The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy Let me begin by saying I love this cover. Its very odd, beautiful and perfect. It's the reason why I picked up the book. Normally I don't look up cover artist but this time I couldn't resist. It's like when I listen to a jazz song every once in a while one artist will stand out forcing me to check the liner notes. No liner notes this time but I did have Google. The cover illustration by John Myers and the book designer is Angela Carlino.
The Order of the Odd-Fish is a visual treat. 13 yr old Jo Larouche lives with her aunt Lily Larouche in California. As a baby Jo appeared out of the blue in Lily's washing machine with a warning attached- This is Jo, please take care of her. But beware this is a dangerous baby. Up until now Jo has been anything but, she is actually more responsible then Lily. Lily a former actress is very outgoing the novel opens with Lily's annual Christmas costume party.
"The party had moved inside and the dancing had begun. A squid glided across the dance floor, its tentacles wrapped around a dainty geisha. A table of centipedes in tuxedos played whist as a pack of witches and monkeys argued politics."
The party is crashed by Colonel Korsakov and his partner Sefino a 3 foot tall cockroach ( Sefino my have just been in my bathroom but he wasn't wearing a bowler hat and didn't contribute to the rent so I sprayed) The two were at the party because Korsakov digestion was telling him he needed protect Jo. A box falls from the sky for Jo from the order of the odd fish. Korsakov had stolen the box from Ken Kiang, an evil man in training.
Jo, Lily,Korsakov and Sefino are swallowed by a large fish and spit out in Eldritch City, home to the order of the odd fish. Lily and Korsakov are Knights, and Sefino like all cockroaches is a butler. The three had their memories removed when they where exiled from Eldritch City. When Jo was born the city the Silent Sister's threatened to destroy the city if they didn't get Jo. Now that Jo is back in Eldritich she can't tell anyone who she is or they may try to kill her.
Jo is a likeable and mature 13 yr old. The book is filled with some very interesting characters, I was partial to the cockroaches who loved to give grand speeches.
"An ugly and withered cockroach laid hold of Jo, causing her to yelp and step back. Do not fear I understand your cries of ecstasy , said the cockroach leaning forward. It is not often that I condescend to touch my admirers I am of course the great Benozzo. Jo's skin winced under the cockroaches slick hairy claw. Please take your hand off of me. Yes the thrill overwhelms you ? You wonder if you can bear the exaltation of my touch a moment longer"
The Order of the Odd Fish is hard to describe but it's a whole lot of fun to read. I laughed out loud many times. Kennedy's word choice is smart and witty. I love that Kennedy appreciates the sophistication of a teenage reader. This isn't the type of book you show to everyone it needs just the right reader. So I will probably leave it on a table allowing the cover and reader to find each other
Check out another The Order of the Odd Fish post by bookworm4life http://bookworm4life.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/the-order-of-odd-fish/