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Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi


by Tahereh Mafi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Furthermore (1)

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"Dear Alice," he said, reaching for her. "Why must you look like the rest of us? Why do you have to be the one to change? Change the way we see. Don't change the way you are.
This book was a rainbow of colours what swallowed me whole and made me get lost in the world of Furthermore.
It was pure magic, blinking and shining in every single object.
It was the beginning of the road that leads from childhood to adulthood.
It was faith and lies, innocence and cruelty, laugh and sadness.
It was a modern Alice in Wonderland, and believe me when I say that this is not something I would normally say to anyone.

I was thinking to have in my hands a simple books for children, but since the author is Tahereh Mafi I should have expected much more (also because there is this slightly creepy atmosphere due to attempts of cannibalism - or better "magicalism"? Anyway, not the best way to make children sleep lol).

The style was so unique, though completely different from the Shatter me series. Here the narrator in rather intrusive, and her amazing, witty comments are directly intertwined with the interior monologues that perfectly describe Alice's feelings.
Alice, Alice... at the beginning she reminded me so much of Pippi Longstocking for her peculiarity (you don't meet often someone eating flowers), love for nature, innocence and sense of freedom. She was so spontaneous, exactly like children are, and I often related to the things she claimed.
She sighed. Being alive, she realized, was very tiring.
The incredible thing about her is that her moods influenced mine: when she danced happily in the middle of the forest I felt full of energy and positivity, while in the scene of the Surrender I couldn't help but feeling defeated too. It's not so usual for me to feel so much empathy towards a character, that's why I was really impressed.
And yes, as everyone of us does, she still had the need of being accepted despite her differences from the other people, craving for being like the others. But the reason why I found this book so inspiring and moving is the message that the reader discovers together with her:
It no longer mattered how the world saw her; what mattered was how Alice saw herself. Alice would choose to love herself, different and extraordinary, every day of the week.
This is something that everybody should be aware of, and reading Furthermore is the perfect way to learn it.

Aside from the important message, the setting (both Farrenwood and Furthermore) was utterly fascinating. I'm not really into descriptions, but in this case it was a pleasure to read them just to discover the peculiarities of Furthermore's villages and people and to imagine those absurd but wonderful landscapes that each day revealed a new surprise.
And last but not least, the strong friendship that was slowly built between Alice and Oliver was absolutely, completely moving.
( )
  Shay17 | Mar 30, 2018 |
So I was hoping this would be a fun middle grade adventure with a good friendship and a really cool magical world - this was not what I got. I found the main character, Alice, quite annoying, and not really likeable at all. Oliver was also equally unlikeable.

The plot meandered, not really getting to the point, and the end of the book was just rushed.

I really did not enjoy the writing. I almost DNF'd this at page 20, but I thought I would give it a go...and then I just kept reading because I felt I needed to finish it for the Booktube SFF awards.

I really didn't enjoy this tale and I just found it meh. ( )
  jdifelice | Jan 20, 2018 |
The narrator has a very odd voice - very unique. Similar in style to Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett - conversational with the audience. This took me a chapter or two to get used to, but I found it exceptionally enjoyable once I did get used to it.
From the first chapter, I found myself very invested in the innumerable questions this story brought up - who, and how and why? So many mini-mysteries with answers getting parcelled out sparingly. However, those questions keep piling up on top of each other under I was crushed under their weight and I simply stopped caring. Once the adventure kicks into gear, the quality of the story plummets. It becomes a journey of the two most stubborn people in their world. Alice won't listen to anything Oliver tells her despite him proving again and again he knows what he's talking about. Oliver won't answer any of Alice's questions despite Alice proving time and time again she will &^%* everything up with her naivete. I was disappointed with such a promising book. ( )
  benuathanasia | Jan 13, 2018 |
Furthermore caught me up right from the second set of opening lines: "The sun was raining again. Soft and bright, rainlight fell through the sky, each drop tearing a neat hole in the season." (To be fair, I was intrigued by the little prelude, too.) It is a magical setting, a bit of a Wonderland but mostly just completely other-worldly, where metal coins grow on bushes, sunlight can rain down in drips and drops, and there are 632 planets mixed in with the stars in the night sky. Well, and also, a place where everyone has a little big of magic in them. The vocabulary and evocative phrases do justice to this setting by never settling for the prosaic and always picking words or metaphors that are at ninety-degree angles to the usual - not completely outrageous, but definitely unexpected.

