Mechthild Glaser’s The Book Jumper has a very promising start. The plot is fresh, the location is an island off the coast of gorgeous Scotland, and the main character has the ability to jump into the plot of any book (though all those written about seem to be Classics) and walk through the stories and even interact with the characters as long as she doesn’t interfere with the plot or change the story in any way. Which probably would have worked out just fine for Amy Lennox if someone else hadn’t been jumping into the book world and stealing ideas from the books. The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. The cyclone from Wizard of Oz. A monster from The Odyssey.
It’s up to Amy and fellow book jumper Will to solve the mystery of the thefts, which should all be very compelling reading except the story moves so bloody slowly that I felt as though I was dogpaddling through treacle.
Let’s think about this for a minute. Say I am Amy. I come from this awesome Scottish Isle called Stormsay. My people are sooooo special because we can jump into any book we want. Pardon me while I derail, but personally, I would have chosen something a little more modern. Hello, Song of Fire and Ice. Psst, Ned. Hey Ned, don’t go to King’s Landing, man. Trust me on this one, dude. Heads will roll, mainly yours, if you leave the North. Okay, jumping back on track here. So, I’m traipsing through the jungle with Shere Khan, watching some poor sop get drunk on ink, breaking all the carefully laid out rules, and I come to the revelation that all is not well in Booklandia. Do I immediately hatch a plan to catch whoever is stealing story ideas? No. Instead, I drag my feet through almost 200 pages of drudgery, name a whole bunch of people as the definite perp without actually solving anything, and then end up trapped in the book world with my possessed boyfriend and a psycho princess hell-bent on getting what she wants.
And instead of paddling through treacle, the action suddenly speeds up like the log flume ride at Busch Gardens. And a whole bunch of stuff which could have been spread out to make the rest of the book less boring, instead practically trips over itself to make it onto the page before the book ends. And we readers are left with this vague, half-assed resolution that doesn’t quite make sense. Okay, so Amy’s pedigree is half-human, half-book character, which we’ve known for quite a few chapters now, but all of a sudden she is going to lose her book jumping ability? Since when and how does she know this? As far as we readers know, Amy is the only person of this pedigree in existence, so I just can’t imagine how she jumped to that conclusion. And how nice that her boyfriend is left forever in the pages of his favorite book, not dead, but not really alive. And she’ll never see him again when she mysteriously loses her ability to book jump, but she seems fairly okay with that.
I, however, am not okay with that because I invested a lot of time in reading these disappointing 373 pages and, in the end, all I am left with is disappointment and quite a bit of anger at such a waste of an idea. What could have been a fascinating adventure in the land of literature ends in a poorly executed tome that missed the mark entirely.