Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows

Orville Wellington Mouse Book 3

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
312 Pages
Reviewed on 04/08/2017
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Author Biography

Tom Hoffman received a B.S. in psychology from Georgetown University in 1972 and a B.A. in 1980 from the now-defunct Oregon College of Art. He has lived in Alaska with his wife Alexis since 1973. They have two adult children and two adorable grandchildren. Tom has been a graphic designer and artist for over 35 years. Redirecting his imagination from art to writing, he wrote his first novel, The Eleventh Ring, at age 63.

The Bartholomew the Adventurer Trilogy and the Orville Wellington Mouse adventures are multi-leveled stories and have been compared to Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, and Neverending Story. The books have underlying themes of ethics, metaphysics, philosophy, quantum physics, and spirituality. A common theme is the idea that there is no magic, only science we don't understand. The books were written to provide an alternate way to view the world we live in. To see all life as a single force, all life equally precious, no matter the form. A world where violence is not necessary, a world where the protagonists are changed forever by their difficult choices, by their own sacrifices. A world of empathy, kindness, and love. And of course, ten foot tall ancient robotic rabbits and gigantic carnivorous centipedes living on post apocalyptic planets!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows: Orville Wellington Mouse Book 3 is a young adult adventure fantasy written by Tom Hoffman. Orville’s dream seemed so real; but this was nothing new to him -- Orville was quite familiar with dreams that felt real, and he was fully aware of his dream states as he slept. Sophia Mouse was with him in this dream, as indeed she had been his companion in earlier dreams. Was it the real Sophia or just a dream construct? She certainly seemed to respond and act as if she were the real Sophia as they explored the eerie castle that Orville was certain he had dreamed about before. He would want to check with Sophia when he was awake, but, in any event, her calmly rational presence was very welcome in this darkly ominous place. But even Sophia was alarmed by the tall apparition that awaited them behind the huge obsidian doors. The tall robe-enveloped creature’s yellow eyes blazed balefully at them. Orville was sure they were in the presence of dark magic, but he fought to master his fear long enough to pay heed to the creature’s dire message as it spoke of the destruction of the universe.

When Orville set off for work the next morning, his mind was still pondering that most troubling dream even as he delighted in playing with the new word for the day, which was “blustery.” Orville had made it an ongoing project to learn a new, randomly selected word each day. “Blustery”, he pondered, as he began his walk. It certainly seemed an appropriate word for the morning’s weather. The wind gusted around him, making the red, yellow and orange leaves underfoot whirl and dance, and the dust form into little cyclones. He imagined artfully including the word in his next conversation with Sophia Mouse and envisioned her admiration at his steadily growing vocabulary. His ruminations on dreams, words and the weather were suddenly interrupted by the bright flash of brown and purple that flew by him as it was carried along in that blustery wind. Following its trajectory, he spied the object high overhead where it was snagged in the branches of a tree. He recognized it as being an adventurer’s hat and thought to bring it to Master Marloh -- surely someone would be missing a marvelous hat like that. Watching to make sure no one noticed, Orville directed a brief force beam at the hat, nudging it just enough to propel it on its way down to earth. He tried it on and found it fitted perfectly -- having it perched jauntily on his head made him smile. Maybe there’d be no claim for it, he thought, and he would get to keep it. And, indeed, no one was waiting anxiously for news of a lost hat, and Orville began wearing it as his own, but there was just the little problem of the shadow it cast which appeared where it shouldn’t -- a capricious shadow that foretold deadly and universal peril.

I had great expectations for Tom Hoffman’s young adult epic fantasy adventure novel, Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows: Orville Wellington Mouse Book 3, based on my acquaintance with Orville’s previous two adventures as well as Hoffman’s Bartholomew the Adventurer Trilogy. Those prior books did set the bar awfully high, but I wasn’t all that surprised to find that my expectations were actually exceeded and in a big way. As I began to read, I couldn’t help but smile as I became part of that wonderful chemistry that sometimes takes place between an author, his characters and the reader. Hoffman has a great fondness for Orville and Sophia, and he takes such delight in their company that the reader can’t help but get swept along in that magical revelry.

Hoffman deftly merges epic fantasy, science fiction and metaphysics in this disarming, imaginative and wonder-filled story which is Hoffman’s best work yet. Following the clues of a hat and a dream, Orville, Sophie and Proto, their Rabbiton friend, set off on a most worthy and unforgettable quest. My only regret was that the story ended, as all stories do, but I remain confident that there will be future metaphysical adventures to look forward to -- and I think both Orville and Sophia would approve of that optimistic outlook. Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows: Orville Wellington Mouse Book 3 is most highly recommended.

