The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia, #1)
Captain Bluebear tells the story of his first 13-1/2 lives spent on the mysterious continent of Zamonia, where intelligence is an infectious disease, water flows uphill, and dangers lie in wait for him around every corner."A bluebear has twenty-seven lives. I shall recount thirteen and a half of them in this book but keep quiet about the rest," says the narrator of Walter Moers’s epic adventure. "What about the Minipirates? What about the Hobgoblins, the Spiderwitch, the Babbling Billows, the Troglotroll, the Mountain Maggot… Mine is a tale of mortal danger and eternal love, of hair’s breadth, last-minute escapes." Welcome to the fantastic world of Zamonia, populated by all manner of extraordinary characters. It’s a land of imaginative lunacy and supreme adventure, wicked satire and epic fantasy, all mixed together, turned on its head, and lavishly illustrated by the author.

The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia, #1) Details

TitleThe 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia, #1)
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 29th, 2006
PublisherThe Overlook Press
ISBN1585678449
ISBN-139781585678440
Number of pages704 pages
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Humor, European Literature, German Literature, Young Adult

The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia, #1) Review

  • Tom
    September 14, 2007
    I spent the first 300 or so pages of this book trying to figure out whether it was a children's book for very advanced children or an adult book for readers who hadn't lost their sense of play and wonder. It's whimsically illustrated, audaciously imaginative, and has a distinked [sic] fascination with body odor. But to get some of the jokes, you need to have a passing familiarity with quantum physics, string theory, and academic politics. Eventually I gave up trying to categorize it and just enj I spent the first 300 or so pages of this book trying to figure out whether it was a children's book for very advanced children or an adult book for readers who hadn't lost their sense of play and wonder. It's whimsically illustrated, audaciously imaginative, and has a distinked [sic] fascination with body odor. But to get some of the jokes, you need to have a passing familiarity with quantum physics, string theory, and academic politics. Eventually I gave up trying to categorize it and just enjoyed the adventure.As Captain Bluebear, the narrator, says in the opening chapters, this is the story of 13-1/2 of one bluebear's 27 lives. (The other 13-1/2? Well, a bluebear must have his secrets.) Captain Bluebear's adventures include: A childhood spent with the Mini Pirates, marauders who are always attacking ships, but, being so small, are never noticed. A partnership with Deux ex Machina, a pterodactyl who saves people from doom at the very last possible second. And schooling under the tutelage of a professor with seven brains.I often found myself laughing aloud as I read, thinking first, "You can't do that!" Then feeling my imagination liberated because Moer had dared to do so.A master storyteller and actor, Captain Bluebear is ever so slightly pompous, but in that adorable way of harmless, well-fed scholars whose generous hearts are more than large enough to contain their puffed up egos.One of my favorite books in many years. I read it again before the year was out, even though I only rarely re-read books and this is a formidable 700+ pages. Highly recommended.
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  • Paul
    May 24, 2008
    Ehhh. If I would have been the editor on this book I would have cut out about, oh, 400 pages. And I would have asked if maybe, just maybe, we could work some STORY into the novel. Really, the book is no more than a catalog of happenstance. I did THIS, and then THIS happened, and after that I went to THIS weird place where I did THIS weird thing. Multiply that by some 700 pages and you have a snorefest. Was it wildly inventive? Yes it was. Were there interesting characters? Certainly. What about Ehhh. If I would have been the editor on this book I would have cut out about, oh, 400 pages. And I would have asked if maybe, just maybe, we could work some STORY into the novel. Really, the book is no more than a catalog of happenstance. I did THIS, and then THIS happened, and after that I went to THIS weird place where I did THIS weird thing. Multiply that by some 700 pages and you have a snorefest. Was it wildly inventive? Yes it was. Were there interesting characters? Certainly. What about magically intriguing settings and worlds? Oh yes, they abounded within. But was there any point at all? No, there wasn't. It was no more than a collection of ramblings from which a book could be developed, if the writer had thought to be a author rather than a note-taker. I suppose the most concise review I can give for this book is this---On my copy of the book, pages 561-576 were all bound together, not having been properly cut apart when the book was printed. It made it impossible to read the pages without separating them. The book's previous owner didn't bother to do so. I didn't either.
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  • Michael
    March 1, 2016
    What do you get when you put a Blue bear in one of the most wonderfully imaginative worlds I have ever encountered in Fiction? In the hands of a master story teller and illustrator like Walter Moers you get a zany and wacky adventure with all manner of creatures, both lovable and scary and a reading experience like no other. Told almost as a biography of 13 1/2 of Blue bears 27 lives, readers like I are powerless to resist.Joining the story with a very young Blue bear adrift floating in frighten What do you get when you put a Blue bear in one of the most wonderfully imaginative worlds I have ever encountered in Fiction? In the hands of a master story teller and illustrator like Walter Moers you get a zany and wacky adventure with all manner of creatures, both lovable and scary and a reading experience like no other. Told almost as a biography of 13 1/2 of Blue bears 27 lives, readers like I are powerless to resist.Joining the story with a very young Blue bear adrift floating in frightening seas within a walnut shell. He is saved by mini pirate dudes called mini pirates, and so begin's the the little bears great journey as he faces many troubles and perils along the way. From a giant Malestrom in the ocean to the legendary city of Atlantis and everywhere in between, we the reader share every every step of Blue bears epic escapade's.There is a certain magic in this book that makes it such a delight to read. Part of this is because the world that is created, is so rich and vivid and with a whole host of characters that are so memorable, and that you come to know and love. You'll laugh out loud one minute, then be on the edge of your seat the next and even find yourself sad at times. It is the sought of story that will also provide a unique expedition into you're own imagination. One thing though, the cover is quite deceptive. This is not a book for young children, neither is it a book for all adults, but instead it is a book for adults who have not grown up yet like my good self.
