Friday, July 01, 2011

The Search for Wondla (MG)

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi. 2010. Simon & Schuster. 477 pages. 

Eva Nine was dying. The tiny scarlet dots on her hand mirrored the glowering eyes of the snake that had just bitten her.

I didn't love The Search for Wondla. I'm not even sure I liked it. One of the reasons it didn't quite work for me was that the ending left me unsatisfied. I wanted to shout at the book, "That's not an ending!" Then again, maybe it's not fair to judge a first book in a series by the ending.

Eva Nine, our heroine, may just be the last human on the planet. She has spent her whole life underground in Sanctuary. She was raised by a robot--albeit a robot with a mothering program built right in. (Muthr is always, always nagging Eva Nine to do this or that. Little things like picking up her room, etc.) When the novel opens, Eva Nine is in the middle of a test to determine if she's ready to live Sanctuary and venture into the real world above ground. Her muthr isn't convinced that she is ready. But she's going to give her one more chance, if Eva Nine doesn't improve, well, they may just have to go back to the basics.
Six Basic Survival Skills for Humans
1. Trust technology
2. Signal others
3. Find shelter
4. Create fire
5. Procure food and water
6. Know first aid
But ready or not, Eva Nine may be forced into the cruel, ugly world of unknowns. When someone breaks into sanctuary--destroying it in the process--Eva Nine is forced to flee the only home she's ever known. She is taking a few technological items with her, like her Omnipod, but what she soon discovers is that NO technology can protect her now, keep her safe, or guide her. The whole world--the whole planet--is unknown.

But Eva Nine won't be on her own for long, though her companions are not human--not even close.

The Search for Wondla is a blending of so many genres and subgenres. It's both science fiction and fantasy, in my opinion. It's an adventure story--a survival story. And of course it's one big mystery. Where is Eva Nine? What planet is she on? How did she get there? Is she really, truly the last human? Where did all these species come from?

The world Tony DiTerlizzi created is interesting. At times I found it confusing, I had to keep telling myself to keep reading and that it would start making sense eventually if I just read long enough. And that worked, for the most part. It helped when I decided the confusion might just be intentional. Eva Nine, our heroine, is thrust into a world that is completely foreign to her. She doesn't recognize any of the trees or plants. She doesn't recognize any of the life forms. These creatures--animals--speak in their own languages. She doesn't know what's dangerous and what's safe. She's completely out of her element.

Have you read this one? What did you think?

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kristi Bernard 7:47 PM  

I am sorry to hear you didn't like the book. I have not read it yet and now I am not sure I will. I had the opportunity to meet Tony at a book even in Kansas City. I really enjoyed him. Thanks for sharing.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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