4.5 out of 5 Stars
It’s Saturday morning (well, it is HERE at least!) so, what better to do with a Saturday morning than watch some Cartoons!! …or read about them anyways!
Some of you may remember my review from a little while ago for “Demonic Wildlife” which was a horror anthology. Well, one of my favourite stories was written by Jeremy Rodden and he expands on the wonderful world he created in this novel.
This is a book for all ages!! It almost reminded me of the old Bugs Bunny cartoons where, as a child they were silly and fun, and as an adult you looked back and thought “how did I not notice all of these references and double entendres??” You may not get all of the jokes and pop culture references at certain ages, but it’s an amazing story anyways!
Jacob Grenk is the only one who can be used for an experiment by “The Agency” and sent into Toonopolis to “do their bidding”. Only one catch, when Jacob enters Toonopolis he has lost his memory and has no idea who he is, or why he is there.
Taking on the name “Gemini” the only thing he can remember, he sets off with his “trusty” guide, Jimbob the Talking Eggplant, to find his memories and to get home.
I started this novel immediately getting feelings of “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, “Wizard of Oz”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and “Cool World”. Funny enough, I quickly realised that I was getting those vibes for a reason!
“Where am I?” was the question that jumped out of the boy’s mouth. He didn’t even have time to wonder how the mirror could hear him since it had no discernible ears. “How should I know?” the mirror retorted. “I’m just an antique looking glass.” The young man suddenly had an idea inspired by a story from his childhood about a young girl who, like himself, found herself in a strange land full of bewilderment. It was with this thought in mind that he decided to run headfirst into the mirror. A loud thud and his rump landing on the grass were all he earned for his bright idea. “Ow!” shouted the mirror. “What in the world did you do that for?”“I guess I can’t travel through you, huh?” The boy rubbed his head. He rose to his feet gingerly.”
“The rainbow-colored walkway was made of oddly shaped rectangular rocks with rounded edges. Or so he thought. He knelt down for a closer inspection and found the pathway to be made of a plethora of PEZ candies. “Follow the Rainbow-PEZ Road,”said a cheery voice behind him.”
These kinds of silly throw-backs and pop culture references are riddled throughout the book and made me laugh all the time!! (Sometimes, these sorts of things make me wonder on the shelf life of books as, there may be a day that people don’t understand the references anymore..but, it won’t be while I’m still around!)
There are video game references,
“Well, we don’t have any other leads. Maybe if we pick one of these quests, we’ll get lucky.” Jimbob held out a piece of paper. “I like the first one.” Gemini turned to face Jimbob and snatched the paper out of his hand, saying, “Let me see that sheet.” He read aloud the first quest on the list “Questgiver: Bramaid Hanna. Reward: Ten silver. Quest: Slay five giant rats in the cellar of the Suckling Pig.”
“Enough talking,” cried Leothas. “It is your turn.” Gemini smiled. “So, what you’re saying is that you can’t attack me again until I attack you? Some magical force is making this fight turn-based? What happens if I just don’t attack you back?” Leothas looked stunned. He retreated from his attacking stance into a thoughtful one. He had one hand on his hip and rubbed his chin with the other. “I don’t know. I was always taught to take turns attacking. I don’t know any other way to fight.”“Yeah, good luck with that.” With a smirk, Gemini dropped his wooden sword into the dirt and walked up the road.”
References to certain franchises
“Toonopolis is constantly changing. The more well-known those other worlds are, the more rigid they become, like Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Or they become mixed up with so many different minds involved that they don’t even make sense anymore, like the Marvel Universe.”
To movie quotes (By the way… I’m pretty sure I’m in love with Jeremy Rodden for this quote thrown in from one of my favourite movies!!)
“Jack waved at Gemini. “By kids! Have fun storming the castle.”