I was enjoying the oddly skewed writing and the "Dear Reader" cozy-narrator voice, then stopped short when one of the major themes of the book was introduced in the following lines: [Alice] wanted Mother to grow up—or maybe grow down—into the mother she and her brothers really needed. But mother could not unbecome herself, so Alice was resigned to loving and disliking her just as she was, for as long as she could bear it." -- that "could not unbecome herself" phrase spoke volumes while being a little silly or whimsical on the surface. But that is, ultimately, the theme here: Alice is 12 years old and must grow into herself, and in the process learn that her parents are their own people, too. Well, she also must learn that other people are people, too, all with their own secret thoughts and conflicting interests, just like herself.

Another theme in the book is about friendship and family, and that it's possible to care deeply about other people while being frustrated with them or even disliking them. I don't know that this theme was quite so well executed, because the adventuring companion who is meant to illustrate it never endeared himself to me. Oliver has the golden tongue gift of persuasion, which he uses all the time out of childish selfishness, but also he was an enormous bully to Alice partly because of that magical talent, and I never felt that he redeemed himself (even when he explained why he was so cruel).

The first half of the book was all about setting up these themes and indulging in descriptions of the magical Ferenwood. The chatty narrator made it a lot of fun to read. But then Alice and Oliver go to Furthermore and the story is less fun. The land of Furthermore is like a series of video game levels that must be passed through to get to the next, and then finally (presumably) to defeat the boss at the end and discover Alice's father. While each level, or town, was interesting and suspenseful, the video game impression made it tedious and frustrating. Oliver has been through Furthermore before and knows all the rules, but he never tells Alice anything. (To be fair, she doesn't want to talk to him.) My active interest in reading the book began to wane, and I only kept going out of hope that it would pick up again.

Ultimately, the ending was a bit anticlimatic for a video game plot (though the last level was excellent, and the constant threat of death made things more interesting), but I was very satisfied with how most of the themes were addressed and wrapped up.

For all that the middle of the book got wearisome, I enjoyed the writing style throughout and the themes seemed very appropriate for middle grade reading alone or for reading out loud with kids of any age. I would have certainly liked it when I was 10 or 11. I love Alice a lot and enjoyed spending time with her, and I had fun reading about the different towns in Furthermore and Ferenwood. ( )
  keristars | Nov 26, 2017 |
Furthermore is an adventure, fantasy novel.

Alice lives in the city of Ferenwood, a beautiful place of color. Magic lives within the natural world, so they eat flowers and other natural resources to feed themselves with magic. When one turns twelve, one displays his/her magic to everyone in the Surrender ceremony and receives a task. It’s Alice’s turn--she’s now twelve. She’s excited about change because her life is not as she would like it. She has zero color. She feels as she is judged for being different. Her mother doesn’t help because she doesn’t treat Alice nicely. She expects her to find her ferenberries (which are near impossible to find) and bring them for supper. Her homelife is even sadder because her father disappeared three years ago, and no one knows where he is.

The day before Alice’s Surrender, Oliver appears. Alice does not like Oliver. He wants her to help him with his task he received a year ago. Alice has been looking forward to getting her task, finding her father, and moving on with her life. She does NOT want to see Oliver. Oliver asks her to forego her own task and help him. Afterall, his task is to find her father. Alice refuses and shares her talent in the Surrender. She chooses to go with Oliver to find her father. They must navigate the world/cities known as Furthermore.

Furthermore is a magical place as well, but it is far more dangerous that Ferenwood. Oliver has navigated it for the last year and promises he can get Alice through it and to her father. Unfortunately or fortunately, they end up on a different path and go different places than Oliver has been before. Moment by moment they are in danger, especially of being eaten. It’s a race to find Alice’s father before they lose their lives.

I liked the book for the most part; I just thought it could be shorter. The end was rather anti-climatic, but the world of Furthermore was very imaginative and interesting. It’s a solid middle school novel that I think many will like. It’s along the lines of Monstrous, Magic Mirror and Snicker of Magic, but I don’t think it’s as well-written. ( )
  acargile | Oct 11, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tahereh Mafiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pinchot, BronsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Twelve-year-old Alice Queensmeadow, with the help of her friend Oliver, travels through the dangerous, magical land of Furthermore in order to rescue her missing father and prove her own magical abilities"--

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