Nov 5, 2013

[Books] The Adventure Time Encyclopædia

So my partner and I have become rather major Adventure Time fans. We watch the show faithfully, we've started to collect some of the toys that make it to the Philippines and I've eve gone as far as picking up a few of the more child-oriented books that have been released for the series. I regret nothing.

Now this little treasure is the The Adventure Time Encyclopædia, and it is precisely what it promises to be. This is your guide to the Land of Ooo and it's many colorful inhabitants. Thus if ever wanted to know more ab out the show in terms of its characters, locations, and other fun bits, then this is a book that any fan absolutely must add to their collection.

To be fair, the book is not a complete view of everything and anything that has appeared in the show - that's something best left to the online wiki that the fan community tries to maintain. But it's still a pretty expansive book that covers a lot of ground in a rather humorous fashion. And yes, this is more than just a children's book.

Synopsis: The Adventure Time Encyclopædia: Inhabitants, Lores, Spells, and Ancient Crypt Warnings of the Land of Ooo circa 19.56 B.G.E. ~ 501 A.G.E. is a book supposedly written by Hunson Abadeer, the Lord of Evil in the show. In truth it's written by Michael Olson, who actually provides the voice of Hunson's character in the Adventure Time show.

Now the book is written in-character by Olson as Hunson Abadeer, and thus already it's not meant to be an objective, strictly informative discussion of The Land of Ooo and its inhabitants. This is all about Hunson Abadeer's opinions of Ooo and those residents that have caught his attention. So naturally we're going to miss out on a lot, but that in no way diminishes the value of this book. If anything, it helps explain why it is not a full, 100% detailed coverage of everything Ooo such that we don't go crazy thinking that we got ripped off. The book is still in line with show canon and thus had to leave a wide avenue available for future stories to be told in other media.

But to help keep the book accessible and not totally repugnant given Hunson's rather low opinions of everyone in Ooo, this "copy" of the book is annotated by Finn, Jake the Dog, and Marceline the Vampire Queen (along with being Hunson Abadeer's daughter). They scribble all over the book in their respective pen colors, helping lighten the mood - something especially useful when Hunson goes on complaining about one character or another.

The book is divided into five sections:
 1) Worthless Inhabitants of Ooo (including Finn, Jake and Princess Bubblegum)
 2) Utterly Insignificant Inhabitants of Ooo (shorter write-ups of various characters and other good stuff)
 3) The Land of Ooo and You (other in-universe documents that provide more information about locations in Ooo
 4) The Lost Texts of Ooo (which includes excerpts from the Enchiron)
 5) Forbidden Chapters in the Encyclopædia of Ooo (various odds and ends that are hard to describe off-hand).

The book is beautifully illustrated by various artists including art director Celeste Moreno, Renee French, Tony Millionaire, and Aisleen Romano to name a few. But the pieces that stood out the most for me were definitely the full-page color images created by Mahendra Singh. The art style speaks to me on some level - somewhat reminding me of older texts and things of that nature. But at the same time it's only the Singh images that make sure to always include the waving Snail - a classic Easter Egg of sorts that has been worked into every single episode of the cartoon series. It's that sort of attention to detail that helps make the book feel even more brilliant.

It goes without saying that the book is a bit of a spoiler-riddled text if you have not watched at least the first four seasons of the show, more or less. Then again, some of you people enjoy that sort of things, so go ahead.

Some of the brilliant gems in this book apart from the core texts written by Abadeer include a technical manual for BMO, a travel guide to the Candy Kingdom, a Wizard trapped in the book and a rather entertaining (but somewhat challenging) rebus message. I'm trying not to spend too much time on it, but it's classic Adventure Time fun, so it's hard to resist. And I'm sure the book will have a little something for everyone, depending on why you love the show.

So yes, Gunter is here, too!

The Adventure Time Encyclopædia is a brilliant resource and an enjoyable read. While some might find taking the perspective of Hunson Abadeer to be a weird choice in how to write this book, I think in the end it did a lot of good for the title and certainly kept things in-character with the show as a whole. Thus I gladly rate this title as a full 5 doodles scattered across the book out of a possible 5.

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