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Spellsinger Series Review by Alan Dean Foster

Sea otter


Spellsinger is a series of books, in which the protagonist Jonathan Thomas Meriweather, John-Tom for short, is summoned in a strange world where animals speak and display human level intelligence. The first book was published in the year 1983, and it continued publishing books for the next ten years. The series is written by Alan Dean Foster.

Initially, I reviewed all the books separately, but I lost my files in data corruption. So, I decided to review this whole series together.


In the first book, Spellsinger, the hero Jonathan Thomas Meriweather, also known as Jon-Tom, is a prelaw student with pretentions to rock stardom, who is innocently smoking pot when he’s abruptly transported from the University of California at Los Angeles to a weird world in which animals talk, wear clothing, and live alongside humans by the turtle wizard Clothahump, who was searching for a great wizardly “Engineer” (meaning an engineer, as he was under the impression that this is the name our world gives to wizards). Unfortunately, he caught Jon-Tom, a law student and would-be rock star who works part-time as a janitor and on his pay stubs is called a “sanitation engineer” and his mind was “the most receptive” at the moment, which might have had to do with that joint he smoked.

It all works out for the best, though, as Jon-Tom soon discovers that in the magical world he has the power of a Spellsinger: a wizard who can make powerful magic through music. Using this new-found power, he and a cast of creatures set out to do battle with the evil anthropomorphic insects known as the Plated Folk.

My review:

the series starts out great, as the first two books are dedicated to defeating the empire in question. the third book is more about Jon-Tom settling and trying to find his place in this strange and unusual world.

The series started to fray at the edges in the books four and five, since these books are kind of pretty forgettable, aside from the adventures. The journey is more memorable than the destination is apt for this entire series. By the time of sixth book, Jon-Tom settles in the world, and starts a family.

The seventh book is about the children of the main characters from the first six books, the brother and sister otters, the children of Mudge, and the son of Jon-Tom. It is mostly about them trying to do an adventure like their parents, and finding the truth telling device which causes a brawl in the very first hour in the city. Truth is dangerous, folks.

The eighth book is about Mudge and Jon-Tom having a mid-life crisis, where they pine for their younger days. They get their wish, after following a floating musical note. Which is well, since the whole world was threatened anyway.

Is this series worth reading?

Well, the first two books certainly are. Sixth book certainly. But rest are just not there. Not to mention, the continuity issues, which even caused a gender change, and two characters to disappear entirely.

I won’t recommend the whole series, but the first two books and the sixth one are good books in my opinion, so you can read those.

You can also read this interview of Stuart Danker, a Malaysian author and blogger, which I took this Thursday.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Follow me on Twitter, and recommend more books to me. If you like my reviews, then buy me a coffee.


Published by Tanish Shrivastava

I'm a guy who likes programming, chess, and writing.

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