Book Review: Timothy Other: The Boy Who Climbed Marzipan Mountain by L. Sydney Abel (*Review Copy*)

Title: Timothy Other: The Boy Who Climbed Marzipan Mountain
Author: L. Sydney Abel
Published: 29 September 2014
Publisher: Summer Solstice
Twitter: @lsydneyabel


Timothy Other’s origins are a mystery. He has lived all his life at the orphanage where he was abandoned as an anonymous infant. The Dreams and Hopes Orphanage, run by the magnanimous Mr Penny, is a happy place, filled with love. But Timothy’s world crumbles when Mr Penny dies. The orphanage is repossessed by the bank, and comes under the draconian rule of the horrid Mr Sterner (with his ‘custard-crease smile’) and the scaly-skinned Ms ‘Fishy’ Finn.

Timothy escapes from the orphanage hidden in a basket on a removals lorry, which is then put aboard a cargo plane. The plane crashes, hurling Timothy into a strange land and a bizarre, surreal adventure.

Review (Original review amended)

I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in return for an honest review.

This is a fantasy adventure story for young adults/Adults, full of villains, magical creatures and adventurous heroes.

The story follows the tale of 12-year old Timothy Other. He was left outside an orphanage as a baby and was living a pleasant life there until the orphanage comes into the possession of the shady Mr Sterner and his cohort, Ms Finn.
I have to admit that I had some difficulty getting into the book at first. The style of writing is very descriptive and ‘wordy’ which made it somewhat difficult for me to see past the words and into the story itself. In the first few chapters, it sometimes felt that the the meaning of a sentence was slightly lost and there were definitely some sentences that I found myself reading several times in order to take in the full meaning. However, once I got through the first few chapters I became immersed in a fantastic adventure story that older children would love. The author obviously has a great imagination!
There were a few niggles that I had with the story. The first issue was on page 39 where there is a bit of repitition in referring to the pilots as “those poor broken bodies“. I am aware that I am being pedantic with this point, however I am not sure there was any reason why Timothy would know them to be “broken” when he did not see the pilots following that specific event

Another issue that really stood out to me is the fact that some of the dialogue is maybe not what I would have expected to see within the book and I fully accept that this is based upon my expectations and is not necessarily a criticism of the book. Timothy appears to use a lot of sarcasm or mocking humour in a way that sometimes seems quite unpleasant. The author has kindly explained to me that whilst Timothy does use sarcasm or mocking humour, this is because he is still coming to terms with the fact that he is having a conversation with two unusual and unexpected characters. Sarcasm is his way of dealing with the situation. The author also explains that sarcasm is often used in the real world between friends and I accept that this manner of speech has been included as a realistic element within the story. 

Finally, one item that stuck in my mind was on page 42 where one character refers to another as a “gluttonous fat fool“. The author has explained that the two characters in question had only just gained the ability to speak and had not been taught the hurtful nature of calling  people names, as such they state the obvious without thought. There is also a point later in the book (which I will not divulge as I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone) which explains why one of the characters was deliberately gorging on food during the earlier chapters. I accept that the phrase may not have been said between the characters in a malicious way, the two being best of friends, however I am still slightly uncomfortable with the way that a phrase about weight/size could be perceived as an insult/slur. 

My comments above are not intended to be criticisms of the story, but merely my thoughts whilst reading the book. I am aware of how easy it is to find issues/criticisms within a story/book when reading it for the purpose of reviewing and it is very possible  that someone reading the same book for pleasure will not notice those same issues. As such, I do not intend to run through every ‘niggle’ that I had with the book as most will relate to my personal taste rather than any fault with the story.

The characters are well developed and you really feel for Timothy and his friends, Leopold and Edwin, as they work together to try to save the orphanage from the hands of the hateful Mr Sterner and Ms Finn, not to mention the evil Mr Hargreaves.

Overall, I thought this was an imaginative and fun adventure story which I did enjoy. I would be happy to recommend the book to others. I would be interested to read one of his other stories in order to see how his writing style translates into other stories.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 

The book is released in electronic format and is currently for sale at the bargain price of £0.77 on Amazon UK.

About the Author

L. Sydney Abel is the pen name of Lawrence Abel. The name was inspired by L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Lawrence has always used the written word, in his song writing and more recently, in his story writing. Several of his story ideas have been whispered to him by someone unknown, usually during the twilight hours.

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