Author: Travis M. Riddle
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Rating: 1 Star (DNF)
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.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
For a brief moment when I picked this book up, I had hope. The synopsis sounded interesting, and in general, I love middle-grade books, so I was excited to pick up Wondrous by Travis M. Riddle. At worst, it certainly couldn’t be less than 3 stars, could it?
Sigh – and then I started reading. I’ll be honest, I only got about three pages in. The narrative was so disjointed that it was hard to understand what was even going on. It was like trying to read the story through the experiences of a child with severe Attention Deficit Disorder. There was description in clipped sentences with no heart or internal voice behind it – like it’d been sucked dry of personality. The main character flipped a blanket and ended up in another world, and met a creature that wasn’t human… and there was no reaction.
Maybe the book has a fantastic plot, maybe it has amazing world-building – but if the entirety of this book is written as it was written in the first three pages, I don’t see how it could be enjoyed. I am setting this one aside as a DNF.