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  • Maria Elmvang
    January 30, 2010
    Still love this book :) Walter Moers creates a vivid and imaginative universe and stays absolutely true to it to the very end. I've read a number of his books by now, and this is definitely the best.I love his way of using the book media to tell his story, and though I generally don't care much for illustrations one way or another, here they definitely enhance the story. The characters are original and well described, and the 13.5 lives different enough to make for a very interesting story. I si Still love this book :) Walter Moers creates a vivid and imaginative universe and stays absolutely true to it to the very end. I've read a number of his books by now, and this is definitely the best.I love his way of using the book media to tell his story, and though I generally don't care much for illustrations one way or another, here they definitely enhance the story. The characters are original and well described, and the 13.5 lives different enough to make for a very interesting story. I simply couldn't put the book down but devoured it in 2 days.In atmosphere Zamonien reminded me quite a bit of Dystopia, although the two books otherwise have nothing in common.
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  • Amanda NEVER MANDY
    October 9, 2015
    Bluebear is everything he should be and so much more than I thought he would be. Between the cover and the title, hell even the synopsis, I was up the proverbial shit creek without a paddle when trying to explain to people what my current read was. “Is that a children’s book?” “Are you high?” After stumbling and mumbling my way through a couple of barely coherent sentences I would make the second mistake, offer them the book. One quick flip, maybe a pause at a picture or two before gently placin Bluebear is everything he should be and so much more than I thought he would be. Between the cover and the title, hell even the synopsis, I was up the proverbial shit creek without a paddle when trying to explain to people what my current read was. “Is that a children’s book?” “Are you high?” After stumbling and mumbling my way through a couple of barely coherent sentences I would make the second mistake, offer them the book. One quick flip, maybe a pause at a picture or two before gently placing it back into my hands and walking away with a face I’m all too familiar with. The “that girl is not right” look.How does one explain a story such as this? I can honestly say I would have never of thought to pick it up. Even with the comparisons to other books I love, there was just too much out front stacked against it. Thankfully a book friend clued me in to its existence and swore to its value, because without that I would have definitely missed out on one of the greatest stories I have read in a while. (I know you are reading this Kavita…THANK YOU!!!)So back to my pathetic attempt at explaining. Bluebear is a blue bear that happens into existence one day in the middle of the sea. His life is instantly thrown into turmoil as he realizes he is on a collision course with a whirlpool. Well I say turmoil because you and I would feel that way but not Bluebear. Everything is just another life he gets to live, one filled with whatever is thrown his way to be thoroughly enjoyed and taken in stride.Why I loved this read? Simply everything! The writing style is phenomenal, the pictures are fun, and the layout is different and not too distracting. A definite solid five star read.
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  • Chris
    July 28, 2010
    Humor is a very personal matter. What some people find funny, others find stupid. I've always tended to enjoy British humor more than American, outside of Mel Brooks. I prefer Blackadder over Mr. Bean. I love Little Britain, but don't really find Webb and Mitchell (or is it Mitchell and Webb?) to be as fulfilling. They seem to try too hard.I enjoyed this book. I do see, however, how it will not be to everyone's tastes.There is much in Bluebear that is amusing and wonderful. The story is very epi Humor is a very personal matter. What some people find funny, others find stupid. I've always tended to enjoy British humor more than American, outside of Mel Brooks. I prefer Blackadder over Mr. Bean. I love Little Britain, but don't really find Webb and Mitchell (or is it Mitchell and Webb?) to be as fulfilling. They seem to try too hard.I enjoyed this book. I do see, however, how it will not be to everyone's tastes.There is much in Bluebear that is amusing and wonderful. The story is very episodic, but there is a sense of wonder and whimsy.Bluebear goes on a journey of discovery, and each life (or half life) is a chapter. In many ways, each chapter is a self contained story. Bluebear is set adrift as a cub and picked up by the Minipirates. After that his adventure include a deadly flower, working for a literary plot device, a being with seven brains, and young lady who rather resembles a hair ball.It is easy to see a reflection of current events in the book. The Mogg chapter is the Middle East comment, for instance, and it is well done. There is a nod to political debates as well as to academics and physics. There is most likely many other German political references that I did not get as well as string theory which went over my head (but I'm short). These reference are numerous and very well down. Moers even touches on current pet trends.Sometimes, it must be admitted, Moers over does things. Some sequence would work better if they were a little shorter. They're funny, but it is like that skit that goes on for just a tad too long.While there is not a over arching plot (such as a the rescue of a princess or the destruction of a ring), Bluebear's adventures mirror life. His sojurn in the tunnels, his coming out of the dark are like the much talked about quarter life or mid life crisis. His time with ides is how we are feel about ourselves when we think. Bluebear's experiences may be whimiscal and strange, but they are reflective of what all must go though as we live.
