Furthermore is one whimsical flight of fancy after another. If you’re looking for something charming and out of this world, this is the Middle Grade read for you.
This was my first Tahereh Mafi novel, and I really enjoyed it. This is the kind of book that throws you for a loop just for the heck of it, and never stops playing with you.
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I loved the structure of Furthermore – there are no chapter numbers, and the sectiosn are divided up by witty and wry commentary by the narrators. Things like, “More chapters this way” and “I haven’t any idea how many chapters are in this book.” The narrator himself/herself is peculiar and interesting – (s)he reminded me of my favorite narrator, Death from The Book Thief – often interrupting the story to make comments directly to the reader. It lent the story an intimate feel, which I liked a lot. I felt like a good friend was recounting this story to me.
The first half of Furthermore is a slow buildup to the real action – there is a very vast and strange new world to explore here, and it takes a while to set the stage for everything that is to come. It took me a couple of days to get into it, but then I sped through the last third in one sitting. Now, having finished it, I appreciate all the world building – Ferenwood and Furthermore are both fleshed out beautifully, and they’re such rich fantasy worlds. This is definitely a setting that will appeal to young readers. While the slower pace will leave some younger readers struggling through the beginning, this is a book that truly gains momentum the further in you go.
But – and I really must must must stress this – BUT Tahereh Mafi has a beautiful mastery over the English language. Her prose here shines on every single page. There is no metaphorical “rock” left unturned in this world that isn’t described in brilliant shimmery language.
My favorite part was probably Alice and Oliver’s time spent in the Land of the Left. Paramint was such a brilliantly executed character. I won’t give anything away about him, but I just loved the way Mafi takes his character.
Really, the deeper Alice and Oliver go into Furthermore, the more fun the book is. I could definitely see room for a potential sequel or series that spins off from this book. It’s a world too interesting for a standalone.
My biggest complaint was how short the ending was – it wraps up so neatly and in so little time that it felt a tiny bit anticlimactic. I thought there should have been more of a fight to get out, but it was all so simple once things began coming together.
So, I suppose my major complaint is I wanted MORE, which is never a bad thing, is it?
Furthermore is a delightful middle-grade read that I think adults and kids could all easily lose themselves in. I know I sure did.
Rating: 4/5 stars