Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Mousehunter, by Alex Milway

In an alternate world, mice come in all sizes and shapes, and have proven to be the most versatile helpmates a human could long for. And in this world, young Emiline yearns to fine tune her mousekeeper skills to the point that she can one day be considered a mousehunter. But in the meantime, she has left the employ of her eccentric mouse-collecting Lovelock to join the privateer Drewshank on an expedition to capture the dread pirate Mousebeard. Through storms and sea monsters, Emiline and her trusty gray mouse Portly take the adventure of their lives.

An extremely developed and colorful fantasy read, Milway's descriptions of all of the various mice that populate his world are the true highlight of this book. And the book certainly has enough twists and turns to keep things busy. However, Milway seems to delight in throwing in these details and twists not so much to keep the story exciting as much as to fill the story with activity. Far too many storylines are introduced and die with a whimper. And I found the constantly shifting narrative voice (sometimes with the girl, sometimes with the privateer, and even sometimes with the villians) very distracting. This is not a story for character development (or even growth) and that makes for dry reading. Very creative but dreadfully dull (in spite of its frenetic activity level).

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