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  • Adam Floridia
    January 20, 2013
    This may sound tautological, but I'm disappointed that I didn't like this book. Obviously, one would be disappointed after reading a 700 page book he didn't enjoy, but there's something more here. It's like this poem.I had been to Zamonia first in City of Dreaming Books and then again in Rumo. I enjoyed its quirky characters and the playful adventures they endured. And no one has more adventures than Bluebear--13, in fact, with many, many sub-adventures. Every single one places Bluebear in the m This may sound tautological, but I'm disappointed that I didn't like this book. Obviously, one would be disappointed after reading a 700 page book he didn't enjoy, but there's something more here. It's like this poem.I had been to Zamonia first in City of Dreaming Books and then again in Rumo. I enjoyed its quirky characters and the playful adventures they endured. And no one has more adventures than Bluebear--13, in fact, with many, many sub-adventures. Every single one places Bluebear in the most dire, utterly impossible, surely-doomed, imminent death scenario. Every time he--surprise, surprise--escapes. And it's always through some deus ex machina intervention, one of which is even referred to as Deus X. Machina. Despite these countless hair-raising scenarios, the book isn't exciting. There's no narrative thread connecting one event to the next, Bluebear never wants anything, is never in search of anything. Thus, despite his many near death experiences, there's never really anything at stake.
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  • Valerie
    May 16, 2007
    I picked it up because the cover art caught my attention and the title was so novel as to get me to skim through a few pages. It's a tome of a book, but really a fast read. Broken down into each of Bluebear's "lives" it's more of a collection of 13 1/2 stories than one contiguous story (though they do all tie in together, of course). It is reminiscent of a children's story book but with complex ideas so as to be interesting to the adult. But that kind of feel. A blue bear that rides on the back I picked it up because the cover art caught my attention and the title was so novel as to get me to skim through a few pages. It's a tome of a book, but really a fast read. Broken down into each of Bluebear's "lives" it's more of a collection of 13 1/2 stories than one contiguous story (though they do all tie in together, of course). It is reminiscent of a children's story book but with complex ideas so as to be interesting to the adult. But that kind of feel. A blue bear that rides on the back of a pterydactyl that is one of a certain species that saves people's lives just in the nick of time (known as Reptilian Rescuers). There are several parts that are laugh-out-loud funny and many more that are amusing enough to make you smile while riding on public transportation (always amusing to your seat neighbor).Highly recommend this book. wish it weren't so big to lug around because the stories make travel go by fast!
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  • Alexandra
    March 8, 2014
    Wow! Dieses Märchen von Walter Moers wage ich bereits jetzt im Februar als eines meiner Lieblingsbücher 2015 zu bezeichnen. Das einzige, das mich irgendwie stört ist, dass es in meiner Kindheit noch nicht existierte.Ich bin nun seit 1 Jahr regelmäßig auf jeder längeren Autofahrt in diese wundervolle Welt durch das Hörbuch eingetaucht. Dirk Bachs Stimme mag manche Leute vielleicht nerven, für mich passt das Fabulieren in diesem hellen quirligen Ton perfekt zum Käptn Blaubär. Mangels Kenntnis der Wow! Dieses Märchen von Walter Moers wage ich bereits jetzt im Februar als eines meiner Lieblingsbücher 2015 zu bezeichnen. Das einzige, das mich irgendwie stört ist, dass es in meiner Kindheit noch nicht existierte.Ich bin nun seit 1 Jahr regelmäßig auf jeder längeren Autofahrt in diese wundervolle Welt durch das Hörbuch eingetaucht. Dirk Bachs Stimme mag manche Leute vielleicht nerven, für mich passt das Fabulieren in diesem hellen quirligen Ton perfekt zum Käptn Blaubär. Mangels Kenntnis der Figur aus der Sendung mit der Maus (durch mein Alter) stelle ich mir sogar die Statur vom Bläubär und Dirk Bach ähnlich vor :D.Doch nun zum Moers'schen Universum Zamonien: Das intelligente anspruchsvolle moderne Märchen ist vollgestopft mit fantastischen Ideen und genialen Figuren, die immer sehr liebevoll und auch biologisch-logisch korrekt konzipiert sind: Rettungssaurier, Zwergpriaten, Klatschwellen, Finsterwaldspinne, Olfaktillen, die sich von Mundgeruch ernähren, Stollentroll, Wolpertinger... sind nur einige, die ich erwähnen möchte.Weiters gibt es einige geniale Reminiszenzen an literarische Vorlagen und Filme wie Wüstenplanet, Chackie Chan, Krieg der Welten......und dann auch noch total ausgefallene schräge Berufe: Trollhaarpfriemler, Spucknapfausleerer, Lügengladiator....Ihr seht also, das Universum von Zamonien ist bevölkert von kuriosen genialen Ideen, sprachlich so anspruchsvoll, dass es eine Freude ist.So nun will ich nicht mehr weiter spoilern - taucht ein in diese Welt!Fazit: Unbedingt hören oder lesen. Käptn Blaubär macht Kinder froh und Erwachsne ebenso :-)
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  • Jon
    June 26, 2007
    Wow. This book was basically The Hitchhiker's Guide meets Where the Sidewalk Ends. It's exceptionally different and is a great book to escape reality in. There are many different stories full of memorable scenes and characters (Minipirates?).Definitely recommended.
