Title: Wonderscape | Author: Jennifer Bell | Series: Wonderscape #1 | Publisher: Walker Books | Genre: Middlegrade | 359 pages
With the new book “Legendarium” coming out today, I thought it would be a good idea to post my review of the first book in the series. That I just finished reading yesterday, after it was on my tbr for over a year.
When Arthur, Ren and Cecily investigate a mysterious explosion on their way to school, they find themselves trapped aboard The Principia – a scientific research ship sailing through hazardous waters, captained by one Isaac Newton. Lost in the year 2473 in the Wonderscape, an epic in-reality adventure game, they must call on the help of some unlikely historical heroes, to play their way home before time runs out.
TL;DR: A thrilling story with likable characters and a fascinating world to explore. I would love to go on an adventure through the Wonderscape and would definitely recommend this book.
I took my sweet time with this book and I don’t know why. I have read the beginning about three times and put the book away. Not because it wasn’t good but because it wasn’t really the right time, I guess. Now that I have read it, I wish I would have read it before.
“Imagine a jar of bubblegums. Each bubblegum is in exactly the right place, but as soon as you pull one out, the rest fall into different positions. Travelling through time has the same effect on the order of the universe – it scrambles everything.”
The book is told in third person while we mainly follow Arthur. He lives in the poorer part of town with his father and doesn’t have any friends. He meets Cecily and Ren, two girls from his school and they investigate a noise in an abandoned house which kicks off the whole adventure. I quite liked Arthur, Cecily and Ren. (And I absolutely loved Cloud.) While they were very likable, I also would have wished to know more about them. Arthur’s backstory, for example, wasn’t really explained very well – I would have loved to know why he didn’t have any friends. I just felt like there was something missing in that department.
I did however, love the idea of the Heroes of the realms and have already wondered who I would like to meet and what my wondercloak would look like. I think it speaks for itself when an author can create something so wonderous and great that you wish you could be there too.
There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments. You only need to seize them.
I’ve heard this book being described as a mixture of Jumanji and Ready Player One. I have never read Ready Player One but I quite loved Jumanji and I can see the resemblance. I really, really loved the Wonderscape. The different realms were so imaginative and there were dangerous incidents and difficult riddles and I just enjoyed the whole ride.
The ending came a bit too fast for my taste and felt a bit rushed which was rather unfortunate.
In the end, I can only say that I loved this book. While there might be some minor issues I did enjoy myself immensely while reading and I think that’s what matters most. I hope Legendarium is more developed and polished and I definitely can’t wait to read it.