Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The 13 ½ Lives of Captain Bluebear A Novel by Walter Moers

This story is like a crazy cross between The Hobbit and The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. One of the most epic , wacky books I have ever had the pleasure to read. As the title suggests the book chronicles the adventures of a blue coloured bear named (very imaginatively) Bluebear who lives on the ancient continent of Zamonia. He begins the first of his lives floating on the ocean in an empty nutshell which is being sucked into a whirlpool before he is rescued at the last moment by some minipirates...and it just gets stranger from then on!

At over 700 pages long it is not for the faint hearted reader, having said that there are plenty of black and white drawings throughout the book to help keep the reader focused and interested.

The story itself is something of a rollarcoaster whizing about all over the place at breakneck speed. This ensures the reader doesn’t get bored and keeps the story flowing nicely. The story itself is very entertaining full of excellently rendered characters and some brilliant monsters and villains. The main character is very likeable which makes it easy for the reader to will him onwards.

The book isn’t perfect and there was a definate lul in the action about halfway through. The low points in the book for me included the time Bluebear spends in the desert and the congladiator battles in the city of Atlantis (where gladiators compete with each other to thrill the audience with the most intricate and entertaining lies) both of which dragged on and bored me quite a bit but this was unusual as the rest of the book is very action-packed.

There is a good amount of subtle humour contained in the pages; this is certainly not a book that takes itself too seriously. It is jam packed with Deus Ex Machina leaving you confidence Bluebear will always escape from a fix no matter how unlikely.
At the end there were some questions left unanswered but this wasn’t too much of an issue as the story is so bizarre if the author tired to tie up every loose end he’d need an additional hundred pages.

Overall a great adventure/fantasy/science fiction story read suitable for young adults and adults alike.

Rating 4/5

By Chris


  1. You convinced me to read this at the first sentence.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this. I agree that is is very weird, but I loved the strangeness of it all. I found it best to read it very slowly, so didn't really notice a lull in the middle, but can see how that might be the case if you read it over a shorter period of time. I'm going to have to track down more of his books soon.

  3. I've never heard of this book before, but I love The Hobbit and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (don't forget to bring a towel, lol). I definitely have to look this one up. :)

  4. @ Myke: Glad to hear you liked the review, hope you enjoy the book!

    @ Jackie: I did get through it quite quickly which is unusual for me but I did find it a page turner. I've got a copy of The Alchemaster's Apprentice which I will be reviewing here when I get around to reading it

    @ Darlyn: The Hitchhikers Guide and The Hobbit are two firm favourites with me and this one really did remind me of them in many ways. It is great fun to read and well worth it if you see a copy somewhere. The author has a vivid imagination


  5. If you are interested in other books by Moers I highly recommend The City of Dreaming Books. It's quite as entertaining as the Bluebear book but lacks the neverending enumerations which annoyed me while reading Bluebear.