Review: The Book of Nonsense

The Book of Nonsense (Sacred Books, Vol. 1), by David Michael Slater

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Book Source: Advance Copy from CBAY Books

Dex took another deep breath and climbed down onto the ladder. The first step was fine, but he heard an ominous creak when he put his foot on the second run. The ladder pulled the slightest bit away from the wall, causing his heart to drop into his stomach. Holding perfectly still, Dex considered how wise this little mission was. Then he decided he didn't care. He lowered his other foot and the ladder seemed to hold. Slowly, he descended into the blackness below.
The Book of Nonsense, by David Michael Slater

The Book of Nonsense is the first volume of a new series, Sacred Books, geared towards young adults.

The Readers-Digest-Version Synopsis:
Thirteen year-old twins Daphna and Dex are in a heap of trouble. Their father, a rare book scout, has come across a magic book - seemingly full of nonsense - that someone else wants very, very much to own. Bad enough to employ long-forgotten magical tricks to obtain the book. Bad enough to hurt one twin and enslave the other to obtain the book. To save their family, the world at large and each other, Daphna and Dex must decipher hidden meanings and seek out the past to thwart the evil people who want to use the Book of Nonsense to rule the world.

The Literary Criticism:
I'll admit to being petty and having a problem with the protagonist's name, Daphna. For the first three chapters, every time I read her name I thought it was a typo since the name is so close to Daphne.

The author did an excellent job of jumping right into the action in the first paragraph -- almost too good because there was little to no backstory and this led to a bit of confusion as I tried to figure out who was who and what certain acronyms stood for. Like the name Daphna, though, this critique was small potatoes.

The main characters were very well written and fleshed out. I was impressed with the author's ability to do this in a relatively short period of time. Both Daphna and Dex were sympathetic teenagers with their fair share of teenage concerns. They aren't portrayed as perfect and that is something people of all ages can identify with. The bad guys, on the other hand, are clearly evil and I appreciate the distinction. For the 10-13 year-old crowd, I don't know that evil in shades of gray would have been appropriate. The author clearly knows his audience!

The Recommendation:
If you love old books, book collecting, or magic then you'll be delighted with this book. While you shouldn't expect it to be the next Harry Potter series, it is a bit more mature than, say, A Series of Unfortunate Events. I fully expect author David Michael Slater to really come into his own as the series progresses and the next book in the series, due out in Fall 2009, will likely be anticipated by the young adult crowd (and me, too).

As for an age recommendation -- 10 to 13 years would be just about perfect. There's a bit of violence, although not graphic, that might make it unsuitable for any ages younger than that. As for the adults - give this one a look, you will likely enjoy what you see.

Title: The Book of Nonsense, Sacred Books Volume I
Author: David Michael Slater
ISBN-13: 978-1933767000
256 pages
Publisher: Blooming Tree Books/CBAY
Date: October 14, 2008

Additional reviews can be found at:

Breeni Books
Bobbi's Book Nook
Cheryl's Book Nook
Sophisticated Dorkiness
Sharon Loves Books and Cats

Go here to read an interview with the author at Into the Wardrobe.


  1. I was going to request this for review too but I already had so much on my plate. Now it sounds like I should have!

  2. This sounds like a good one. Thanks for the review.

  3. Book of Nonsense seems to be everywhere right now, and it’s so deserving. I know it’s unlikely for books from little publishers to hit the big time, but it’s happened before (Harry Potter, anyone)? On his blog, the author is asking for regular folks out there to help spread the word, so here I am (just posted this on, too, where it has been named Book of the Week. And I’m a total sucker for all this talk about future books in the series being banned.

  4. Hi! My name's Erin, and I write a book blog called "She's a Bibliophile." You linked to my blog when you reviewed Sarah's Key and I was wondering if you'd like to exchange links! I will add your link to my side bar. I am kind of new to this whole book blog experience, and just now getting into the swing of things. You can e-mail me at bibliophile83 (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

  5. Sorry, I just wanted to make sure you knew my book blog is not located here at blogger, but on Word Press. The address is:

  6. I remember seeing an ad for this (maybe on ShelfAwareness?) a while back, and I must have passed it over, but now I'm sorry I did - it looks fantastic! Off to my wishlist... again...

  7. Jessie - I'm heading over to right now to check it out. Thanks for letting me know!

    Erin - thanks for stopping by!! I'd love to add you to the blogroll (all anyone ever has to do is ask and I'm happy to do that!). You're also in my feeder, so I read your posts all the time and think you are doing a wonderful job at this blog thing!

  8. This book looks really awesome - right up my alley :) Thanks for the review. I'll probably pick it up for my friend too. Also, thanks for adding my blog to your links!

  9. I think this is the first YA review I've seen here since I started following your blog, Michele. Nice job!


  10. I'm going to ask my 10-yr-old to take a look at your review -- I think he'd like to put *The Book of Nonsense* on his holiday wish list.


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