I read the first two books written by Bosch in December 31, 2010, and finished reading the third in January 1st, 2011. (Yeah, I have to admit that I took the time reading the third so it'd be the first book I read in 2011, shallow lil' me!) I suppose it'd be fair if I submit my comments concerning those books in one post.
I found out from this site that Bosch intended his books to represent the five senses. So, yeah, it'll be 5 books altogether. The newest one was released in September 2010 and the fifth should be published this year.
The titles: The Name of This Book is Secret; If You're Reading This, It's Too Late; This Book is Not Good for You.
Writer: Pseudonymous Bosch (not his real name, if he's a he, well, you'll know what I mean soon enough)
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Price: IDR 72,000 each (I bought them in Periplus)
Book One--The Name of This Book is Secret
(The first sense: smell)
The cover really grabbed my interest! Metallic green, with cute, simple icons. It's Lemony Snicket-ish, reminding me a bit of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Meaning, now and then, the "author" will insert his remarks (mostly paranoid-like) or opinions. He (if he's a he) admits that he is afraid to reveal the details of his story, meaning the name of the town, even the real name of his characters.
The main protagonist is called Cass for Cassandra. Those who are familiar with Greek mythology probably understands. Cass likes to predict disasters and she sees catastrophes wherever she goes. When she finds a dead rat at school, for instance, naturally she'll conclude that it died of toxic waste, and that the school is full of dangerous chemical stuff.
Cass likes to believe that she is a survivalist and she always carries "important stuff" in her backpack.
Cass lives with her mom that she sometimes calls "Mel" (Melanie) and she has two adopted grandparents who live in an abandoned fire station that they turned into an antique shop (even though one might call it junkyard, for the grandpas never actually sell or remove anything from the supposed shop).
One day, a real estate agent turns up at Cass' grandparents' place, bringing some stuff from an eccentric man's house. Gloria, the agent, says that the man is missing--supposed to be dead--so his house is on the market now. And some say that the man is a wizard. The most interesting find is called The Symphony of Smells, a box that contains small jars with different smells inside.
Cass struggles to decipher the meaning of The Symphony of Smells, with her new-found friend called Max-Ernest. Together they embark in a journey that involves eccentric spa treatments in Midnight Sun, a strange cult whose members always wear gloves, fishy rejuvenation program, anagrams and riddles, unique circus act of twins who have synesthesia and two eerie villains--Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais.
And what is the secret? Find out yourself, by reading this book!
Book Two--If You're Reading This, It's Too Late
(Second sense: hearing)
Cass and Max-Ernest are the new members of a society called Terces (Can you tell what kind of society it really is? *wink*). They have received their fabulous gifts--a superb decoder for Max-Ernest, and high-tech survivalist equipments for Cass. But Terces never seems to make any move to approach them.
Soon Cass and Max-Ernest meet their adversaries--Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais. Cass and Max-Ernest manage to take a beautiful ball from their enemies' hands. Turns out that the ball is the key to lure Homunculus, meaning self-made man. It is said that in the past, a cruel man managed to "create" life from naught. That cruel man had "the secret". But the homunculus turned against him and buried him and his stuff--also the secret.
Midnight Sun wants Cass and Ernest to find this homunculus to find out what the secret is all about. Will MS prevail this time?
Book Three--This Book is Not Good for You
(Third sense: taste)
Imagine the horror Cass feels when Midnight Sun kidnaps her mom. In exchange of her mother, Cass is asked to hand out the Tuning Fork, a magical artifact from the Aztecs that has the ability to turn anything into any kind of food/drink. The magical thing is, if you or your ancestor have ever tried something, the fork will be able to turn, let's say, a glass of plain water, into a glass of savory wine. Handy, eh?
Cass has to lie to her loved ones to get the fork. Yet in the end, MS still refuses to free her mother. So with some clues, accompanied by her pals, Max-Ernest and Yo-Yoji, the trio bravely sneak into the enemies' lair only to be fed with one of the most dangerous food ever made--a bar of chocolate so dark that it can bring out the past in you.
Why is the Tuning Fork so dangerous? And desirable? To find out the connection between the secret and the fork, read this delightful book!