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  • Sylvester
    December 30, 2010
    This is not a normal book. If you want a normal book, this one is not for you. Moers is the King of Craziness. I imagine it (the ideas for his books) happening like this - Papa Moers has a child with insomnia, and the only way he can get this kid to fall asleep is to make up stories - long stories, stories that dredge every inch of his imagination (the most prodigious imagination ever)...If you want to know who lives inside the eye of a tornado, or what its like to live in a mirage city, or meet This is not a normal book. If you want a normal book, this one is not for you. Moers is the King of Craziness. I imagine it (the ideas for his books) happening like this - Papa Moers has a child with insomnia, and the only way he can get this kid to fall asleep is to make up stories - long stories, stories that dredge every inch of his imagination (the most prodigious imagination ever)...If you want to know who lives inside the eye of a tornado, or what its like to live in a mirage city, or meet insane creatures like the Japanese Bonsai Mites (my favorite), and you don't mind a plot that serves mainly to showcase Walter Moers' incredible incredible imagination - read this book, but don't worry about skipping a few passages when your exhausted brain says "Enough already!". The 703 pages go by quick, but 13 1/2 lives is a marathon, no matter how dazzled you are.
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  • Cecily
    June 1, 2008
    Indescribable, mad book, but fun. A blue bear tells of his bizarre adventures (half of his 27 lives) in a fantasy world of extraordinary creatures. Rescued and raised by mini pirates, taught to talk by Babbling Willows, navigator for a pterodactyl superhero etc etc. Interspersed with snippets from an encyclopaedia about the relevant creatures (shades of Hitchiker's), and plenty of pen and ink illustrations. The overall effect is like a more adult version of Stewart and Ridell's Edge Chronicles, Indescribable, mad book, but fun. A blue bear tells of his bizarre adventures (half of his 27 lives) in a fantasy world of extraordinary creatures. Rescued and raised by mini pirates, taught to talk by Babbling Willows, navigator for a pterodactyl superhero etc etc. Interspersed with snippets from an encyclopaedia about the relevant creatures (shades of Hitchiker's), and plenty of pen and ink illustrations. The overall effect is like a more adult version of Stewart and Ridell's Edge Chronicles, with touches of Python, fairy tales, Munchausen, Gulliver's Travels, Edward Lear and goodness knows what else. Lovely use of language, quite apart from the extraordinary imagination behind it. "A dimension could, for instance, consist of congealed boredom or musical frigidity... there are said to be dimensions in which sorrow is the staple food of creatures that vegetate in little pools of grief", "Qwerty oozed majestically" and a clever description of "equitemporal tunnelling of dimensions" whereby time "can vanish while remaining omnipresent"; riding a horse is like moving in time to classical music but riding a camedary is more like a drunk drummer's rhythm. Also a big book (over 700 large pages) but such fun it's only heavy in the sense of pound and ounces (or Kilos, if you prefer).Compare this with his wonderful bibliophile's delight, The City of Dreaming Books.
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  • Twig
    November 2, 2013
    okay this was one of the best reads I ever had!Walter Moers is a true genius of writting I love his style and I really wish that more peoplewould read his books. I read the german (original) version and I think its more as powerfull as the english translation..
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  • Bettie☯
    October 16, 2011
    (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]
  • Cindywho
    September 3, 2007
    is a long an entertainingly illustrated book of silliness. It all starts with the Mini-Pirates and goes on from there. The silliness is charming but also so unrelenting that I had to take breaks. What do you expect from a German cartoonist who is responsible for a character called Little Asshole? (March 31, 2007)
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  • Katri
    July 12, 2009
    I had difficulties rating this book; I adored it, but not quite as much as Moers' other book which I read first, The City of Dreaming Books. But I'm still giving it five stars as well because it does deserve them, being a perfectly delightful and entertaining collection of weird and imaginative adventures.I'm a little surprised at the number of negative reviews that this book has received on Goodreads. I think the problem must be that the readers went in expecting something quite different than I had difficulties rating this book; I adored it, but not quite as much as Moers' other book which I read first, The City of Dreaming Books. But I'm still giving it five stars as well because it does deserve them, being a perfectly delightful and entertaining collection of weird and imaginative adventures.I'm a little surprised at the number of negative reviews that this book has received on Goodreads. I think the problem must be that the readers went in expecting something quite different than what this book is. You can probably tell quickly - after a few pages, perhaps - whether the style and the mood of this book appeals to you or not. If not, perhaps you'll do yourself a service not going through the 700 pages, but if you are the kind of person who enjoys this book, boy, are you in for a ride!The book is like a big sprawling epic with no great point other than to tell the bizarre adventures of Bluebear (who is, as his name might indicate, a blue bear, and doesn't actually become a Captain until near the end of the book, but who cares) in the fantastical continent of Zamonia, where the craziest things seem to be possible but which at the same time functions as a delightful parody of human society and culture anywhere. The story is crazy and whimsical, but absolutely delightful in its craziness, and Moers' writing style had me grinning or chuckling much of the time. And as a bonus, not only do we have the delightfully entertaining story, we also have adorable illustrations as well as constant quotations from a gigantic encyclopedia about the strange phenomena of Zamonia. Fans of the aforementioned "City of Dreaming Books" will also be happy to discover several references to its main character, Hildegunst von Mythenmetz (Optimus Yarnspinner in English), as one of the greatest authors in the history of Zamonia. I was, anyway.Apparently on the cover of the English edition of this book (I read a Finnish translation) it's compared to the works of Douglas Adams and Tolkien. The Tolkien part is certainly misguided and perhaps the reason why many reviewers have been disappointed with the book. The only thing that is Tolkienish about this book is its size and the fact that it recounts adventures going through a whole lot of places on a fantasy continent and meeting a great number of strange creatures and weird phenomena. But Tolkien is Very Serious High Fantasy where the rescuing of the world is at stake; Moers's book is funny and whimsical, a treasury of the products of wild imagination but hardly an attempt to be something supremely serious and lofty. While the life and happiness of Bluebear are at stake all the time, the fate of the world is not. The whimsical humour, subtle parodying of society and the crazy adventures that I loved so much might get on nerves of people who are expecting noble elves and Saving The World From Supreme Evil. But those who are likely to enjoy this kind of book instead of expecting Tolkien - dive into it and have fun, it's fantastic!
