Release date: December 22, 2010
Summary (from Good Reads): When thirteen-year-old Gelsem is kidnapped in the night from her peaceful home on Level Gee, the timid girl is shocked to wake up on Level Pee, the 'penitentiary'. Stuck in a foreign realm populated entirely by criminals, Gelsem manages to befriend a group of pre-teen revolutionaries, among them a young Giantess and a boy harboring a great secret.
In order to escape, the young teens must enlist the help of the Panjandrum, a professional thief turned accidental monarch and prisoner to the Level's bureaucratic elite. Desperate to find a way home to her family, Gelsem is forced to learn some hard truths about trust and friendship while dodging conniving politicians, mind-controlling spirits and a murderous sculptor determined to turn all of the children on the Level into macabre statuary.
Thus begins Gelsem's extraordinary adventure in the first book of the Aerolith Adventure series, Panjandrum.
Panjandrum was awesome. When I first started reading it, I thought I might have a hard time getting into it, but that wasn't the case at all. As soon as I started reading, I didn't want to stop.
J.J. Telly created an awesome story. I love the different levels (Pee, Emm, Ess, etc.), and I love it that the letter of the level designates the names of things and people who are on that level. I thought it was a really clever concept. I also loved the different creatures that could be found on the levels, especially the porbeagles on level Pee. Porbeagles are sharks who swim in the air. I love sharks, so I adored the porbeagles. If they actually existed, I would definitely own at least one.
The main character, Gelsam/Pearl was great. Her transformation throughout the novel was perfect. Thought I think she still has a long way to go, her character really developed throughout the novel, and she really started to figure herself out and become more independent. She was forced to, but it didn't happen overnight for her, and I think that was a good thing, because it was realistic.
Panjandrum had me cracking up. I don't remember the last time a book made me laugh as hard as Panjandrum did. For me, that was the best part of the book. The characters were great, the story interesting and well-paced, but the addition of the humor is what really made this book for me. I think I still would have enjoyed Panjandrum without the humor, but the humor was an excellent addition.
Overall rating: 5/5
Cover rating: 3/5