Eva Nine is a 12-year-old girl who has spent her entire life in an underground Sanctuary facility. She has been raised by a robot and spends her time in simulated outdoor activities that test her survival skills. Those skills are soon put to the test when her Sanctuary is invaded by a hunter trying to capture her.
This children’s sci-fi fantasy novel is a new classic for a new generation. Author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi channels children’s author L. Frank Baum as he takes Eva on a journey through the world of Orbona that is as fanciful as the world of Oz. Eva, along with her robot, a wandering alien named Rovender, and a giant “water bear” named Otto must traverse this strange land in search of “WondLa.”
WondLa refers to a picture that Eva has of a human girl and the only decipherable letters are WondLa. Eva is desperate to find answers for why she was being raised underground, why her Omnipod (an iPad-like gadget) does not recognize anything in this world, and where she can find more humans like herself.
Her adventures are exciting, and made all the more so through DiTerlizzi’s illustrations that introduce each thrilling chapter. Although the novel is clearly aimed for young readers, there is enough quality writing in this to appeal to readers of all ages who are looking for a fanciful adventure.
This is just the first book of the trilogy; and, although discerning readers could predict a few of the twists in the final pages as Eva begins to get some answers, there is plenty of promise for more exciting adventures on the horizon. I’m eager to grab the second novel (which was just published in May) and learn what happens to little Eva Nine.