This is the part of The Unwritten where everything crystallizes, and you go ohhhhh, that’s what’s going on! And the reveal happens in such a neat and organic way.
After the events of Dead Man’s Knock, Tommy knows he has to find the source of his fathers (and his) mysterious power so he can learn to wield it against his enemies. The only clue they have is a drawing on a map with a whale on it, and the words “the source” printed inside. So of course, they start with THE whale, Moby-Dick. But of course it’s not as simple as that, and even as Tom is sucked inside the story of Moby-Dick, Tom is ultimately destined for a much more complicated and enormous discovery (one that involves Pinocchio, Jonah, Baron Munchhausen and his stupid horse Bucephalus, and for some reason, a strange Highlander who is obsessed with his accordion).
While Tom is off looking for the source, Lizzie and Savoy (who is officially a vampire at this point, and has to drink blood for the first time) are waylaid by a corpse-faced nun with a fetish for puppets, and who seems to utilize the same power Tom is seeking, but instead of channeling it through words, she uses “the incarnation,” aka puppets. And they are creepy as hell puppets, handcrafted by corpse-face herself in the likeness of the people she hopes to control. She is terrifying.
We learn about the real stakes here, that the two sides are fighting for no less than the control over the nexus between stories and the human subconscious, the Leviathan that Tom finds at the end of his journey. I’m not going to say very much more about the underlying implications of what happens here. I could probably go on forever if I did. It’s somebody’s dissertation just waiting to happen, but it ain’t going to be mine.
(This is from my original review from 2011, which I thought I would include here for funsies:
This series hurts my brain, but in a good way. I’m too hungover to say anything else. Wine is good, and wine is bad. That is my philosophical thought for the day.
Actually, I can tell you that when I went to B&N to buy this book, my boss said to me, “So I see you’re still reading trash . . .” (because I told him a couple of weeks ago that basically all I’ve been reading since finishing my masters exams was YA and fantasy and mindless fluff), but when he said that I about bit his head off. “NO IT’S NOT,” said I, “It’s really really smart and good, so you can SUCK IT.” I didn’t actually tell him to suck it, but I think he could read between the lines. I mean, come on, dude works in a bookstore.