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The Indigo King (Imaginarium Geographica) [Paperback]

James A. Owen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Jan 2009 Imaginarium Geographica
On a September evening in 1931, John and Jack, two of the Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica, discover a plea for help on an ancient medieval parchment. It seems to have been written by their friend, Hugo Dyson! But when they rush to warn him, they find that Hugo has already been abducted by fierce creatures called the Un-Men, who have mistaken him for the third Caretaker, Charles. And in that moment, the world begins to change...The Frontier which separates our world from the Archipelago of Dreams has fallen. Dark and terrible beasts roam throughout England. No one can be summoned from the Archipelago. And worse, their mentor and ally Bert seems to have forgotten them entirely! The only hope of restoring order from the chaos lies on a forgotten island - where a time travel device left by Jules Verne must be used to race through history itself - from the Bronze Age, to the fall of Troy and the founding of the Silver Throne. And in that single night, John and Jack discover that the only way to save their friend and stop the chaos destroying the world is to solve a two-thousand year-old mystery: Who is the Cartographer?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (1 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847382673
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847382672
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 693,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

James A Owen is the creator of the critically acclaimed Starchild graphic novel series, and is the founder and director of the Coppervale Studio in Silvertown, Arizona, where he lives with his wife and family.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful series 12 April 2009
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I've absolutely loved this series by James Owen since its original release so when a new offering lands, you can be pretty damn sure that it flies to the top of my TBR pile. Here the characters seek to put right what's gone wrong and whilst favourite characters from children's tales abound, it's the novel way that James blends them, along with authors of our own time that makes this series so compelling. Never one to miss a trick this really is a series for the YA reader with twists and turns and powerful characters that will speak to the YA psyche.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The magic of myths 2 Nov 2008
By Pippa Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have not read the first two books of the "Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica." But even though I was not familiar with what has been going on in the Chronicles, I found the third volume, "The Indigo King," fascinating.

One September night, John and Jack, Oxford scholars, and their friend Hugo encounter a mysterious door bearing the image of the Holy Grail. When Hugo crosses the door and vanishes, the world as the three friends knew it changes--for the worse. England becomes Albion, a desolate and mythical land ruled by their foe, Mordred. And to make matters worse, Mordred has also destroyed the Archipelago of Dreams, the world John and Jack were responsible of as Caretakers of its atlas, the Imaginarium Geographica. The Archipelago was the place where fables and legends were real. John and Jack realize that Hugo's crossing has disrupted timelines and history itself and to repair the damage, they must travel through time to find Hugo and to discover Mordred's real name in order to prevent him from coming into power.

In "The Indigo King," James Owen has woven a captivating adventure that cleverly blends historical and mythological figures and events. A number of historical personalities make their appearances in this book but as the story develops, I easily forgot that John was J.R.R. Tolkien, Jack was C.S. Lewis, and Bert, H.G. Wells. The only times I was aware of John as being Tolkien and Jack as being Lewis were during their conversations about Christianity and faith. As to the legends and myths incorporated in the plot, I think if you're familiar with the Odyssey, the Iliad, and the Arthurian legends, you will enjoy this book a lot more and understand it a bit better. What with time loops and name changes, I had to write myself notes, so that I could keep the who was who straight.

The publishers targeted this book to young adults, but if I don't see "The Indigo King" flying off the shelves is because, I think, it may be hard for a teen to identify himself or herself with tea-sipping, fortyish Oxford professors (actually, in 1931, Tolkien was 39 years old; Lewis, 33; Charles Williams, 45 and Hugo Dyson, 35). However, I don't have any doubts that this fantasy book will find its way into the hands and heart of anybody who loves the magic of fables, legends, and myths.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing follow-up 25 Jun 2009
By Jonathan Appleseed - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've waited a while to review this, as I was hoping that eventually I'd finish it! That never happened. The first book in the series, "Here, There Be Dragons," was brilliant, and easily one of my favorite reads of the decade. After ordering this book from Vine I immediately bought the third book in anticipation. Now both are sitting on a shelf, both unread.

The art is still mesmerizing. James Owens is a gifted artist. The story, however, never grabbed hold. That was disappointing. I very badly wanted to be swept away as I was in the first book, but would have settled for 'engaged-enough-to-want-finish.'

Writing this, and remembering how much I loved "Here, There Be Dragons,"
makes me want to go back and give the book another try. If I do, and my opinion is any different, I'll be sure to make note of it here.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The time traveling here almost gave me an aneurism. 9 Jun 2010
By Kris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Books that involve too much time travel make my brain hurt. I thought this one was going to give me an aneurism. This is much more about time travel and the implications of the time paradox then anything else. Yikes. And it still had lots of the holes/problems of the first two. Granted, I think I liked the story of this one best - finding out who the cartographer is. But, I am utterly unsatisfied with the way it ended. Learning that there were additional conflicts between who the Winter King was and Arthur - but none of them amounted to much... really? That's what you are going to tell me?

The first thing I had to do was accept that the time travel stuff makes virtually no sense. If Verne could do all he could, and knew all that he knew, so that our trio (as modified here) could change history, why didn't he just do it himself? Because the author would have to be even lazier then he already is and we wouldn't need all these pages!

You need the background of the first two books for this one to really make any sense. This author, unlike a lot of then in the serial YA novel business, doesn't really provide much summary/background if you've missed the predecessors. So, one would probably be a little lost without having read the first two books. Although after reading the first two, my brain was a little overloaded with all the (what I am calling) "name dropping" that went on here. Back to the display of all that the author has read. And if you are not as well read as he is, then it's hard to appreciate some of this.

