October 2010, Simon and Schuster
482 pages, Hardback
Non-human species, inventive technology, animals with some intelligence, sentient plants, danger, regular moderate to strong peril, tissues needed,
Blurb from the inside flap (Simon and Schuster website not working at time of writing this review)
"Don't you get it, Muthr?" Eva said, affronted. "Look at the girl and her parents. Look at their robot. See how happy they all are?"
Eva Nine has never seen the actual sun before, or walked outdoors. In fact, she has 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 desparate to find someone else who is like her, and a single clue gives her hope: a crumbling picture of a girl, a romobt, and a human with the word WONDLA still visible on it.
The Search for WondLa begins a trilogy whose imaginative text and breathtaking illustrations are sure to inspire dreams.
Dreams are definitely inspired with this book. Upon seeing the beautiful cover, I instantly thought of my beloved anime and manga collection. I suspected this book would wow me, and oh boy it did! There are illustrations at the start of every chapter, and sometimes within the chapters too. They really bring the book to life (quite literally if you download software and link up to the website - that particular feature didn't work for me). For me Eva's personality matched how she looks. I can feel the wonder as she explores the world, and also the fear as she confronts those who wish her harm. Being shut away from the world could have made Eva naive. But it doesn't. She soon realises the dangers, and uses all the resources up her sleeve to stay safe. There's the nifty invention of the omnipod, which helps with healing, finding directions, figuring out what things are. Sadly the one thing my family would love it to do (and it doesn't) is make tea. Although I'm sure someone could program the omnipod to do that sometime.
Fans of sci-fi will love this book because there are holographic programs and the omnipod uses holograms. Each environment (apart from the one in the last chapter) is nothing that I've encountered before. Eva creates strong friendships, ones which will keep her safe on her journey. Her enemies are positively evil, and I was so scared I found it hard to read on. But right when you think it is the end, suddenly a way out presents itself to Eva. I wanted to give her a huge hug when the major revelation happened at the end - that was one surprise! I squealed with delight at the sight of her standing down her pursuer in part IV - she looked so strong there. And, it really did read like one of my anime series. This is a series which looks to hold many more surprises.
Eva's journey build her courage, helps her find confidence, make new friends and endure tragic loss. It teaches that no matter how hard any of us prepare for something, there are always unknown variables that can change plans.
Recommended anime: The Last Exile (series), Origin (film),
For other enchanting reads, try Wyrmeweald: Returner's Wealth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddel