Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ignatius Macfarland: Frequenaut Paul Feig

Ignatius Macfarland: Frequenaut! by Paul Feig Ignatius (Iggy) has already traveled to another world. Frequenaut is the retelling of his adventure. 12yr old Iggy is teased by his classmates, he's called Piggy and MacFartland. Iggy uses a telescope to search for UFO's that will take him back to his real planet. Iggy convinces his friends Gray and Ivan to help him build a spaceship. Iggy had no intention of flying in the spaceship, once the fuse is lit, he remembers his dads Shakespeare book is inside. The spaceship explodes while Iggy's inside. Rather then die Iggy is transported to another world. In the new world Iggy sees a dog in a tree and a cat who thinks its a dog scare the dog in the tree. It was a very nice Skippyjon Jones moment. At home dogs love Iggy in this new world cats love him. There are two other people from his world in this new dimension. Chester Arthur, an English teacher from Iggy's school and Karen, a high school student. Chester and Karen arrived via an explosion as well. Chester's a home explosion, five years ago. Karen's a chemistry experiment gone bad, a year ago.

The cat/dog leads Iggy to a the city where everything is similar but wrong. Starbucks is now Artbucks. Arthur has made himself President and is passing of the ideas of great thinkers and famous artist has his own. The place is inhabitanted by weird looking bugs. Feig does a good job of describing them, and the creature illustrations are perfect.

Iggy enters Artbucks

"The place was packed. But it wasn't packed with people. It was filled with the strangest assortment of creatures I had ever laid eyes on in my life. There were four creatures standing in line behind the mole guys that sort of looked like a cross between fish and eels. They were about five feet tall with slippery looking skin that turned different colors when the light hit it. They each had one big black eye, a long thin mouth and an arm with a big suction cup on the end coming out of their backs. One of the feels was sticking and unsticking its suction cup on the counter impatiently as it glared at the really slow creature working the cash register."

For the past year Karen has been trying to convince the creatures Chester is a fraud. Karen and Iggy are chased by Chester's ill formed army. They must figure out a way to stop Chester and get home.

There is a lot to like about this novel. I actually loved the first half. The beginning is quick and fun, very relucantant reader friendly. Iggy's voice comes across has a 13 yr old boy. He does stupid and dangerous things with his friends that only boys would do. The new world Feig created was interesting the creatures coming to life thanks to his words and the illustrations. Karen was a pretty badazz fighter.

Karen and Iggy trapped by creature army

''Then grab somthing and help me fight these guys" she yelled at me. And with that she suddenly struck a pose like she thought she was in a kung fu movie, gave a warrior cry and ran toward the creatures. She spun her pole over her head and then slammed it down on top of the giant octopus's eye."

Unfortunately the novel lost me along the way. After the cat/dog showed Iggy the city and kepted on reappearing I thought it would play a bigger role in the store. It felt like a story line died. Chester is singing Frank Sinatra songs. I don't think 10 yr olds are that famliar with Frank Sinatra. Chester also redoes the classic song Stairway to Heaven. Stairway to Kevin is only funny if you know the original song and melody. That joke will be lost on many 10 yr olds. Feig introduces a new major character with a little over hundred pages left. Sometimes this works in this case it doesn't.

A few chapters into this book I couldn't wait to talk about it, it was so good. That just makes the second half even more frustrating since I know what the author is capable of.

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