The idea to better tie the Arthurian legends to all the other stuff going on here is a neat idea. Although these days, it seems that's what everyone is trying to do. But, here, the author is again trying to cram thousands of nods to hundreds of legends and myths into very, very little space. I again found myself reading at a much slower pace then normal to make sure I was paying enough attention, trying to catch all the clues. But often, the characters would say something like "Could it be..." like the reader has come to the same place and has the conclusion in their minds - and my thoughts at those moments were "what in the world is this about?" And the conclusion left me totally perplexed.

As for the characters here - well, Chaz is the most interesting. And he's sort of a new character. The new badgers are cool. And so is Archie. Jack, John and Hugo - almost don't need them in this book. Which is a shame. But, then again, all three of these books so far have been pretty poor when it comes to the character development. The trio is clearly not the trio, with Chaz instead of Charles. And Hank? Well, my opinion of that was that he was unnecessary and merely another way for the author to show off what he's read.

The method for time travel here was interesting. A projector? Really? The talking animals and the Whatsit are more believable.

I struggled with the idea of Jesus being a "myth" - I am not saying that he was real or not. My problem is the fact that it is really hard for me to see how modern religions mesh with the notions of ancient mythology or fictional writing and putting it all together. If I was a religious fanatic (which I am totally not) I probably would have been very offended by a number of things in this book.

It turns out to be an awful lot about "faith" - in what, it's left for each reader to decide. But that's the end message.

I would have loved to have some of the time travel stuff make a little more sense - or be explained a little. I don't like that in the universe Owen has created is the idea that I don't have many of the rules. It feels like he makes them up as he goes along. Which is very inconsistent with what he must be doing because of the way all the characters are weaved together. There were also a number of abrupt chapter jumps in this book which did not have smooth transitions. When we first meet Circe we don't have any clue as to why. Why introduce us so early if we don't have any idea why.

Again, this too tries to weave together too many legends, myths, etc., in much too little plot and writing. And the premise that we need to find out the true name of the Winter King - it turns out to not matter at all. So, why send me on that wild goose chase. Finally, I really don't like the wimpy half-hearted effort to set up what must be the next book. The last little chapter with Burton - please. That was a waste of my time. I am left wondering if I really want to read the 4th book. I know at a minimum, I am reading a few other things first.

I am bored of this world. Which is a shame since I think it's a great idea, I am just not sure the writer has faith that it is too. And I am bummed that they changed the cover art with my version of this one. But, oh well, not buying the 4th installment anyway (might library loan it, if I can get the energy to do so).
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A celebration of imagination 20 Nov 2008
By Michael Birman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
More than most novels of the imagination, The Indigo King makes the creative act the centerpiece of the plot. From its beautifully designed and executed cover art to the author's splendid ink illustrations that festoon the book, the novel's presentation celebrates the artistry involved in its own creation as well as others like it. With a plot that involves such masters of the imagination as J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams and H. G. Wells, and an imaginary atlas called the Imaginarium Geographica - an atlas of imaginary places - that the famous writers are asked to guard, all aspects of creativity are exalted in this superlative fantasy novel.

James A. Owen is doubly gifted: he writes well and draws beautifully. His lovely illustrations, resembling classic 19th century wood-block drawings that one might see in a masterful Folio Society rendition of a book of fairy tales, raises the bar in new imaginative fiction. I found myself quickly drawn into his world, the beauty of the book acting as a portal through which my own imagination acted as the guide. This is the third book of a series but it can stand alone without loss of continuity. Ostensibly written for young adults, adults who enjoy works that break the boundaries between what is real and what exists in imaginative worlds lying just beyond our reach will appreciate the many beauties contained between its covers. A lovely book that is strongly recommended.

Mike Birman
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly disappointed 22 April 2010
By Chad Lawrence - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book has probably the best prose and most engaging story of the Chronicles so far. I also enjoyed seeing how the characters developed in other timelines. Except for one major disappointment with the book, I felt this was the most enjoyable of the series.

The major disappointment I have with this book is its reference to the ridiculous idea that Jesus sired children during his time on earth. I'm not sure why the author decided to include this plot element, since it played a minor part in the story and the problem it dealt with could have been resolved some other way. But the fact that it's there almost made me put the book down for good. I decided to finish the story, hoping something would come to light showing this idea is completely false, but nothing of the sort happened.

Adding and subtracting elements to myths and legends that everyone agrees are false is not an issue. But when you make major changes to a historical figure that is worshiped by many, it becomes a problem. It's especially disturbing because the protagonists in the stories are all well known Christians, and none of them believed that Jesus had children. In fact, they would have been quite offended at the notion. The author mentions in his notes at the end that part of the inspiration for this story was a C.S. Lewis letter that mentioned a walk with Tolkein and Dyson that led him to believe in Christ. I wish the author would have focused more on what the conversation would have really been about instead of including this ridiculous idea about Christ's children that completely undermines the hope given by the true story of Christ.

I understand that this is fiction, and the author has made changes to myths and other fictional stories throughout the series, but I believe that this issue crosses the line of what is appropriate and what is not. I've already purchased the fourth book in the series so I will be reading that hoping that a better explanation is given for the Rose character. If not, my time with the Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica will be done.
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