Author: Travis M. Riddle
Pub. Date: January 17th, 2017
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure
Miles went to sleep tucked tightly in bed in his Austin apartment and woke up in the middle of a damp, dark forest in the kingdom of Rompu, a land being torn apart by a civil war between its king and queen.
Miles has few companions in this vast kingdom, which is filled with fantastical animals and flora yet sprinkled with familiar items like digital clocks and vinyl records. As he searches for a way to return home, he discovers that certain memories trigger magical abilities: he can shoot fireballs from his palms, heal with nothing but a touch, and more. But as he struggles to make sense of this new world, his thoughts are punctuated by painful memories of his sick grandmother, quarreling parents, and an icy school therapist.
When Miles learns that a monstrous entity flying through the countryside and killing for sport was summoned from a portal to another realm, he believes this creature is the key to learning how to open another rift and return home. Tracking down this beast and mastering his newfound magical abilities may be the only way for Miles to help save Rompu and get back to his family in Texas.
Wondrous is an adventure full of friendship, loyalty, magic, and righting wrongs. In this novel, we follow nine-year-old Miles as he wakes up in a whole new and strange world full of creatures he had never before heard of. Miles eventually learns that he holds power, a spectacular and dangerous power, that makes him the only one capable of defeating the horrible monster that is attacking and destroying everything in it’s path. This is his journey to harnessing that power and using it to defeat the bad in the world.
The premise of this novel drew me in. Who wouldn’t want to read about a young boy trying to survive in a strange new world where everything and everyone is unknown and dangerous? I found his urge to get home mesmerizing, as his home life was difficult and painful for him. His love for his family shone strongly throughout the novel, and it was evident how much he missed them when he became close with a couple who had recently lost their son similar in age to Miles. I also found the species and their history to be engaging. They were all once united, until the King made a mistake that cost them everything. Miles has a chance to make it right and unite them again, but can he do it?
Miles, though he is only nine, is rather very mature and busies himself with details of the war and reading in his spare time away from training. What keeps you from forgetting he is nine is his fear of germs, since his grandma died of them. He cries, finds the simplicity in most things, and he does complain, but he also sees things others may have missed, and he is determined and strong. Miles knows what’s what, and he does everything he can to help defeat the monster.
One thing I found myself struggling with was the transitions between flashbacks and present tense. I found myself having to re-read paragraphs multiple times just to discern where a flashback began and ended. It would change so suddenly I would find myself wondering what happened, which led to re-reading some lines. Other than the transitioning however, I really enjoyed the flashbacks and how they intertwined with Miles’ powers. I was also shocked by the amount of violence and how descriptive it was, as I assumed it wouldn’t be delved into too much since the main character was a young child. However, I enjoyed the dark, gritty details we were given and couldn’t have asked for better!
Overall, Wondrous is an engaging, entertaining adventure you won’t want to miss! It’s rich in unity and war, and can teach us all a lesson or two for sure.