Monday, May 22, 2017

Umberland by Wendy Spinale {review}

by Wendy Spinale
♦publisher: Scholastic
♦release date: May 9th, 2017
♦hardcover, 275 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Everland, book 2
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
Gwen, Pete, and the others have escaped from Everland. But the safe haven they hoped to find at Alnwick Castle doesn't exist. With the Queen of England on her deathbed, Duchess Alyssa has stepped in to lead, but things have gotten worse as the cure Doc created for the Horologia virus has mutated, accelerating the disease. The only possible solution he can think of is to go back to the virus's origin: an extinct poisonous apple.

Legend has it a tree bearing the apple might be found at the center of a deadly labyrinth hidden deep within Germany. A place that no one in their right mind enters. Leaving Pete in charge of the survivors, Alyssa sets out with only her sword, her wits, and the help of Maddox Hadder, a wild boy who oversees the castle gardens. To get to the center of the maze, she'll be forced to battle monsters more terrifying than her darkest nightmares.

But can anyone truly survive the madness of the maze? And what if there's no apple to be found there?

Review: After falling in love with the world of Everland last year, I couldn't wait to dive back in with Umberland, especially after learning that not only would the entire fantastic Peter Pan crew be returning, but they would be joined on this adventure by the characters from Alice in Wonderland!! Now, if you've followed this blog for any amount of time, you know what a huge lover of all things Alice I am. So this was very exciting news indeed! And this sequel did not disappoint---another dark adventure with familiar threads of the old stories plus a fantastic steampunk twist.

The story is once again told in alternating view points between three of the characters: Alyssa, Pete, and Jack, though my favorite new face has to be  Maddox Hadder. Pete, while brimming with boyish charm and bravery in book one, is full of broodiness and self-doubt this time around, and while that is understandable with the grim turn of events and the weight of protecting the Lost Kids on this shoulders, I admit it was hard to take how brooding and angsty he was, especially how hard he was on Doc. The world around them is crumbling and it puts a definite strain on Gwen and Pete, so there was not a happy or romantic tale this time around for them.  

The main storyline revolves around Alyssa and Maddox, as they venture off to a mysterious and dangerous labyrinth to find an elusive poison apple (hm...a big hint, maybe, on what fairy tale the next book will be inspired by? :D) that is their last hope in fighting the now mutated Horologia virus. While Maddox definitely starts out as a shady character, as they fight to survive the dangers of the labyrinth, Alyssa finds out he is much more than she originally took him for, both on the surface and in his buried past. I was so drawn in to their part of the story.

While I really loved this one as a whole, I couldn't help but feel the three storylines going on were a little disjointed. Pete and Gwen are on the brink of war at Alnwick, Alyssa and Maddox are battling the labyrinth, and Jack and Hook are also in the labyrinth, but they almost feel like theirs was such a small part of the story that it didn't add much. It wasn't bad, and it's definitely not what I would call second-book slump because everything is going on is individually very exciting, but it's more a sense of waiting to see everything come together.  There were a few more things that point to Snow White being the ispiration of the third book (though there's been no definite word on that), so that's exciting!! 


Wendy Spinale is a former character actor for the Disneyland theme park (so she's very familiar with the world of make believe). Everland was her debut novel. Wendy lives with her family in the San Fransico Bay Area.


Purchase Umberland:
 Indiebound   •  Amazon  •  Book Depository


Post a Comment