Book Reviews · Children's · Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

Review: Wondrous by Travis M. Riddle

Wondrous by Travis M. Riddle
Published January 17th 2017 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
RRP USD $14.99
★★★

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.

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Wondrous was an OK book. The author clearly put a lot of effort into it, and it mostly pulled off. The author didn’t really have a distinctive storytelling ‘voice’, but the book was still easy enough to read and enjoyable. The story had a lot of flashbacks as a way of showing the protagonist’s backstory, which was creative, and definitely left me wondering, but could get confusing at times when the words and speech directly flowed from one setting to another, but this could just be due to the formatting of the ePub?

A few things confused me throughout the story, like how he suddenly gets transported into the other world?? But later as I got further into the story, I came up with my own assumptions as to how things came about, which were usually confirmed by another character in the story.

I didn’t really get a good grasp of the monsters and villains in the story, because at times the descriptions were slightly too much for my impatient soul, and I would just skim in order to get on with the story, so I wouldn’t say it’s the book’s fault. I’ll have to go back over those parts in order to fill the gap. I’m not too sure whether my interpretation of the monsters were what the author intended, but it seemed to me that they were a sort of metaphor for the struggles Miles had to overcome, and I liked that.

The worldbuilding was slightly confusing and very minimal. Truth be told, even after finishing the story, things were still a bit blurry, the world seemed to be an alien world, but they still had the Earthen foods and I think that threw me off a bit. In the beginning, when Miles first landed in the world, there were so many new characters and species being introduced and I was a tad bit confused, but as the story went on, I got to know the characters a bit better, and everything was OK from then on.

To be honest, the protagonist, Miles, really irritated me at the beginning. He was written in a way that made him seem much older than he was, when he was supposedly only 9 years old, which was not necessarily bad, but just struck me as odd. I got really annoyed at the way he was completely refusing help from those who tried to help him, and kept running off with no concern for those he was leaving behind.

The ending threw me off a bit, because I felt it was quite sudden? I’m not too sure, I would’ve liked an epilogue or something regarding how Miles’ family turned out, how his parents reacted when he came home, etc.

While I’m sure this review sounds fairly negative, it was actually quite an interesting book, and the idea is definitely something to work with. Regardless of the few faults, I think there is definitely potential for both the story and the author to expand further 🙂
I received a review copy from the author.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHORTravis M. Riddle

TRAVIS M. RIDDLE lives with his pooch in Austin, TX, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English Writing & Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University. His work has been published in award-winning literary journal the Sorin Oak Review.

 

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