Kristen Van Kampen

Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows (Orville Wellington Mouse book 3) by Tom Hoffman follows a mouse named Orville Mouse. One day on his way to work, Orville finds a really nice looking hat, but soon realizes that the hat's shadow does not behave as most shadows do. Orville and his friend, Sophia Mouse, do an experiment on the hat and the weird shadows, and learn that the hat doesn't actually exist on their planet and is actually on the planet Tectar. They learn that the void is changing and many planets will become one, which would, in turn, wreck the world. The two mice have to travel to Tectar, along with their friend, Proto. Will Orville, Sophia and Proto be able to save the world?

I really enjoyed reading Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows by Tom Hoffman. The book is full of suspense and action. I was hooked by the first page, and I did not want to put the book down. The book is very well written and descriptive. It has also taught me what the word 'capricious' means! The characters are all very likeable, because they are all brave and smart. This is a real page-turner, and will leave the reader wanting to know more. The book is fast paced, and the story is super exciting, and has many funny parts. I liked that the majority of characters are animals. The book also has many scary parts, like when the characters are attacked by a giant crab. I would recommend Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows by Tom Hoffman to all readers.

Joel R. Dennstedt

Orville Wellington Mouse is a timid yet courageous, vocabulary-hungry fellow who, with the encouragement and support of his two best friends and fellow Metaphysical Adventurers, Sophia Mouse and Proto the Rabbiton, discover puzzles that are actually bone-chilling challenges to their world, and irresistible calls to personal adventure. In this, his latest escapade – Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows by Tom Hoffman – Orville and his little team take on their biggest challenge yet: the collapsing endless void that separates individual realities, portending nothing less than the destruction of a plethora (a word Orville would savor, making sure to use it 10 times in a day) of additional inhabited worlds. In other words, once again Orville must save his world, not to mention countless others.

Tom Hoffman has spent three glorious volumes creating and expositing the fictional universe inhabited by Orville and his friends. In Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows - the best of the series so far - we are treated to a most wonderful, humor-filled delight of brave-hearted but vulnerable souls tackling issues much larger than themselves. Incorporating magic that is only science that is truly magic, they represent a level of metaphysical wisdom misleadingly made subtle by a smart and creative author. One forgets that he is an adult reading a young person’s book, and you might be inclined to blame it on a stray mote when a tear or two makes an unwarranted appearance. Or maybe Orville or Sophia shaped it there to teach us a necessary lesson. Or maybe, just maybe, Tom Hoffman is showing us all the truth disguised as inordinate, adventurous, heart-warming fun.

Rabia Tanveer

Before I begin my review of Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows: Orville Wellington Mouse Book 3 by Tom Hoffman, let me just say that this witty, tremendously talented and awesome writer has written a novel you will not forget any time soon. This is a fantastic tale of Orville Mouse and his friends as they help him solve this latest mystery. Even though I was a little hesitant at first because I thought it was a children’s novel, naturally I gave it a chance. Boy, am I glad I gave it a chance.

The story follows Orville Mouse (yes, you read that right) and his friends as he finds a most curious hat. He had no idea that this innocuous hat could stir up a tale that is centuries old. When he discovers that the shadow of the hat is not behaving as it should, he knows that he has to find out the mystery behind it. Soon Oliver and his friend, Sophia, realize that the mystery of this hat signals a far more terrifying puzzle that is begging to be uncovered, but should they? With the help of his other friends, Orville tries to find out everything that he can. But he soon realizes that this mystery is not for the faint of heart.

This novel surprised me in every single imaginable way. I loved the fantastic elements, the thrill, the mystery and the amazing characters. I loved the humor and intelligence of Orville Mouse and his interactions with his friends. I loved the fact that Orville was a charmer and unafraid. I simply love this novel just because it is absolutely fabulous. It deserves five stars and so much more!

Divine Zape

Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows is Book 3 in the Orville Wellington Mouse series by award winning author Tom Hoffman. It is entered as an epic fantasy and readers won’t be disappointed, and although it is a tale of adventure for kids, adult readers will discover that it is a really fun read. The story starts when Orville Mouse rescues a hat blown by the wind and finds out that its shadow acts strangely. Now Orville and his friend, Sophia Mouse, start investigating the bizarre behavior of the hat. It is then that they discover a very dangerous secret, one that could actually destroy their world and others. Readers are taken on an exciting and perilous adventure with these characters as they set out for the lost world of Tectar to find an old explorer called Haukesworth. It’s filled with drama, action, and a lot of hilarious moments.

Tom Hoffman creates a story with animals that feel and act and think like humans without losing what is fine in their nature, and this is a huge success for a writer. The setting is wonderful, featuring dangerous places like the Forest of Thorns and the Castle Caligari. The compelling cast of characters will have readers rooting for some, hating some, and laughing out loud with others. Proto, Orville, and Sophia were my most favorite companions. The book read like a Disney treat for kids. Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Capricious Shadows is masterfully crafted with clean and exciting prose and a plot that will have the reader on tenterhooks until the very last word of this awesome narrative. Great dialogues, exploding scenes, and memorable characters are all bundled up neatly in this epic fantasy.