The Third Circle of Heck
Finished: Oct. 8, 2010
First Published: May 11, 2010
Publisher: Random House
Genre: children, fantasy
Virgil's stomach rumbled like a gastric earthquake, registering somewhere between a 6.7 and 9.4 on the digestive Richter scale.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.
I read this series for the pure fun of it and for Basye the third time is the charm. Blimpo is the best book yet of this series. As anyone reading the series knows, when we were told at the end of book two that the next volume would be called Blimpo, my eyes lit up knowing we would be returning to the character Virgil from book one. Virgil, who became Milton's best friend in the first book, is the central figure in this volume earning him the position of hero.
Milton and Marlo are right where we left them at the end of Rapacia. Marlo is her usual opinionated, aggressive self and getting herself in trouble while at the same time finding out things she shouldn't know; putting herself in a dangerous position when Milton finally comes to rescue her as promised in book 2. Milton is simply trying to keep away from Principal Bubb and hide. His first choice of friends include Jack Kerouac and a blind Viking who can see, both of whom are absolutely hilarious. But when Milton comes upon Blimpo, he puts on a fat suit and goes undercover to rescue Virgil. Little does he know of the nefarious plot going down between the vice principals to become make Blimpo much more powerful in the whole realm of Heck. The fun teachers in Blimpo are King Tantalus, complete with portable pool of water and peach tree, and the chubby Elvis.
The humour level was right where expected, funny and silly, worthy of a smile. This volume does bring back the toilet humour of book one but it isn't overly done and fits well when used. The storyline is becoming more involved. While each book has its own individual open and shut plot, this book introduces some elements that will be ongoing and adds a deeper, overall story arc to the series. While not exactly ending with a cliff hanger, as foreshadowing is used to let us know where things are headed, the book does end with certain characters in situations that leave the reader anxious for the next volume. The only negative remark I have about Blimpo is the size. At well over 400 pages it is the largest of the series, with the others being 300-odd pages each. I am not a fan of authors who seemingly think that every book in a series needs to get larger and larger until the reader is stuck with unwieldy door stoppers by the end of the series. If Blimpo is larger because of the topic matter, then I see that as an extension of the author's humour and can appreciate it, but I certainly hope to see the next volume back down to around the size of Book 2 (362 pgs).