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Review: The Hunting of The Bubblenuff by Joshua Goldfond

The Hunting of the Bubblenuff follows the adventures of Fabian Vermeer, an eccentric 19-year-old who lives in the fictional world of Lornholm. He is both a Priest and Inquisitor by profession, acting in the service of the Church of Solomn, god of Justice and Fluffy Clouds. Yet Fabian’s true, lifelong passion is “Cryptonaturalism”: the study of hidden, mythical beasts like the Sugar Moose (a rare but friendly creature whose candy cane antlers are treasured by hunters), the Solardillo (a bioluminescent armadillo used to replace campfires), the Hamsterdon (a 40-foot high hamster that runs around in a giant bamboo ball and is used to clear brush), and the dreaded Bubblenuff (which can only be slain with a sharpened yam).

Fearful of proving his own theories wrong, he drags his feet until the arrival of his new bodyguard: the massively tall, awkward, and kind-hearted female teenage soldier, Wilhelmina Turkle. Together, the two venture out, seeking to locate Fabian’s monsters.

I don’t read a lot of satire, so it was a nice and fun surprise for me when I began reading The Hunting of the Bubblenuff and discovered that it’s in fact a satire on the usual cliché fantasy stories. Although I started out skeptical, particularly due to the genre, I soon discovered that this book actually held a lot of surprises. It’s amazingly well written, in a fluent, almost lyrical prose. The characters are eccentric and peculiar, and that makes them all the more entertaining. The story is stuffed from start to end with the most crazy and magical animals, events and occurences.

Fabian Vermeer’s life-long passion is Cryptonaturalism. Don’t know what that means? Neither did I, until I discovered that in the magical world of Longholm, Cryptonaturalism means the study of strange, magical beasts. Needless to say that one of these mythical animals is the Bubblenuff, the rarest of them all perhaps, and according to most people, simply a myth. But Fabian is convinced the Bubblenuff is real, especially when he discovers strange things are happening in the nearby forest. Less by choice than because he was ordered to, Fabian sets off to either find evidence of the existence of the mythical creature, or become the laughing stock of the Inquisitor’s academy. He’s aided in this task by a young private named Wilhelmina, who has a couple of magical tales of her own to share.

The creativity of Mr. Goldfond knows no boundaries. His words are just about as magical as the creatures he invents though. If you want a story that will make you smile from beginning to end, where the focus is on the journey, the most unusual of friendships, and the search for something greater than oneself, The Hunting of the Bubblenuff will definitely not disappoint. It’s an intriguing, funny and light-hearted, quick read. I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys fantasy, be it satire or not.

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