I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Wonderling by Mira Bartók
Narrator: Simon Vance
Length: 9 Hours 20 Minutes
Published by Candlewick Press on September 26, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Animals
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
In this extraordinary debut novel with its deft nod to Dickensian heroes and rogues, Mira Bartók tells the story of Arthur, a shy, fox-like foundling with only one ear and a desperate desire to belong, as he seeks his destiny. Have you been unexpectedly burdened by a recently orphaned or unclaimed creature? Worry not! We have just the solution for you! Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name — a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck — it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home’s loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name — Arthur, like the good king in the old stories — and a best friend. Using Trinket’s ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur’s true destiny. Richly imagined, with shimmering language, steampunk motifs, and gripping, magical plot twists, this high adventure fantasy is the debut novel of award-winning memoirist Mira Bartók and has already been put into development for a major motion picture.
Why Did I Listen To The Wonderling by Mira Bartok?
The Wonderling by Mira Bartok contains one of my favorite things – anthropomorphism. I love books about animals with human-esque qualities. So, of course I had to grab it from Netgalley. Life, however, comes at you kind of fast. So, I saw that this one was available to borrow from my library and listen to on audiobook CD. I took the plunge and went for it. My previous audiobook on CD went really well, so I thought perhaps this would go well. Also, I just wanted a book that would be super easy to listen to.
What’s The Story Here?
The Wonderling is about this fox-like eleven year old kid known as Thirteen. This is because he has a medallion around his neck with the number thirteen on it. Anyways, Thirteen is an orphan and lives at the Home For Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. The home is run by Miss Carbunkle who is all sorts of awful. The children who live in the home are known as groundlings. Essentially they are part animal, part human. They are tasked with working all day and are not allowed to sing or dance or play.
Thirteen’s life basically is awful. That is, until he helps out a bird groundling named Trinket. Trinket begins to call Thirteen by the name of Arthur. Together, the two escape the Home and set out for the wide world. It is there that they discover the key to Arthur’s past. In addition, they find a way to a better life for the residents of the Wayward Home.
How Did I Like The Wondering?
Mira Bartok’s book, The Wonderling, is relatively good. Is it my favorite? No. Does it rise to say, the level of Redwall in my esteem? No. However, it did provide a few hours of entertainment. Although, it did leave me feeling a little sad. However, that should be expected for books that are Dickensian in nature. This book, FYI, is TOTALLY Dickensian. I think that middle grade children who like books that are a touch melancholy will get something out of this one. Also, the art within is fantastic. It feels vintage and wonderful and I loved seeing the few illustrations that I did (while trying to correlate my audiobook with page).
How’s The Narration?
The audiobook is narrated by Simon Vance. I know that he is a big deal narrator. Personally, it is probably not the narrating style for me for the most part. Like, I wish I had listened to this via an app so I could speed it up. The narration is very slow and serious. I do not know much much actual middle graders would like it. Still, to each their own. I didn’t love the narration, but other people will enjoy it.
Other reviews of The Wonderling by Mira Bartok:
- Reading For Sanity – “it had its moments“
- Charlotte’s Library – “vividness of the world, though, that truly makes this stand out“
- Jess Just Reads – “full of warmth and soul“
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