Fibble by Dale E. Basye. Illustrations by Bob Dob (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
The Fourth Circle of Heck
Finished: Mar. 3, 2012
First Published: May 24, 2011
Publisher: Random House
Genre: children, fantasy, paranormal, humour
First sentence: "Being a boy feels really weird, Marlo thought as she dangled her brother's gross feet off the backseat of the stagecoach taking her to Fibble, the circle of Heck for kids who lie."
Publisher's Summary: "When Marlo Fauster claims she has switched souls with her brother, she gets sent straight to Fibble, the circle of Heck reserved for liars. But it's true—Milton and Marlo have switched places, and Marlo finds herself trapped in Milton's gross, gangly body. She also finds herself trapped in Fibble, a three-ring media circus run by none other than P. T. Barnum, an insane ringmaster with grandiose plans and giant, flaming pants. Meanwhile Milton, as Marlo, is working at the devil's new television network, T.H.E.E.N.D. But there's something strange about these new shows. Why do they all air at the same? And are they really broadcasting to the Surface? Soon Milton and Marlo realize that they need each other to sort through the lies and possibly prevent the end of the world—if Bea "Elsa" Bubb doesn't catch them first."
Acquired: Purchased the arc from my library's sale table.
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.
This has got to be the best book in the series for me so far. The plot has several lines running through it and not just the ones involving Marlo and Milton. Coming into each book we never know who will take centre stage, brother or sister. This time around, Marlo and Milton alternate chapters as one is in Fibble and the other is working for Satan and has uncovered a plot to bring about the end of the world. Eventually, but not until close to the end the two meet up and their stories merge into continuous chapters. Again the plot is much deeper this time around, with religion playing a much more major role than it has in any of the other volumes. Filled with references to all the world's major religions Basye takes a satirical look at all, without offense, (if one can laugh at oneself as much as another) and brings forth a message of getting along with each other. This is all hidden within the framework of the usual puns and play on words that saturate this series. Basye has even done the unthinkable with this book and inserted himself as a minor character.
So far in these books, the overall theme has been Principal Bubb's determination in finding and punishing Milton for the repeated trouble he has caused her. Fibble introduces a bigger, more grandiose plot that leaves few unanswered questions and promises to be a further overall theme for the books. You must read these books in order to understand the story. Jumping in at this point will simply leave you confused. As to age recommendation, while the first book in the series is certainly easily enjoyed by the average 9 year old, by the time we get to Fibble I'd say the appreciation level of the themes, word play and historical figures will be better suited to the 11/12 year old. I'm looking forward to Snivel which comes out shortly this year and a movie is purported to be in the works based on the first book in the series, Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go.