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  • Jim Peterson
    October 6, 2013
    I always try to write reviews for books that are not too well known, and I’ve been dragging my feet here. Since this is a such wonderful book by a talented and imaginative author, I’ve been afraid I won’t do it justice. It’s been over two years since I read this, but it’s still very much with me and fresh in mind the way only the best books can do. Walter Moers is an excellent writer, though he has somewhat of a low-brow reputation in Germany due to his “The Little @$$hole” comic series, which I I always try to write reviews for books that are not too well known, and I’ve been dragging my feet here. Since this is a such wonderful book by a talented and imaginative author, I’ve been afraid I won’t do it justice. It’s been over two years since I read this, but it’s still very much with me and fresh in mind the way only the best books can do. Walter Moers is an excellent writer, though he has somewhat of a low-brow reputation in Germany due to his “The Little @$$hole” comic series, which I have not read. I read this in German, but I see from other users’ reviews that the English translation is quite good. Anyway, it would be really hard to truly mess up such wonderful storytelling and world building with a bad translation. The fantasy world created by Moers in this book is different than anything I’ve ever read in books, seen in film or even heard of. It will fire up your imagination, suck you in and spit you out wet and wanting more. While I liked Bluebear, the true star of this book is the world of Zamonia which Moers creates in this first book of the Zamonia series. It’s a vast continent (map included!) full of exciting locations and fantastic characters which are nearly all completely original (i.e., none of your typical dragons, witches and warlocks).More than any other book in the Zamonia series, this is a tribute to storytelling. The whole book is narrated by Bluebear, and it’s left to the reader to decide if the stories are real or just the product of some crazy old guy’s imagination.While this is the first book in the series and one of my all-time favorite books, it is not my favorite of the Zamonia series. It’s not even my second favorite. This would be my ranking1. Rumo Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures2. The City of Dreaming BooksThe City of Dreaming Books3. BluebearThese three books are all on my top favorites list and they are the only books I’ve read more than once. And they can be read in any order. Feel free to start with any one of them.Oh yes, and the PICTURES!!Walter Moers does his own illustrations for the books and they are nothing short of amazing. You can also see that his talent as an illustrator improves from book to book.
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  • Anzu The Great Destroyer
    November 2, 2012
    I enjoyed reading The 13 Lives of Captain Bluebear in the beginning. However, after making progress with the book, I started to lose interest.The characters are extremely unique to say the least. The world concepts are amazing, but the storytelling is far from good. The book needs a serious cleanup, say four hundred pages erased. I felt like more than half of it was pure filling. A bunch of chapters were useless, they had nothing to do with the story and the book could easily live without them.T I enjoyed reading The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear in the beginning. However, after making progress with the book, I started to lose interest.The characters are extremely unique to say the least. The world concepts are amazing, but the storytelling is far from good. The book needs a serious cleanup, say four hundred pages erased. I felt like more than half of it was pure filling. A bunch of chapters were useless, they had nothing to do with the story and the book could easily live without them.The story lacks consistency; it feels like a to-do list rather than a story. I woke up today at 8 am, ate some yogurt for breakfast, took the bus to work, shot my boss is the face with my shotgun, and then took a dump on his desk.The things I love the most about The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear are the illustrations. Walter Moers is a very skilled artist, and he managed to create a very interesting universe. I think Walter Moers needs some work on his storytelling, since this is his weakest point from what I’ve observed.2.5 starsReview also posted on
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  • Gretchen
    July 28, 2008
    The slipcover of this book compared the writing to Douglas Adams and J.R.R. Tolkein. While I agree that the author could be considered slightly clever and the book an epic saga, both become victims of too much of an almost good thing. This book is 700 pages of repetitive, redundant and reiterative rubbish. I was tempted to stop reading about 300 pages into it but for some unknown reason gave it a chance. Now, I want those last 400 pages of my life back! The endlessness of the story grew increasi The slipcover of this book compared the writing to Douglas Adams and J.R.R. Tolkein. While I agree that the author could be considered slightly clever and the book an epic saga, both become victims of too much of an almost good thing. This book is 700 pages of repetitive, redundant and reiterative rubbish. I was tempted to stop reading about 300 pages into it but for some unknown reason gave it a chance. Now, I want those last 400 pages of my life back! The endlessness of the story grew increasingly annoying and dreadfully tiresome. In short, by the time I finished this book, I wanted to beat the living daylights out of the author, the publisher and especially the 'writer' of the slipcover.
