Friday, December 10, 2010

Review: The Search for WondLa

Title: The Search for WondLa
Author: Tony DiTerlizzi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Category: Middle Grade
Page Count: 477
Release Date: September 2010
Source: Library
Quick Rating: 5/5

“Don’t you get it, Muthr?” Eva said, affronted. “Look at the girl and her parent. Look at their robot. See how happy they all are?”

Eva Nine had never seen the actual sun before, or walked outdoors. In fact, she had never even seen another living person in all twelve years of her life. That changes when a marauding huntsman destroys her underground home and sends her fleeing for her life. She is desperate to find someone else who is like her, and a single clue gives her hope: a crumbling picture of a girl, a robot, an adult, and the word WondLa.

The Search for WondLa begins a trilogy whose imaginative text and breathtaking illustrations are sure to inspire dreams.

The Search is just the beginning…

So I’m super excited for my first review on this brand-spankin’ new blog to be such a fantastic book. I’ve never picked up a Tony DiTerlizzi book before, though I watched The Spiderwick Chronicles movie when it came out. I think I’m definitely going to have to pick up that series after reading The Search for Wondla.

WondLa is about Eva Nine, a twelve-year-old girl raised by her robot, Muthr, in an underground facility called a Sanctuary. Eva longs for nothing but seeing the surface, and has her dreams thrust upon her one evening when a dangerous huntsman destroys her home. She finds the world strange and dangerous, and unlike anything she has been trained for.

I really genuinely enjoyed this book, and it surprised me, as I usually don’t read anything from the “juvenile” section. However, I love seeing a good sci-fi novel out there for kids, and I was impressed at how the book didn’t “talk down” to it’s audience, like a lot of juvenile fiction I’ve encountered. It also tackles some very adult themes, such as death, slaughter of innocents, and guilt.

The pull for this book from the beginning for me was, though, the absolutely stunning artwork! I’m a sucked for books with illustrations, and WondLa definitely did not disappoint in that area. The two-tonal art plates pop up at the beginning of every chapter, with a few smaller ones scattered throughout - some of which are important for things outside the book.

The characters were all extremely likable. Eva Nine was a bit of a brat, but a believable one. Mr. DiTerlizzi definitely got the personality of a twelve-year-old girl down to a t. Muthr is a strong presence, though she isn’t in the forefront of the story the entire time. Rovender Kitt is the strong, adult personality needed to keep Eva on her path, and Otto the giant water bear is just too cute for words.

My only cons for the book was a slow start (though that was just me personally), and one “squick”-worthy scene involving the huntsman, but again, that’s just my own personal taste.

The cliffhanger ending was absolutely perfect, and has me hungry for more. Fortunately, this is a trilogy, and I cannot wait for the next one to come out! I’m thinking this may even be one I’ll buy for myself.

I would like to take a moment to mention the book’s absolutely wonderful website. It has character bios, a coming-soon art gallery, author bio, free desktop wallpapers, and a super fun find-the-difference game that had me hooked. However, the best part of the site is the WONDLA-VISION, or Augmented Reality. To use this special feature, you’ll have to have a copy of the book, and a webcam. This interactive feature really sold it for me, especially coming from a sci-fi book. It just worked so perfectly! Check out the site for more information (and listen to the really awesome music) at:

The Final Word: Great sci-fi for a younger audience, fantastic concepts, and beautiful art. A must-read for any age.


Tea: Something spicy and exotic. From my own tea shelf, I’d pick Hot Cinnamon Sunset from Harney & Sons Fine Teas.

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