#47 Wonderscape by Jennifer Bell

THE GAME IS ON. TRAVEL WITH WONDER.

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.

Paperback | 352

Publisher: Walker Books (4 Jun. 2020)

Read: 11th June

Age Range: 9-12 year olds.

I am so excited to read this, although the last two children’s books I’ve read haven’t been as enjoyed, something about this book just set my tingle curiosities on fire. Also, the cover is so magical.

Super easy. There is a lot of scene changes or ‘world jumping’ but it’s not overly ambitious or bogged down with information. It is clear to see a path between all the changes and not get lost in the process.

So, the three main characters are Arthur, Ren and Cecily. There are a whole host of other characters, but it will be up to you to discover them…if you read this book!

Arthur – It was Arthur’s point of view that was focused on the most, so it was through his eyes that I joined the story. I think that for a shy child, he had a lot of gumption and bravery. At the beginning of the story he feels very lonely and I got the impression that he didn’t fit in with his peers at school that much. Through the story I got to see many parts of his character adapt and evolve. He became more confident and outgoing. He gained confidence and understanding. He found friendship and loyalty. I found his character to be pretty well rounded and the way his character grew during the book, showed what depth his character had. I think he handled himself with a great level of maturity.

Ren – I felt like Ren was the wild child of the group and she started as the character that I knew the least about. However, learning about Ren was like learning that myth from school was a lie. It was interesting though to discover more of her character and see how the facts she gave about herself started to open the eyes of Arthur and Cecily. Ren became so much more than the ‘new girl at school’ and I felt that through the course of the novel, she began to find her place in the world and became more grounded in who she was and what she aspired to be.

Cecily – I wasn’t expecting to like Cecily much at the beginning, I could almost hear myself groaning ‘here we go, another popular girl’, but I found myself pleasantly surprised by her character and by how much growth she encountered as the story continued. Out of all the characters, Cecily grew the most and her moments of honesty and trust in the other characters allowed me to see her more openly and in a positive manner.

The three characters show just how much you can have in common with someone – even if you come from different walks of life. Cecily’s family was rich, but her parents weren’t around much. Ren was expelled from her previous school and struggling to fit in. Arthur came from a single parent family and wore second-hand clothes. The story encourages you to leave the things you can judge a person by on the first page and invites you into a story that is both complex and imaginative. It’s a cleverly crafted skill.

I had no difficulty with visualising this because each scene is set up with a multitude of descriptive words. It was really easy to build off that base and construct a vividly clear image in my head. This book is one of those were it is almost impossible not to imagine what’s happening as you read.

If you couldn’t tell already, I thought this book was ace. I really enjoyed reading it and it made me feel positive about my day. I found the concept very interesting and the way the narrative is crafted makes you think you’re simply on an adventure whereas in reality, you’re on an adventure but you’re also learning something. There was a perfect blend of adventure and history in this book and I found myself gripping the pages and had to stop myself from reading too fast.

Something about this book felt special and I was certainly captivated by what I was reading. The characters played a strong game and through their actions, the story progressed with curiosity and intrigue. I was absorbed into the book while reading this and didn’t want the experience to end. The book ends neatly wrapped. I desperately want this to be a series of books, but I am not sure whether that is the intended direction. Either way, this is one book that is definitely going to be staying on my shelf.

Out of the 4 books I’ve read so far in June, this is my favourite. I don’t want to over-explain it with big words, but it was like a ray of sunshine when I opened this book and I didn’t stop smiling once while reading. I enjoyed all elements in this book and think they worked pretty well in perfect harmony to create something truly magical. This book is targeted toward those ages 9-12, but it is a book to be enjoyed by all ages.

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