Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Last Metaphonium by Tom Hoffman is an expertly written fantasy novel. It's the fourth in a series about the Metaphysical Adventurer (a.k.a. world-hopping) Orville Wellington Mouse. Orville is a shaper, meaning he's magically gifted, and when a highly interactive dream about a ghost and a book fair leaves him with a weird book in a language no one can read, his sassy girlfriend, Sophia, and their loyal ally, Proto, join him on a quest to decode the book. The results uncover a long-lost piece of ancient history and when the adventurers enter the surreal world of Elysian in search of a friend's long-lost wife, they take on the mysterious Shadow King, accompanied by an austere monk who's more than he seems. Will Orville be able to find reality and solve the puzzle of the Last Metaphonium?
Tom Hoffman is a delight to read. His world is endlessly complex, varied, and filled with flights of fancy, yet completely true and simple as well. The characters ring with a deep, supple humanity, and I was captivated, wanting to know what would happen next. Action, comedy, mystery, adventure, romance--it's all here. Orville's many little quirks make him thoroughly well-rounded, and the underlying theme that love and honesty can overcome fears was handled as melodiously as the concept of the piano-like Metaphonium, in which sets of keys provide portals to other worlds. Quiet sidekick Proto absolutely steals the show, his fears that he's not loved and accepted threading a delicate subplot that is as poignant as it is satisfying. Verbally enchanting, emotionally human, and philosophically relevant, The Puzzle of the Last Metaphonium blends many genres into a really fun read.
Reviewed By Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite * 5 stars
In this fourth installment of a highly successful, award winning series, Tom Hoffman has produced in The Puzzle of the Last Metaphonium both a plot and a literal device that almost defy imagination. Except that imagination might verily be the name of the game itself. The last Metaphonium - the device - is one ingenious invention. Not your parents' Sound Piano, nor your grandparents' either; this one literally takes you to other worlds. And it is on the most important adventure quest of all - to locate a missing loved one - that Orville, his girlfriend, Sophia, and their personal protector, Proto, dare the prophesied terrors of a mysterious other-world in order to successfully complete (survive) their mission. Metaphysically replete with the wisdom, humor, adventure, unspoken love and oatmeal cookies that young and old have come to expect from Orville Mouse, The Puzzle of the Last Metaphonium satisfies all your cravings. Except for the oatmeal cookies. Those are incumbent upon yourself; unless, of course, you already happen to be a Shaper. Read the book!"
Tom Hoffman's young adult metaphysical adventure fantasy, Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Last Metaphonium: Orville Wellington Mouse, Book 4, is a glorious romp through the fabled land of Elysian where anything you dream of or fear may very likely come true. I had the grandest time reading this enthralling adventure yarn which somehow makes quantum physics painless and perfectly understandable. Hoffman's plot is lively and filled with twists and turns that keep both the characters and the reader on edge. His characters, especially Orville, Sophia and Proto, seem to come of age in this tale as they confront their own demons and greatest fears, and find their inner combined strengths to be prodigious indeed. While this book can be read and enjoyed on its own, I would most strongly recommend the new reader start with the first book in the series, but if you can't resist, Hoffman does give enough background without giving any spoilers to ruin the experience of going back after this one. Best of all, there's a definite sense in the air that there will be more puzzles for Orville to solve and that's such a very good thing. Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Last Metaphonium is Hoffman's best fantasy novel yet, and it's most highly recommended.
"A charming adventure, Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Last Metaphonium is humorous and clever, with danger, pirates, a beautiful ghost mouse, and an exciting world brought to life with imagination."