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  • Svenja
    July 22, 2016
    So lange habe ich schon lange nicht mehr an einem Buch gelesen. Aber nicht, weil es so schwierig oder langweilig war, sondern einfach, weil es in der Geschichte so viel zu entdecken gibt und ich kein Wort verpassen wollte :DWalter Moers schafft eine außergewöhnliche und fantasievolle Welt. Die Geschichten, die Käpt`n Blaubär zu erzählen hat sind so außergewöhnlich und beinhalten so gar keine Klischees. Ich habe beim Lesen oft gelacht, über den Einfallsreichtum von Moers gestaunt und mit Käp`n Bl So lange habe ich schon lange nicht mehr an einem Buch gelesen. Aber nicht, weil es so schwierig oder langweilig war, sondern einfach, weil es in der Geschichte so viel zu entdecken gibt und ich kein Wort verpassen wollte :DWalter Moers schafft eine außergewöhnliche und fantasievolle Welt. Die Geschichten, die Käpt`n Blaubär zu erzählen hat sind so außergewöhnlich und beinhalten so gar keine Klischees. Ich habe beim Lesen oft gelacht, über den Einfallsreichtum von Moers gestaunt und mit Käp`n Blaubär mitgefiebert. Es gab aber auch ein paar Abschnitte, die mir dann einfach zu lang und ausführlich waren. Insgesamt ist dieses Buch aber ziemlich einzigartig!
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  • pleasureofreading
    March 4, 2017
    Großartig!! Ein absolutes Lesehighlight:)
  • Gill
    August 15, 2010
    This is an enormous book my elder son just sent me because "I share his sense of humour". I love the short chapterlets and so far so good. I picked it up immediately thinking I must have won it on Goodreads, because "no one in his right mind would post such a heavyweight". Oh, well perhaps my son shares more than humour with me! ;-)This has taken me an absolute age to wade through. I enjoyed the beginning and then the adventures / lives started to get a bit repetitive. Somehow undiluted imaginat This is an enormous book my elder son just sent me because "I share his sense of humour". I love the short chapterlets and so far so good. I picked it up immediately thinking I must have won it on Goodreads, because "no one in his right mind would post such a heavyweight". Oh, well perhaps my son shares more than humour with me! ;-)This has taken me an absolute age to wade through. I enjoyed the beginning and then the adventures / lives started to get a bit repetitive. Somehow undiluted imaginative fantasy with little or no characterisation can become a bit wearing after a time. Once the end was in sight, I ploughed on, although sometimes I was tempted to abandon it. The last hundred or so pages was better and at last began to develop Bluebear's character a little, or perhaps I just like a good liar. I felt that this would have been much better split into much smaller volumes, perhaps 3 lives per book. My tendonitis would have appreciated slimmer volumes, I really found the weight of the book oppressive at times, but that was physically and not in terms of content, which was unremittingly light. However had it been presented like that I almost certainly would have given up by Book 2. It's far too heavy to post so it will be going on to a charity shop, and I shan't bother reading more Moers, it didn't captivate me for more than fleeting moments. My SO has just said (without reading it I hasten to add) "An updated Baron Munchausen, light and frothy and either bores the pants off you or makes you laugh uproariously!" I think he has hit the nail on the head, but I'm jealous - he didn't have to read it to write the perfect review!
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  • Matti Karjalainen
    August 29, 2013
    Saksalaisen Walter Moersin "Kapteeni Sinikarhun 13 elämää" (Otava, 2001) on huikean mielikuvituksellinen matka aalloilla syntyvän Sinikarhun kolmestatoista ja puolesta elämästä. Ja millaisia elämiä ne ovatkaan! Sinikarhu oppii puhumaan Pulina-aaltojen avustuksella, työskentelee hengenvaaraan joutuneita varjelevan lentoliskon apurina, saavuttaa mainetta Atlantiksessa valehtelijagladiaattorina, joutuu inhan kuilutrollin höynäyttämäksi ja vanhenee lähes sata vuotta jouduttuaan tornadon keskellä si Saksalaisen Walter Moersin "Kapteeni Sinikarhun 13 ½ elämää" (Otava, 2001) on huikean mielikuvituksellinen matka aalloilla syntyvän Sinikarhun kolmestatoista ja puolesta elämästä. Ja millaisia elämiä ne ovatkaan! Sinikarhu oppii puhumaan Pulina-aaltojen avustuksella, työskentelee hengenvaaraan joutuneita varjelevan lentoliskon apurina, saavuttaa mainetta Atlantiksessa valehtelijagladiaattorina, joutuu inhan kuilutrollin höynäyttämäksi ja vanhenee lähes sata vuotta jouduttuaan tornadon keskellä sijaitsevaan aikatyhjiöön. Apunaan hänellä on aivoihin telepaattisesti ladattu professori Yöpöllön tietosanakirja, joka tosin tuntuu antavan ohjeita vähän turhan myöhään. Eikä siinä vielä todellakaan kaikki, kuten mainoksessakin sanotaan...Paikoitellen LSD-trippiä muistuttava "Sinikarhu" on täynnä toinen toistaan huimempia juonenkäänteitä ja outoudessaan vertaansa vailla olevia henkilöhahmoja, mutta jotenkin kummasti kaikki palaset osuvat paikalleen ja muodostavat nautittavan kokonaisuuden. Suuri osa kirjan viehätyksestä lankeaa nerokkaalle kuvitukselle, unohtamatta vinhaa fonttikoolla ja -tyypillä leikittelyä. BRUM!En osaa toisen lukukerrankaan jälkeen sanoa, kenelle kirja on ensisijaisesti suunnattu, mutta uskoisin sen löytävän ystäviä kaikenikäisistä lukijoista, jotka uskaltavat heittäytyä täysin rinnoin fantastisen kahjoon ja omalaatuisella huumorilla höystettyyn seikkailuun.Ainoa tähti lähtee siitä, että kirjaa olisi loppupuolella voinut aavistuksen verran tiivistää.
