Book Review: ‘Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo’ by Obert Skye

Posted: 19 August 2013 in Book reviews
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I know it has been a while since I last posted something. Life has been pretty crazy. Been trying to prepare for the move overseas and have had to put this on the sidelines. I have a few minutes now so I decided to crank one out.

‘Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo’ is the first book in a series of five. Foo is the land where all humanities dreams are manipulated. It is on the brink of war as Sabine attempts to unite Foo with earth. The key to stopping him lies in the hands of a single boy: Leven Thumps.

Leven Thumps lives in an unremarkable town called Burnt Colvert in Oklahoma. He is a lonely and uncared about boy. Not even his guardians care about him. To be honest, they despise him. His mother died giving birth to him and left him in the care of Terry and Addy Graph. They are unhappy people who kept Leven around to do the cleaning and other manual labour. He was even forced to sleep on the porch. It was here that he first encountered one of Sabine’s shadows and Clover, his sycophant.

Sycophants are creatures from Foo who aid Nits when they are brought to Foo by fate. Nits, or humans transported to Foo under specific conditions, receive a gift (they can manipulate ice, see through dirt, etc.) and can manipulate dreams the best. In essence, a sycophant is a kind of guide who helps the Nits start out their new life there. One of these Nit’s is named Winter.

Winter is a one-time resident of Foo who forsook her life there to revert back to an infant on earth. Antsel (another Nit) and Clover switch her with Janet Frore’s newborn daughter, saving the poor girl from a lifetime of misery. Of course, now Winter was subject to Janet. Not that Janet was an abusive person, she was simply negligent and too immature to raise a child. She didn’t want a child and was now stuck with one, like Terry and Addy. She wasn’t just mistreated by her mother, but also by the people she went to school with; teachers and students alike. It wasn’t until her birthday that things suddenly changed. She inadvertently discovered her ability to manipulate ice (her gift from Foo). Her hair attacked Janet and the next day she turned her entire math class and principal to ice. Suddenly she knew it was time for her to go. She grabbed some money from home, went to the bus station, and bought a ticket to someplace else: Oklahoma.

Fate has a funny of way of bringing people in touch with those they need to meed. Geth is a Lithen, the original residents of Foo, and at one time was a great man. In Sabine’s attempt to overthrow Foo, he had captured Geth and transferred his soul from his body to a seed. He had been one of the main fighters against Sabine. Antsel saved Geth by taking the seed and planting it in reality. As fate would have it, he was planted in Burnt Colvert right outside the place where Terry and Addy Graph would eventually reside. For fourteen years he watched over Leven, but now the time had come to leave. Being trapped in a tree, there was no way for him to move on his own. His only resort was to force fates hand. He attacked the Graph’s and the result was him being cut down and eventually turned into a toothpick.

When Winter arrived in Oklahoma, she made her way to the local Junior High school. There she met Leven. After helping him fend off some bullies by turning them to ice, they leave as they try to determine what to do next. It his at this time that Clover gives some some information about Foo as well as telling Leven what he is. Foo can only snatch you if you are standing on a mismatched intersection when the temperature is divisible by seven and you see a shooting star or two. The problem is that once you get to Foo, there is no way to return to earth. Clover can’t tell them any more, but he does tell Leven that he is an Offing: a rare being that can manipulate the future. Leven can also manipulate lightning (which he did earlier in the book against some bullies without knowing he could). Their next step was to find Geth, but how does one find someone they neither know nor is in human form?

What they didn’t know, was that at that moment Geth was in a toothpick dispenser in the very diner the two kids would shortly be eating at. He was a toothpick though and toothpicks can’t move by themselves. Geth had to wait for fate to give him the means to move. Through a series of painful moves, Geth soon had two eyes, arms and legs. He literally had to crush himself to get the necessary mobility, but it hadn’t been enough. The two kids were gone before he was able.

