every bit of it!