Have Book – Will Travel by Kfir and Yonatan Luzzatto (Pine Ten, LLC, 2012)
(Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
Whether it’s off to Narnia through the magic wardrobe or falling down a rabbit-hole into Wonderland, transport to parallel worlds has always been a favorite in fantasy. In Have Book – Will Travel, the method of transportation happens to be a book – specifically, one Book of Dreams found by two friends, Darla and Max, in the storage room of an old fortress. Read a line aloud, any line, and within seconds, you’re in another dimension.
Plot-wise, the novel chronicles the adventures of Darla and Max as they flit from world to world. Max and Darla only visit two unnamed parallel worlds. The first, only briefly touched on, is ruled by gentlewomen who consider men to be second-class citizens. Upon the teens’ arrival, Max is thrown immediately into prison to await execution. After a few chapters spent trying to rescue Max, the two escape into a second world, one somewhat similar to their home world except for a few tweaks in the laws of physics. To be more exact, it’s not uncommon for people to find their spirits separated from their bodies, either by fever (you literally go out of your head from sickness) or, in Max’s case, dropping from the sky and landing on some poor unfortunate below – only to realize once you’ve gotten up and dusted yourself off that you’ve somehow knocked yourself out of your body and into that of the other person (whoops!).
Personally, I found the “Book of Dreams” premise to be a neat idea, but one that is not as fully explored as I had hoped. The two alternate worlds are not equally developed, which makes the flow of the story feel somewhat unbalanced. In all, I would recommend this for younger teens interested in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy or C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, both of which employ the “parallel world” premise.
Click on cover for image source.