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  • Paula
    May 12, 2010
    ‘Life is too precious to be left to chance’ ~ Deus X. MachinaAnd so begins the amazing the story of Captain Bluebear and his many adventures during his 13/2 lives.‘The 13/2 lives of Captain Bluebear’ has been compared to various books but I feel that the book can hold its ground in one of most original tales I have read, the twists, the characters, everything in the book was just a delight to read, from the mini pirates at the beginning to the ultimate ending (which I will not give it away). The ‘Life is too precious to be left to chance’ ~ Deus X. MachinaAnd so begins the amazing the story of Captain Bluebear and his many adventures during his 13/2 lives.‘The 13/2 lives of Captain Bluebear’ has been compared to various books but I feel that the book can hold its ground in one of most original tales I have read, the twists, the characters, everything in the book was just a delight to read, from the mini pirates at the beginning to the ultimate ending (which I will not give it away). The main character Captain Bluebear is nothing short of a hero despite his strange start in life (he was found in a walnut shell floating in the sea by the mini pirates), he faces each one of his lives with optimism and wonderment, he does not know what to expect and neither does the reader. A funny, lovely read that has been well thought out by the author, everything comes together at the right point, which I loved and I am sure everyone who has read this book has felt the same (well I hope so). Well worth a read, and then you can say you have met a certain Captain Bluebear. A random moment from me, all through the book I kept thinking about Captain Bluebear as ‘the little bear that could’ and he did, in so many ways.
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  • Michelle
    January 25, 2009
    I'm pretty torn on this book. On the one hand, it's adorable. The pictures are great. It's so different. There were parts I really enjoyed beginning, middle, and end. And then there were parts I was just trying to get through beginning, middle, and end. And I don't very much like that this book and its author were compared to Tolkien, Rowling, and some others. It created an expectation within me that wasn't quite met. But again, there were some great parts of the story, fun characters. I loved t I'm pretty torn on this book. On the one hand, it's adorable. The pictures are great. It's so different. There were parts I really enjoyed beginning, middle, and end. And then there were parts I was just trying to get through beginning, middle, and end. And I don't very much like that this book and its author were compared to Tolkien, Rowling, and some others. It created an expectation within me that wasn't quite met. But again, there were some great parts of the story, fun characters. I loved the old men in the tornado. The descriptions of Gourmet Island were perfect. Mac was fun. My favorite part was the description of the Minipirates--"The Minipirates had little iron hooks instead of hands and wooden stumps instead of proper legs, nor did I ever see one without an eyepatch. At first I thought they'd been wounded during their reckless attempts to board a prize, but I later learned that they were born that way, complete with hats and moustaches." The accompanying picture just cracks me up. But every other chapter/life of Bluebear kind of dragged for me. Eh, give it a try if you have time, but the weight of the book is a bit daunting.
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  • Sam
    October 15, 2011
    Despite being written for kids (and being slightly repetitive at times) I really really enjoyed this book. It tells the story of Captain Bluebear's first 13 1/2 lives through his own words and some superbly imaginative illustrations. We follow Bluebear as he spends time with Minipirates, Hobgoblins, Babbling Billows, Reptilian Rescuers (by the way I really want my own Wolperting Whelps!), strange Professors, Muggs, Megabolloggs and tobacco dwarfs. We also find ourselves living large on Gourmet I Despite being written for kids (and being slightly repetitive at times) I really really enjoyed this book. It tells the story of Captain Bluebear's first 13 1/2 lives through his own words and some superbly imaginative illustrations. We follow Bluebear as he spends time with Minipirates, Hobgoblins, Babbling Billows, Reptilian Rescuers (by the way I really want my own Wolperting Whelps!), strange Professors, Muggs, Megabolloggs and tobacco dwarfs. We also find ourselves living large on Gourmet Island, in the clutches of the Spiderwitch, lost in the 2364th Dimension, struggling to escape Tornado City and Atlantis and finally on board the Moloch (not really a place we wish to be). In the final half tale Bluebear finds himself meeting a She-bear which is where he leaves us hinting that we may well see him again. These stories are brilliantly written, fantastically imaginative and utterly engrossing. The only flaw is that they do become a little repetitive, although that probably wasn't helped by the fact that I read the whole lot in one day! A great read and one that I'm bound to return to again and again...and I really really want my own Wolperting Whelps!
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  • Frances
    March 14, 2013
    To be fair, I had preconceptions of what this book would be like, because of the City of Dreaming Books (pro tip: not great). And neither was this. It's all over the map, the descriptions are EXHAUSTING (I straight up skipped them in the last 200 pages), and Bluebear is kind of a wimp. Scratch that. Bluebear is a total wimp. He isn't funny, he's not very brave, he just sort of bumbles into these situations and uses his own ego to get out of them.Neither am I all that entertained by the ancillary To be fair, I had preconceptions of what this book would be like, because of the City of Dreaming Books (pro tip: not great). And neither was this. It's all over the map, the descriptions are EXHAUSTING (I straight up skipped them in the last 200 pages), and Bluebear is kind of a wimp. Scratch that. Bluebear is a total wimp. He isn't funny, he's not very brave, he just sort of bumbles into these situations and uses his own ego to get out of them.Neither am I all that entertained by the ancillary characters. The reader forgets that these are monsters, illustrations not withstanding, and they just become very whiny people. This isn't imaginative, it's lazy. Moers relies on the reader to fill in the blanks based on ridiculous illustrations.Yawn. I finished out of sheer stubbornness.
