When a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary that Eva Nine was raised in by the robot Muthr, the 12-year-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her, for she knows that other humans exist, because of an item she treasures: a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot, with the strange word, WondLa.
Tony DiTerlizzi honors traditional children's literature in this totally original space-age adventure - one that is as complex as an alien planet, but as simple as a child's wish for a place to belong.
©2010 Simon and Schuster Audio
My favorite genres are absurdist humor, Sci-fi & modern fantasy, but, as you can see, I'll read just about anything. Don't mind the typos.
Interesting story that could use a lot more of everything. Terry hatcher did a good job with it though. The paper version has awesome artwork. The audio version is a little flat.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
Eva Nine has been living in an underground bunker for all of her twelve years of life. She’s being raised by a slightly humanoid robot named MUTHR (it’s an anagram), her omnipod (a personal hand-held device) and her computerized home called Sanctuary. Eva Nine is the only human she’s ever seen. What’s above ground? Why is she not allowed out? Are there any other humans on Earth? If not, where are they? Soon some of Eva’s questions will be answered because somebody is hunting her and to escape, she must leave Sanctuary by herself.
When Eva Nine gets outside, she finds that everything is unrecognizable and nothing is as she’s been taught. The flora and fauna are unknown to her omnipod which is usually able to identify anything. She encounters strange enemies and makes friends with creatures that seem impossible. Could it be that she’s not on Earth? Where is she? Why is somebody hunting her? And what is WondLa, a word she saw on an old scrap of paper? With a couple of new friends, Eva Nine sets out to discover the truth.
The Search for WondLa has a great premise and a delightful heroine. It’s easy to care about Eva Nine, a sweet girl who’s totally alone in a foreign world. The setting is intriguing (both above and below ground) and the story is filled with weird creatures, some of whom are quite loveable. The print version of The Search for WondLa has some wonderful art which you can see at Tony DiTerlizzi’s website. (DiTerlizzi is the co-creator of the popular SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES.)
Unfortunately, I didn’t find the plot of The Search for WondLa to be engaging for long. While I liked Eva Nine and was interested in her situation and the answers to all her questions, I thought that most of the plot dragged and was repetitive. Eva Nine escapes the Sanctuary, travels, gets caught, escapes, travels, gets caught, escapes, travels. There’s a little more to it than that, but not much. As she travels, there is a lot of description of Eva’s world, but even this is dull to read, unfortunately. If there had been beauty in the prose, or if the author had given me something deep to contemplate, I would have liked this part better.
Eva’s situation is desperate, but I never felt it. Every time there’s some sort of tension, it’s resolved quickly. I was also never convinced that Eva Nine was truly hungry, thirsty, tired, dirty, or scared. Eva Nine seems to float above the surface of the world and rarely feels truly engaged, though she’s always describing it to us. Similarly, the weird creatures she meets never felt fully alien. They look strange and each has its own cutesy speech mannerism, but other than that they feel human.
The Search for WondLa will likely appeal to Middle Grade readers, its target audience, but maybe not to older readers who would like a more solid feeling world, more beauty in the writing style, and something to think about. The story ends on a major cliffhanger that will thrill those who’ve enjoyed the book, but I decided that I didn’t care enough to purchase the sequel.
I listened to the audiobook version which was produced by Simon & Schuster and read by actress Teri Hatcher. This is Hatcher’s first audiobook experience (at least the first available on Audible) and she does a nice job, but I had to speed it up quite a bit because her delivery is slow (or maybe the book was just boring).
I listen to a lot of audiobooks.
I liked the content of the book but disliked the narrator. She reads the book so slowly and child like. I found it irritating to listen to. It was like she was reading to a child she thinks is incredibly unintelligent.
helping parents find great books for their kids, ages 4 - 14
Tony DiTerlizzi, author of the Spiderwick Chronicles, has created wonderful illustrations to highlight his richly imagined world. Each chapter begins with a double-page illustration that captured my interest. I actually listened to this as an audiobook, but each night found myself pouring over the illustrations in the book. In some places, I found the text did not provide quite enough description, as it assumed readers were also looking at the illustrations.
Teri Hatcher's narration captured the voice of Eva perfectly, combining an annoying Tween girl's attitude with her mother's restrictions, with her wonder and fear as she explored this new world. DiTerlizzi has also created an interactive visual map which you access online through WondLaVision. This intrigues some students, but I found it hard to break away from my reading habits, bring the book to the computer, and explore this world.
My daughters and I are really enjoying the plot, characters, and images in *The Search for WondLa,* but Hatcher reads the young heroine's lines like she's a whiny brat, while the rest of the text is read so slowly and without voice modulation that they could've been read by a machine or a child just learning to sound out the words. We've literally stopped the audiobook repeatedly just to take a break from the tedious delivery.
Having enjoyed DiTerlizzi's other work, and wanting very much to find out what's in little Eva 9's future, we're going to switch to the hard copy of this book. We'll trade the convenience of the car and the grating flatness of the narrator's delivery for the great illustrations of the original!
SLOOOOOOOWWWWW and emotionless delivery.
The storyline is unique and engaging. Top of my new stories list this quarter.
I loved meeting new characters and species—all are described very well. My favorite moment is when Eva 9 first discovers the world outside her shelter.
This was my first Teri Hatcher audio book—and it won't be my last. She has a wonderful voice range and brings the characters alive. Definitely my new favorite voice artist.
Once I started listening, I could not put it down. It was a constant struggle to find more minutes in my day to listen until I'd finished.
Now it's time for the next installment.
It is an excellent book for those younger readers who want to be part of the dystopian movement that seems to be hitting the reading world.
The main character, Eva 9 because she is exactly the same as people of her age around us. She acts like any of us would at that age, yet, she lives in such a different world.
Yes but I wouldn't listen to a book narrated by Teri Hatcher, just because she was the narrator.
Be careful what you wish for.
Excellent book for those innocent readers who love futuristic settings.
The narrator reads SO SLOWLY that I actually set my ipod to replay audiobooks faster. I've never had that experience before, but it was really painful. Otherwise, the story was fine - not great. The cover and the title obviously refer to The Wonderful Land of Oz and this story is sort of a future, star wars-y version. The idea has immense potential. Without the painful narration, I'd give this a 4 without question and I can't be certain how much my frustration with the story was the narration. Nonetheless, I overall found this a bit disappointing, and I am not sure that I will buy the sequels (yes, there will be sequels).
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