Sabine is a Nit who can freeze things like Winter. He has been in Foo since his childhood and now was attempting to overthrow Foo and combine it with reality. Such a thing would destroy both worlds, but he doesn’t believe it. He would destroy anybody who got in his way (such as what happened with Geth). Since he cannot access reality, he has sent his shadows to find Leven and if possible keep him from reaching Foo. When Leven and Winter left the diner, they were walking along a river when Leven noticed something in the darkness. The shadows were surprised at his ability to see them and proceeded to conjure an Avaland (a being of dirt and stone) which Leven defeated. This was no easy task, which Sabine knew. So he sent his shadows to invade Levens mind and fill it with dark thoughts of doubt. The shadows succeeded in making Leven believe his journey was impossible and so he left and went home.

Shortly after Leven left them, Clover and Winter were walking beside the river again when Clover was intriguing by a talking toothpick. Fate had once again brought them together and this time they found each other. They told him about Leven and then went to bring him back. This resulted in the destruction of the Graph’s home. Not to mention that Leven already felt guilty enough about abandoning them. It didn’t take long after returning to the them that the shadows attacked a second time. This time they had to fight a giant snake. When they escaped from that, Clover had to bite Leven (which rendered him unconscious) to keep the shadows from driving him off again.

Now that they were all together, they began their trek to find the gateway. The gateway was built by Leven’s grandfather. He was the only person to find a way out. It was the result of forcing him mind to believe that Foo did not exist. After a few weeks, it worked. He was back in reality. Sadly, things were not as he had hoped. He now wanted back to Foo, but couldn’t. Not until he created a gateway and hid it in a body of water in Germany. It was this gateway that Sabine was searching for, but he needed Leven to lead him to it. Now that the group was on their way there, all he needed to do was wait.

Leven was finally awoken on a train headed for the east coast. Once in Maine, they stole a car and with Winter’s power used it to cross the ocean. With fate guiding them, they made their way from the French coast to Berchtesgaden in southern Germany. What they didn’t know was that Sabine had found the gateway in Foo and had now entered reality. Soon they would meet and the fate of the gateway would be decided.

Alright. So I’ll start with the story first. It’s a very interesting story. Very well thought out and very imaginative. I really like the description of Foo and how one gets there. In truth, I have no qualms with the story.

My only issue with the story lies in its telling. It reads as if it was written for a much younger audience. That isn’t so much of a problem if it was written for children, but it was clearly written for teens. This annoying writing usually begins at the start of most chapters. It really takes from the story in my opinion. The writing does have an overall juvenile feel to it, which can be frustrating at times, but generally only ruins it for at the start of the chapters.

Now the characters. There are four main characters: Leven, Winter, Clover and Geth. As I wrote earlier, Geth is a Lithen, Winter a Nit, Leven an Offing, and Clover a Sycophant. Winter is pretty cool. I love that she can manipulate ice and that she can endure hardship and still not collapse. Geth can sometimes be infuriating with his ever positive disposition and complete reliance on fate. Sure it would be nice to be able to leave everything in the hands of fate, but sadly life doesn’t work that way. The nice thing about Leven is that his resolve isn’t set in stone. He doubts. He is afraid. I like that. A character without conflict is a character with no potential to grow.

My opinion of the book? If you want a simple read, this is a good choice. It has a good story with interesting characters. It is written simple enough for any age group to understand, but sometimes it can be too juvenile. But remember, it is the first of five books. As we saw with the Harry Potter books, they only got better as the story progressed. Anyway, enjoy 😉

Available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon in a Boxed Set or Solo 

  1. Erin says:

    I have to say, I read this book and thought it was just plain awful. It was painful to read and when mom bought me the whole set, I told her I didn’t want them. I really tried to enjoy the book, but it was just soooooooooooooooooooooo dumb. And badly written. I tried to give the second book a chance but about two chapters in I gave up. I think this is a series I’m just going to stay away from.


    • cetracy says:

      i can understand that. there are a handful of things that drive me nuts about them, but i’m almost done with book 4 and hopefully shortly thereafter be done with book 5. these are written more for a younger audience and so it is written with references and with language that these kids can understand and possibly relate to. that being said, they are not the best examples, but there is definitely worse out there i’m sure. i have one that i will review later that the ending was it’s saving grace 😛


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