Mary Kate's Reviews > The Search for WondLa

The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi
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's review
Dec 23, 2010

really liked it
Read in September, 2010 — I own a copy

Twelve-year-old Eva Nine has spent her entire life living in Sanctuary, an underground compound where she is cared for by the motherly robot, Muthr (Multi-Utility Task Help Robot). She's never met another human nor visited the surface and she longs to do both, dreaming of a world - and of the companionship and love to be found there - that she's only seen glimpses of on scraps of paper. When Sanctuary is attacked, Eva is forced to escape to the surface alone, where she soon finds that the reality of life there is more amazing and puzzling than she ever imagined. It is also far more dangerous.

We share Eva's wonder and astonishment as she views the night sky for the first time and understand her fear when she first feels the heat of the sun on her skin and panics, thinking it will burn her. And it is those two things - wonder and fear - that drive much of the story. Eva is smart and brave, caring, curious and resourceful, but she is also young and inexperienced. The controlled amounts of knowledge that have been passed down to her prove to be woefully inadequate as well as either inaccurate or deliberately false (or perhaps a mixture of the two). It seems that everything Eva sees and experiences just leave her (and us) with more questions. Author Tony DiTerlizzi has done a very good job of allowing readers to share Eva's confusion and to be in on each discovery right along with her.

Because I found Eva so likeable and engagingly real, I really cared about her and wanted to share her journey as she sought to discover just who, what and where she is. Though I found the writing just a bit clunky at times and occasionally wished for the pace to pick up (possibly because I really, REALLY wanted to know what was going to happen!), my connection to Eva kept me involved in the story and certainly kept me turning the pages.

Lavishly illustrated (again by DiTerlizzi, whose artwork I so admired in Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, The Search for WondLa is also beautiful to look at. Through the art, DiTerlizzi not only shows us Eva's world, but beautifully conveys her wonder and curiosity as she discovers it. The drawings add tremendously to the whole, making The Search for WondLa not just a book but an experience.

The conclusion led me to believe that at least one sequel is planned (or had darned well better be). I'm already anxiously awaiting it.


Note: A very attractive website has been created for this book. There, readers can try out "WondLa-Vision" by holding certain pages of the book up to their webcam which activates an interactive 3D map. I don't have a webcam, so can't explore WondLa-Vision, but the demo on the website certainly looks intriguing! Visitors can also read or listen to an excerpt, play some games and download wallpapers, etc. This is a book website done right and I recommend a visit.

Paramount reportedly has optioned the film rights.

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