Pub: Jan 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Disclaimer: I received a reading copy in exchange for an honest review
Miles goes to sleep one night in his familiar home in Austin, Texas, but wakes up alone in a forest in the Kingdom of Rompu, in the midst of a civil war. Confused and scared, Miles just wants to go back home. Plagued by memories and thoughts of his troubled home life, Miles is stretched thin by opposing forces and magical abilities that seem to manifest themselves through memories.
A straight-laced action-adventure and fantasy novel, Travis M. Riddle delivers a fantastical narrative of magical and other-beings world mixed in with the very real feelings of a child coping with the death of a family member and his parent’s divorce.
I was impressed by the fantasy world of Rompu. Riddle implemented lots of details from descriptions of food and cities, to animals and other humanoid species.
The writing itself is strong and the pacing works well. There were some instances where it got boring, but that might be from my own reading pace and not necessarily an issue with the book.
One issue I had with the book was how easily the adult characters of the book let Miles do whatever he wanted (to some extent). He’s being held against his will in some portions of the story, but can easily request things. Also, Miles doesn’t come off as very desperate to get home too often.
What really stood out to me was Miles’s issue with germs and how his feelings toward his parent’s divorce manifested throughout the story.
It’s all it comes down too. Did Miles really end up in this strange fantasy world or is it all in his head? But the thing is, it doesn’t really matter if it’s real or not in the end. What matters is how, what, and why Miles is feeling the emotions he’s feeling. Big changes like the death of a loved one or a parent’s divorce can lead children to create something new or use other means to cope.
The ending left me clenching my fist, but all the same, for Miles the feelings may never go away and his reality will be different forever. All we could hope for is to cope and learn how to move on.
While, Wondrous isn’t geared toward younger audiences, it’s suitable (but there is violence). Wondrous reminded me of Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls, for similar themes and concept.