Title: A Wild Ride Through the Night
Author: Walter Moers
The main hero of this fantasy book is twelve-years-old Gustave, who had an accident with his ship. There he meets Death who wants his soul. But Gustave doesn’t want to hand over his soul so easily to her and they make a deal. Death will give him six tasks and he has to complete them in one night. If he would be successful, he will stay alive otherwise Death will take his soul. Gustave thinks that tasks are hard and impossible to complete, but he really don’t have the option to refuse. He has to free a beautiful virgin from dragon’s claws, he must cross a forest full of evil spirits, bring her a teeth of the Most Monstrous of all Monsters, …
Gustave accepts a challenge and he’s determined that he’ll complete all tasks. During his adventures, he meets new friends who help him on his way.
This is fantasy book for younger readers but despite the fact that I’m “older” reader I still loved it.
I really enjoyed while reading about a fantasy world, full of monsters and Gustave’s adventures. But despite the fact that this book seems like an easily written book, the text contains very complex issues that affect each individual. Consideration about a meaning of the life, facing death, life’s brief duration, … Those topics are not easy, but Moers beautifully packaged them into a fantasy story, full of humor. And the text is really funny! So much that while reading some passages I giggled aloud.
But what really attracted me with this book was a combination of text and illustrations. Illustrations are made by Gustave Dore (which is also a name of the main character in this book) who was French illustrator in 19th Century. Moers was so taken over by his illustrations that he chose them for a basis of this book and made up this fantastic story. When I found this out I couldn’t resist to read it!