Plot: The plot here is strong, engaging, and detailed—and it is the details that hold the plot together and make it believable. Young readers will find this a fun read.
Prose: The writing is clear, crisp, age-appropriate. and fits with the material.
Originality: The characters and their adventures are wholly original. The character names—which are well thought out—are just one of many nice touches.
Character Development: The main characters in this book, Orville and Sophia, are well developed and charming, and readers will swept up in their adventures.
Date Submitted: August 03, 2017
Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite - 5 Stars
Tom Hoffman's metaphysical adventure fantasy for young adults, Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Shattered Abacus, follows now veteran adventurers Orville and Sophie as they take on their newest assignment as a Metaphysical Adventuring team. Yes, it's the second book in Hoffman's series, and, yes, again, you can read this book on its own, but don't. Seriously. Each of Tom Hoffman's books is a gem, and they fit together to make an astonishingly good literary tapestry of metaphysical adventure, fantasy, science fiction and just a bit of quantum physics. Well, maybe a little more than just a bit, but don't let your lack of mastery of such matters keep you from diving head first, or jumping feet first as Sophie and Orville do, into Hoffman's quirky and most marvelous universe. Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Shattered Abacus lets the reader travel to distant planets, solve mysteries, and study the remnants of long-gone civilizations, and you'll be doing it in the finest of companies.
I love seeing how well Orville and Sophia's strengths complement each other. Their banter and laughingly begrudging appreciation of each other's growing gifts is a treat, as is the way each keeps the other from taking themselves too seriously. Watching as the daredevil in Sophia is constantly tugging along the not so sure Orville has to be one of my favorite humorous aspects of this series. Proto, the Rabbiton and the newest addition to Orville's family, with his love of adventure and rather odd appetite for encountering strange and horrible beasties, is a hoot and a half, especially when one considers his other avocation for baking little frosted cakes while wearing Orville's mom's aprons.
Hoffman's fictional universe, which seemed so limitless in the Bartholomew the Adventurer Series, just keeps on expanding. Each new volume promises metaphysical delights, strange horizons, wormholes and hidden doors into far-off places, and ever more opportunities to learn, grow and experience alongside the adventurers. I'm so pleased with this book -- the characters are first-rate and the plot is marvelous. Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Shattered Abacus: Orville Wellington Mouse, Book 2 is most highly recommended.