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  • AnnaWeasley
    August 17, 2015
    Das einzige Buch von Moers bisher, dass am Ende ziemlich langatmig war. Aber es war auch bisher das längste. Dennoch trotzdem ein riesen Lesevergnügen und wunderbar geschrieben! Ich liebe Zamonien einfach. :)
  • Nick
    June 9, 2010
    Check out more reviews and SciFi/Fantasy fun at Lions and Men.Did you know that bluebears have 27 lives? Do you happen to know what a bluebear is? Why not learn about one of the most famous bluebears in Walter Moers' The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear. In it, Captain Bluebear recounts tales from his hectic life in a continent known as Zamonia. From his sea voyages with the Minipirates to his travels to the 2364th Dimension, the good Captain has seen it all.Walter Moers was an unknown author to Check out more reviews and SciFi/Fantasy fun at Lions and Men.Did you know that bluebears have 27 lives? Do you happen to know what a bluebear is? Why not learn about one of the most famous bluebears in Walter Moers' The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear. In it, Captain Bluebear recounts tales from his hectic life in a continent known as Zamonia. From his sea voyages with the Minipirates to his travels to the 2364th Dimension, the good Captain has seen it all.Walter Moers was an unknown author to me when I stumbled upon this brightly colored biography of the big blue bear. A wise philosopher once advised against judging a book by its cover, but in this case, the cover really grabbed my eye. A quick scan through the contents, and I picked the book up without knowing much about it at all. Happily, I was not disappointed. This novel, written in first person, outlines the life of the last bluebear in existence. The title, however, is perhaps a misnomer - Captain Bluebear only has one life, but he spends it doing thirteen and one half very different things. Each life takes place in its own chapter.The story itself is beautifully told, and makes the reader feel as though they are sitting in a bar with Bluebear, listening to his tall tales. The narrative is quite comprehensive in its own right - Bluebear experiences love, loss, fierce battles, and faithful friends. The world in which Bluebear lives is richly detailed, and Moers goes to great lengths to include heaps of information about his surroundings. To this end, he includes encyclopedia articles detailing a particular element of the world whenever something new is discovered. These are often humerous, and very informational. A quick flip through the book will also reveal many illustrations which help render the colorful world of Zamonia in the mind of the reader.The most amazing thing about Captain Bluebear is the incredibly vast variety of adventures that Bluebear embarks upon. One chapter may find him fleeing from a giant evil witch spider (who knew spiders could be witches?) while in the next, he may find himself in the ear canal of a gigantic beast. Throughout the story, humor and jokes abound. Moers always keeps the narrative upbeat, and you never feel as though he is dragging his feet.The one criticism that I have of the story has to do with the way in which it is layed out. Do not expect a coherent flowing throughout the various chapters in Captain Bluebear. At times, Moers uses the craziest plot developments to move Bluebear from one life to the next, and it does not alway mesh as cleanly as it could. Also, with only a few execptions, there is little crossover of characters from one life to the next (other than the Captain, of course). While this may prove annoying to the reader at first, it is best to think of Captain Bluebear as a compilation of stories from his life, rather than a complete narrative. Towards the middle of the book, I simply gave up my notions of how stories usually flowed, and and just went along for the ride. This is when I began enjoying the book the most.Moers is an excellent story teller, and if you enjoy fantasy and fairy tales, you will fall in love with Bluebear and his wacky (yes, wacky) adventures.4 out of 5!
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  • El
    May 25, 2008
    Bluebears have a total of 27 lives, but this particular bluebear tells his story of the first 13 1/2. He begins as a tiny little thing on a nutshell in the middle of the Zamonian Sea who is taken under the wings of mini pirates. As Bluebear grows they send him off into the world where he encounters different characters throughout the first 13 1/2 years of his life. Each chapter indicates a new chapter in his life, and he remains there until he learns what he is meant to learn and/or succeeds wha Bluebears have a total of 27 lives, but this particular bluebear tells his story of the first 13 1/2. He begins as a tiny little thing on a nutshell in the middle of the Zamonian Sea who is taken under the wings of mini pirates. As Bluebear grows they send him off into the world where he encounters different characters throughout the first 13 1/2 years of his life. Each chapter indicates a new chapter in his life, and he remains there until he learns what he is meant to learn and/or succeeds what he is meant to succeed. Not quite unlike our own lives.This is an absolutely charming book, filled with black and white illustrations done by the author, many of which take up whole pages. The illustrations make for a quick read, but the story still is longer than 600 pages. The problem for me is again the same as the problem I had with Markus Zusak's The Book Thief - there are enclycopedic definitions of just about every character that Bluebear comes across in his journeys. This creates a disjointed narrative and makes one realize that it really is just a story. It is difficult to suspend ones belief for long when every other page is a definition. I found it frustrating to keep stopping in order to learn something that had Moers been able to do it more smoothly, I might have been able to learn just through the story with no interruptions.Overall it was a fun read and I look forward to reading the next one, with hopes that the story is a little more polished. Moers has an incredible imagination, and seems to have a huge heart.
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