Gemini had to travel through all of the different Toon realms from Supercity to Animetown to Camenot and picks up some wonderfully hilarious companions on the way
Miss Fire from Supercity
“Let’s see if we can fight fire with fire,” the superheroine said and hurled balls of fire at the wraith drake. The fireballs landed several yards away from Phantasm. “I guess Miss Fire’s not a misnomer,” said Jimbob. Miss Fire whirled on the eggplant with fire literally in her eyes. “Sorry, my mistake. I misspoke. I was misadvised by my brain.”
Wan Wan from Animetown
“Yuki cleared his throat. “I want to help.”Gemini looked sideways at the albino, who clearly was not a fighter. “Take Wan-Wan with you.”The mechanical Akita barked in agreement. “He is more than just a pet. He can help you.”“Yeah, he can fetch us the newspaper and pee oil onto our enemies,”Jimbob asserted. Yuki smiled and whispered something into Wan-Wan’s ear. A panel on the robot dog’s side opened and a missile launcher appeared and pointed toward Jimbob. “Ooh,”Jimbob said, retreating backwards.”
And Hawk from Camenot
“What’s his problem?” asked Angel in an uncaring tone. “We seek to destroy the shadow sorcerer, but we have no more leads, m’lady,” said Hawk. “Ooh, m’lady? A gentleman, eh? Whatcha doing later, Sir Knight?” Angel asked with a wink. “Serving my lord, Sir Goodypants, and assisting Sir Gemini in his quest to defeat the shadowy menace,” Hawk answered. Angel looked disappointed. “A paladin, huh? No use barking up that tree.”
And of course, who can forget Jimbob the talking Eggplant..
“He just sucks it up. Cows, crops, people. He sucked it all up.” Jimbob made a little whimper. Gemini thought at first that he was scared. After a glance at his purple companion, he realized he was trying to hold his tongue. “Just get it out,” Gemini said. Jimbob shook his head. “Come on, just say it.”“The shadowy figure sucks!” blurted Jimbob. “Feel better?” Jimbob nodded his head,”
I also love the tongue in cheek humor throughout the story because, being a Cartoon universe, nothing is ever as it seems!
“Gemini pointed to the sign. “Wouldn’t trolls be out of place here? I mean, they’re not really gothic or creepy. They seem like they’d fit better in Adventure Realm or Camenot.”
“Unless . . .”Jimbob began.
“You’re all probably fat, and I could beat you all up!”cried a voice from under the bridge. “Crap,”said Jimbob.
“What is it?”asked Miss Fire.
“An Internet troll.”
A small creature leapt from under the bridge onto the pathway at the base of it.
Gemini saw a teenager about his own age wearing a T-shirt decorated with a frowning yellow face. He had greasy black hair, fingernails that were painted black, looked as though he might have been crying.
“You’re all ugly and stupid,”said the troll. Gemini stared at it.
“Are you the grumpy old troll that lives under the bridge?”The troll’s eyes lit up at Gemini’s reaction.
“No, Dora, I live with your mom.”
This is a fabulous story that will have you laughing out loud CONSTANTLY! I love the world that Jeremy Rodden has built, I love his characters and I CAN’T WAIT to read the next instalment in the series!! I highly recommend this book to any lovers of Comedy, Cartoons, Video Games, Movies, Pop Culture, etc… SO PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS!!
If you’d like to check out more about Jeremy Rodden and his works please seek him out at:
Toonopolis is Best Served With
Saturday Morning Cartoon Cocktail
I found this fabulously nostalgic recipe over at http://www.onthebar.com/drinks/saturday-morning-cartoons and it was just PERFECT!! Described as a “big kid’s White Russian”
- 1 oz Rum
- .75oz Cognac
- .25oz Simple Syrup
- 1oz Lucky Charms infused milk (I’m sure that you could make this with any breakfast cereal though!)
- Marshmallow Root Bitters (I myself couldn’t track this one down… but, it was still great without!)
- The night before you are going to make this, put lucky charms in some milk and leave it overnight. Strain the cereal out and you have your infused milk!
- Mix all ingredients
- Garnish with Lucky Charms