When a vicious invader breaches the security of her underground home—the Sanctuary where she has lived for all of her 12 years—young Eva Nine is suddenly thrust above ground into an unknown and potentially dangerous world. It’s a world her mother, a robot appropriately dubbed Muthr, has long prepared her for, never really knowing when, or how, this moment would come.
Striking out as apparently the only human on the planet Orbona, Eva Nine meets several odd characters—including Rovender Kitt (a Jar Jar Binks-like alien) and a kindly water bear—who aid her travels and help her search for answers to who she really is. Her only clue? A crumbling picture of a girl, a robot and a human with the word “WondLa” still visible.
Through a series of amazing escapes and travels over lands with spectacular vistas and peopled with curious creatures, Eva—along with her companions and Muthr—journeys far from her once-safe home into an uncertain future.
Tony DiTerlizzi, the co-creator of the best-selling Spiderwick Chronicles, offers nods to Star Wars and Planet of the Apes as well as L. Frank Baum and Lewis Carroll in his breathtakingly exciting new novel—the first in a planned trilogy. The book, already optioned for a Paramount film, is laden with DiTerlizzi’s own lush graphic-novel-type illustrations and several “augmented reality” maps—which can be revealed in 3D on a computer.
Will DiTerlizzi’s latest serve as his launch pad for a leap from popularity to superstardom? Only time will tell, but The Search for WondLa is so utterly good, so compelling and so suspenseful that young readers won’t want to miss out on this fantastic journey.
Copyright 2010 BookPage Reviews.
Spiderwick Chronicles coauthor DiTerlizzi introduces 12-year-old Eva Nine, who lives centuries in the future and is trying to discover whether she is the last human being on an alien world, in this series launch. After a hunter forces her out of Sanctuary--where she's been raised by a robot, Muthr--she finds a hostile world like nothing she has learned about or trained for. She makes friends, including a wanderer named Rovender and a telepathic "water horse" she calls Otto, but also finds unexpected enemies. While there is less imaginative variety than in the Spiderwick books, and the world does not seem as fully envisioned, there is still wonder aplenty in this tense, chase-filled journey to engage young readers, plus twists for adult fans of Twilight Zone-styled stories. The bond between Eva and her friends is well drawn, and Otto, happily, is more than just a human in alien form. DiTerlizzi's evocative, detailed pen illustrations (not all seen by PW), which have a retro Star Wars vibe, and interactive maps online, unlocked via Augmented Reality, contribute to a sense of adventure as Eva dives into the unknown. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Gr 5-8--Twelve-year-old Eva Nine is being raised by Muthr, a pale blue robot who is loving and maternal (she speaks in the sweet, unflappable tones of a 1950s sit-com mom), in an underground home on the planet Orbona. When a marauder destroys her home, she leaves Sanctuary in a quest to find other humans like herself. Aboveground she finds a fantastic and frightening world populated by malevolent wandering trees, a giant beast who is pursuing her, nasty sand-snipers, and more. With the aid of Rovender, a lanky blue creature with backward-bending knees, and Otto, a giant water bear with whom she can communicate telepathically, Eva faces many dangers, including capture by a taxidermist who wants to skin her in order to create a living fossil for display. This first book in the series concludes with her arrival at her destination in the ancient city of ruins. The abundant illustrations, drawn in a flat, two-tone style, are lush and enhance readers' understanding of this unique universe. In addition, augmented reality is used in three places. By holding up the page from the book to a webcam, an interactive map appears on the screen. Readers can watch as the landscape where Eva Nine is traveling unfolds. DiTerlizzi is pushing the envelope in his latest work, nearly creating a new format that combines a traditional novel with a graphic novel and with the interactivity of the computer. Yet, beneath this impressive package lies a theme readers will easily relate to: the need to belong, to connect, to figure out one's place in the world. The novel's ending is a stunning shocker that will leave kids frantically awaiting the next installment.--Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME[Page 98]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.