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The Indigo King: The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, Book Three

Review

The Indigo King: The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, Book Three

Good fantasy books have adventure, suspense, mythical creatures and lands, intricate plots and maybe even some time travel. THE INDIGO KING is all that and more, plus it has cool dragons.

Many things make The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series unusual and worthwhile reading. In addition to the writing, James A. Owen does the art for these books, including the beautiful covers and chapter introduction pages. While his vivid descriptions bring scenes alive, the drawings add another dimension. The main characters are famous fantasy authors as young adults and scholars, before they have begun writing. In the first installment of what is so far a trilogy, readers learned that Jack, John and Charles are actually C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Charles Williams. They are the Caretakers of the Imaginarium --- a place where myth and legends exist in the Archipelago of Dreams and affect the real world --- who ensure that the land and its secrets are kept sacred, thus keeping the worlds safe.

In this third adventure, Charles is away in Paris while Jack and John are having dinner with Hugo Dyson. A mysterious book arrives with a cryptic message that seems to have been written in Hugo’s blood in another time. They find a door in a field, and Hugo disappears in it. Then they discover that what they thought was their England is now a dark and dismal land, partially because of what happened after Hugo went back in time. The Archipelago is gone, and the Winter King is in charge.

Former caretaker Bert is stuck in the past but gives them a time travel device left by another caretaker, Jules Verne. In it are five scenes, moments in time when Mordred began his dark rise to power. Jack and John are in different centuries, from ancient Alexandria to when Arthur became king, and quickly find that the identity of the Cartographer is key to understanding how their world could fall under the terrible reign of the Winter King. They also meet a man who looks like Charles and calls himself Chaz. He accompanies them, along with the Badgers (at least some of the time) and a magic Serendipity Box. Whenever someone opens it, the person holding the box will be given what they need most.

There are many layers in Owen’s novels, and action and clues fill each chapter. In addition, there is a great deal of humor, from a present-day character trapped back in time who worries about the lost cause of the Chicago Cubs (this Chicago reviewer certainly caught that!) and refers to Mark Twain, to twisting tales from Arthurian legend. While reality and legend mix in Jack and John’s worlds, they also do so in these books. References to Odysseus and other famous literary heroes occupy the pages, and it’s doubtful that all could be caught by readers even after two readings. But it’s fun to find heroes and legends popping up throughout time and distance in the story.

No Imaginarium novel would be complete without the dragons and the dragon ships. Readers will not be disappointed at how the mythical creatures and people help Jack, John and even Chaz sort time out properly again. A new character, Rose, offers hints that at least one more tale is to come in this smart, mind-bending, fantastic series.

Reviewed by Amy Alessio on March 9, 2010

The Indigo King: The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, Book Three
by James A. Owen

  • Publication Date: March 9, 2010
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1416951083
  • ISBN-13: 9781416951087