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Publisher's Summary

Following The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear and Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures comes a third hilarious and beloved Zamonia book, the most popular yet. It is a fantastic tale for every book lover.

Optimus Yarnspinner inherits from his godfather an unpublished manuscript by an unknown writer and sets off to track down the mysterious author, who disappeared into Bookholm—the so-called City of Dreaming Books. Yarnspinner falls under the spell of this book-obsessed metropolis, where an avid reader and budding author can find any number of charming attractions: priceless signed first editions, salivating literary agents, and for-hire critics. But as Yarnspinner pursues the trail of the missing author, the darker side of Bookholm begins to unveil itself—cold-blooded book hunters, cyclopean Fearsome Booklings, sharp-toothed Animatomes, and of course, the Shadow King, whose howls rise from deep beneath the city at night. Will Yarnspinner survive his quest into this world where reading is a genuine adventure?

©2004 Piper Verlag GmbH, München; Translation 2006 by John Brownjohn (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“A delightfully imaginative mélange of Shel Silverstein zaniness and oddball anthropomorphism à la Terry Pratchett’s Discworld…. A wonderfully whimsical story that will appeal to readers of all ages.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A salmagundi of whimsy, imagination and book lore—remarkable fun.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Entertaining and Fun

What a fun book to listen too. The narrator's performance was outstanding and added to the novel. What a clever and detailed story. Optimus Yarnspinner's character was so well defined that to close one's eyes was to see him in detail...as was every aspect of the book. The vocabulary and pacing of words (lots of descriptive detail) - couldn't help wondering what it would be like to have read it in German. Can't compare to the original but the translation is a wonderful, refreshing story. Highly recommend if you like long, detailed, enriched stories.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • diane
  • Belleville, Illinois, United States
  • 10-05-12

Not for everybody, but definitely for me!

What did you love best about The City of Dreaming Books?

I love these books, there is something about Zamonian literature that captures my imagination and sends my on a fascinating adventure of such wonderful quality. It's impossible for me to describe.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I loved all the characters but of course Optimus Yarnspinner and The Shadow King were me favorites.

Any additional comments?

If you like the books of Jasper FFoote you will like these.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • Fond du Lac, WI, United States
  • 07-09-11

A Great Book about Books

I'm very keen on Walter Moer's writings and have reread his books quite a few times. This one especially ranks at the top of my favorite book list.

What's great about Walter Moer is the little details he takes in creating and populating the world of Zamonia, the characters, and the little twists and turns he inserts into his narrative. There are few times where I want to actually visit a fictional place, but Walter Moer's depiction of Bookholm makes the inner booklover in me want to pack up my bags and dash out to get there. And the seedy mysterious underground of the town, what a treat as well.


Since I already knew the story and characters before listening to the audiobook, I was mostly worried about the narration. I have to say though, it truly surprised me. The narrator is top-notch in my book, the voices he choose for the characters fit well for them. Especially for Optimus Yarnspinner, his voice was dead-on how I imagined he would've sound like. I'll have to take a look around to see if this narrator read aloud any other books I might like to read, since I've grown liking to him.


Another pleasant surprise is the little special voice effects they did with the book, I'm not saying they added sound effects, but little things like echos and layering that gave me absolute chills during this one important scene in the book. Which, incidentally, also gave me chills when I read the part, but that's because the author plays around with the typeface to give the scene more effect.


I say, if you read the book and highly enjoyed it, then you'll really love this audio reading of it. If you just finished listening to the audio reading of this book and enjoyed it, I would recommend you get the hard copy of this story since that would have Walter Moer's illustrations. Very top notch as well, I might add. Happy listenings!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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perfect in every way

This series is dark, funny, and fascinating. it starts with 13.5 lives.. and is a guide woven through a fascinating land called Zamonia through the eyes and common experiences of 4 different characters and species. Scary, great plot twists with lots of humorous lessons and fantastical characters. Not for young children or the sqeamish its an adventure you will never forget!! The reader does a great job. This is like sci-fi fantasy folklore with Grimm like plots.

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A fun and adventurous listen

The narration makes the book truly come alive. The story is well done and keeps you through to the end. Listen with your kids, fun fun

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Walter Moers was touched by the orm!!!!!!!!

Any additional comments?

The City of Dreaming Books is my favorite book-period. It is so well written, beautiful, funny, and strangely sad that I actually wept at the end; I didn't just produce crocodile tears but full on whole-hearted giant gasping sobs. This book is NOT for the faint of heart but for those that at office parties and social gatherings scoff at the notion of the existence of magic when engaged in "intellectual" conversation, yet when no one is looking still clap their hands just incase we may bring back a fairy or two. Walter Moers and translators 'John Brownjohn' have done a marvelous job at developing a world of strange exotic creatures and making them believable all the while revealing such humble and beautiful concepts such as recognizing and cherishing the talents of others, friendship, and loyalty. <br/><br/>I highly recommend this book and all of Walter Moers' other books from the world of Zamonia. The author of this audio book was absolutely magnificent. He took on the task of reading an epic adventure and in the process brought this colorful book even more to life if that could even be thought possible.