In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?
Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.
Thoughts on the Overall Book: Like the first Chronicles of Kazam book, "The Song of the Quarkbeast" was a very fun, witty, escapist read. Not a huge amount of action or plot, but enjoyable and never boring.
Cover--Yea or Nay: Yes, I like the cover; it looks like a modern day fantasy novel, and I think reflects the overall feel of the book.
Characters: Jennifer continues to be an awesome protagonist, and pretty much the same as in the first book. I still love Tiger and the other cast of Kazam as well. We aren't introduced to a lot of new characters, but the ones we do get to meet, such as Once Magnificent Boo, ex sorceress turned Quarkbeast rescuer, I enjoyed reading about. Blix was a good slimy kind of fellow who you enjoy hating and, even though he only made a cameo appearance, I really enjoyed the King's Useless Brother. He was pretty hilarious and kind of endearing in his own way.
The Romance: None, unless you count Perkins crush on Jennifer, which I didn't have a problem with. She's too sensible to make it a problem.
Writing Style: Jasper Fforde's writing style is what makes these books. Jennifer's narration is always matter of fact, witty, and very enjoyable to read. I find myself laughing a lot reading these books, and I really love the satirical style the author uses. Like the first book, the real plot doesn't really show up in this one until the middle of the book, which would bother me if the plain stuff in these wasn't so engaging. As it is, while I could stop reading and put the book down easily enough through the first half, I was never bored with it, and it never felt like it lagged. I think the fact that the plots of these books aren't so desperately earnest is what makes them good escapist reads, and they always do make sense in the end, so I won't complain.
Accuracy/ Believability: Not applicable.
Problems/What bothered me: Not really any problems. We still haven't figured out why the Kingdoms are Ununited, but I've come to the conclusion that it's not important, and I'm thinking it's just part of the satire of the book.
Conclusion: 3 stars. Very enjoyable book, and one that's great to sit down with after a long day with a cup of coffee or tea. I look forward to future installments of the series.
Recommended Audience: ages 13 and up, guy or girl read. Again, I think readers of Patricia C Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles would enjoy these.