Genres: Fantasy, Children
Main themes: War, Magic
Rating: 3 stars
Note: I was sent a copy of this novel by the author in exchange for an honest review.
One moment, Miles is troubled by the quarrels of his mum and dad floating through to his bedroom. The next, Miles is surrounded by thick violet bushes, being asked whether he’s a spy for the Queen by what appears to be a cross between man and scorpion. Somehow, Miles has ended up in the faraway kingdom of Rompu, completely alone and defenceless but with the help of a friendly Rompun, he’s soon on a journey to not only find his way back home, but to master his emerging elemental abilities, and to help save Rompu from a deadly creature known as the Veratt.
For a debut novel, I thought Riddle had done excellently in creating this new world of unique and fantastical creatures. Thanks to the potent descriptions, it wasn’t hard to imagine what Rompu was like, from the different species of Maylan and Omne, to the unusual (and sometimes not so unusual) food. There were times when I thought the story was too focused on world-building and describing the more minor aspects of Rompu which in turn, slowed down the development of the plot. Even so, you can’t help but admire the author’s ability to have carefully planned and portrayed such a world.
I generally enjoyed the collection of characters, Mortimer probably being one of my favourites because of his kindness and positive demeanour. Ricket was probably my other favourite as he was a bit of a clown, and his irksome yet carefree personality was entertaining. It would have been great if the author had gone into a bit more depth with the characters as I still feel like there was a lot more that could have been explored, especially with Miles. For instance there’s one part in the story where Miles is having a flashback; his parents are arguing and suddenly, he starts to throw and break things in his room. It would have been interesting to delve further into Miles’s emotions and see whether he was upset because he couldn’t change the fact that his parents were no longer happy, or see whether he was angry about the fact that all his parents ever seemed to do was argue. Or maybe Miles didn’t understand what he was feeling, only that he needed to release whatever he was feeling inside by lashing out but just having that extra bit of depth to whatever was going on would have been interesting to see, and help gain a better grasp of his character.
So overall, Wondrous was an adventurous and unique tale; Riddle has created a fascinating universe that will no doubt pique the interest of those who are fans of action packed fantasy novels. I found the first part of the novel to be a little slow paced, and it was a little hard to connect with characters and for these reasons it took me a while to get into the story. But all in all, a worthy debut novel!
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