Book Review: Albert of Adelaide

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.

When I first saw the cover of this book I instantly wanted to read it. In that moment I didn’t care what it was about or even what genre it was, all I knew was that I wanted to read a book with a platypus on the cover. Then when I read the synopsis and found out that the story was about a platypus I was even more excited. What a great main character to have! A platypus. Not many books can claim to have such a unique looking character.

Sadly though having a platypus in the story was about as exciting as this book got. The start was slow and I felt that it didn’t really do a good job of selling the rest of the story to me. The main character, Albert the platypus, wasn’t an overly strong character in the beginning, nor did he grow on me much as the story progressed. There was a fairly good mix of characters introduced throughout the story, some were very minors roles while others had a bit more significance to what was happening. But even with that variety of characters I didn’t feel attached to the story at all.

This book was a bit too easy to set down while reading and then I would almost need to force myself to pick it back up. I kept waiting for the story to change for the better but honestly I found that it never did. If anything I got bored reading about Albert walking, Albert resting, Albert meeting another stranger and Albert getting into trouble yet again. Also I found it a bit odd that of all these other Australian animals that he meets along the way none of them know what a platypus is.

Beyond the slow story line I think the one thing that I disliked the most in this book was how humanized the animals were. They wore clothes, they drank beer and whiskey, they used money, they cooked, it didn’t feel right at all. I understand when books are written with an animal cast there needs to be some human-like qualities to them, even if it’s simply their ability to speak to one another, but this book took it to the extreme and honestly it could have been written with humans instead of animals and been almost the same story.

Overall this book was fairly disappointing. I suppose when I first saw it was a book about a platypus on a journey I figured it would be somewhat of an Australian version of Watership Down, however it was not and that in itself made it not that great. But then add in the slow going no where feel to the story and it lost it’s appeal. I would recommend this book to those who I believe would enjoy a humanized animal story but for the most part I wouldn’t recommend it to most people.

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