This book series is so good I even got a hardcover edition! It was my favorite book series for a few months. The Wondla Trilogy is a series of science fiction (children's) novel about Eva Nine's search for Wondla. Wondla is what she calls a family. There isn't an obvious and special reason as to why Tony came up with the word Wondla; all we know is that Eva found a photograph in her "sanctuary" with the words Wondla on it. It was a photograph of humans—people like herself—and she assumed that it was her family. Eva lived in an isolated sanctuary with a robot whom she called Muthr (kinda sounds like "mother"). Muthr took care of Eva and her wellbeing. Eva had everything she could possibly need, but still she yearned for a taste of the world outside. Can't blame her for the dreaded boredom and repetition of her unchanging daily activities. One fateful day, her sanctuary was crushed by a creature called Besteel and thus freeing Eva from her isolation and beginning her adventure of the unknown and forbidden.
My mom bought my sister this book, and I was intrigued by its illustration, but didn't read it until few years later, because it was so difficult to start. The introduction wasn't appealing to me as it was really descriptive and technical, and I wasn't too sure what I was reading, BUT when I finally got to reading understanding the first page, I embarked on a life changing fictional journey. The world building of the planet Orbona was absolutely stunning, complete with unique atmospheres and inhabitants (like the Airwhales, Flotozoans, Mimic Ivies, Giant Sundews, etc); every book in this series did not fail to amaze me (on how imaginative Tony is). It's like you're really living in another world, smelling its rain, basking in its sun, and fighting the battles it faced.
There isn't a hint of romance in this trilogy. I myself like at least some romance in books I read, but it wasn't necessary for Wondla (short for The Wondla Trilogy). It focused more on family and how creatures of different species and different blood can come to live with and love each other as a real family. And I looooove how Eva was the center of everything. She was strong in the face of obstacles, and trusted her family to watch her back as she fought. Her friends' willingness to sacrifice for her is as passionate as her desire to protect them from harm. And when the virus vitae generator aka cosmic mother embraced Eva, turning her hair into silver, it was like Eva experienced a spiritual awakening, as if she's one with the universe. That scene could not be written or illustrated any better. It felt magical to see Eva's transformation, alongside Eva Eight's "reincarnation" as a tree.
Eva walked a path of self discovery. Despite being stubborn at times, and at one point, naïve, she made exponential growth and discovered herself and her purpose (and that silver hair suits her handsomely). Her most prominent mentor was Rovender, her cærulean best friend, who guided her through tough times and picked her up when she fell. I was moved to tears by their deep connection and their love for each other. It's like Eva's got a father she never had. Muthr, Eva's robot mother who died early on to protect Eva, was also one of Eva's major mentors. Despite being a robot, she showed emotions and motherly love for Eva. I don't know if it was programmed into her to act like a human, but still, she felt alive rather than mechanized, completely capable of worrying and nagging.
And then there's Hailey Turner. Hailey, Hailey, Hailey. *shakes head* And here I was thinking he'd end up with Eva, and they did, except only as friends. Well ... that's not bad either, because Hailey isn't exactly husband material. Personally, I didn't feel like he was annoying, but I did feel like he was unreliable and more relaxed compared to Eva. Love his grandpa though. Since it has been a while since I last read the books, the details are less fresh in my head, and the clearest memory I have of something aside from Eva Nine and Rovender and his clan and OTTO (I WANT AN OTTO!) and Queen Ojo and Zin is ...! *drumroll*
LOROC THE ASSGANTIC MONSTER. THE. DISGUSTING. BEAST. WHO. EATS. HIS. OWN. FREAKING. SIBLINGS. AND. HE. LOOKS. LIKE. HE'S. OBESE. BECAUSE. WHO. EATS. THEIR. OWN. FREAKING. SIBLINGS? And he has that annoying taxidermist sidekick who keeps nagging Eva.
The ending was ... awesome! We look into the future where Hailey and Eva become best friends (?). And then another century later we see Eva being remembered as a silver-haired hero in a legend. And then there was another future that I suppose belongs to another era, because the characters were talking about Wondla again, in some complex and fancy dialect. I didn't understand the "Cadmus Pryde" part though. So was he reborn? With the same name? It's a completed-yet-open ending and although I don't fully comprehend what the heck is going on, I still like how Tony ended the story. On the last page, we see the picture of Wondla that Eva was talking about. It looks kinda' like Dorothy and the Tinman and the Scarecrow. Intentional or coincidental? My guess is that it's intentional because I've (attempted) written books myself and one thing I learned from the experience is that no detail goes into the book unnoticed or unplanned by the author.
Tony must've exhausted a lot of time and effort in these books because of the beautiful and amazing illustrations accompanying every chapter. The book was intricately written and it feels like Tony's literally painting the world he imagines into a reality for me. But to be honest, I'm not a hardcore Sci-fi fan/reader, so there are a lot of details I miss out because I do see them but my mind cannot register them. There was a section at the end of the series where Tony shows you how to read the Orbonian language (or at least that's what I know), and I didn't understand a single shit. There wasn't any Orbonian words in the book so all is good.
9.8 out of 10 for Wondla! What would you rate it (assuming you have/will read it)?
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