Only a couple of chapters into this book, I fell in love. Hard. The Search For WondLa features such a curious, adventurous heroine and such a whimsical, weird world for her to explore. Thanks to the gorgeous illustrations (also by Tony DiTerlizzi), the characters and scenery felt tangible. Every time I picked up the book, I was swept away to Eva’s world, which is wondrous and terrifying at the same time. You have Wandering Forests, giant tardigrades, terrible oxygen-sucking plants, plus robots and hovercraft. What’s not to love?
The Search For WondLa begins with twelve-year-old Eva Nine, who lives in an underground Sanctuary with a robot called Muthr (Multi-Utility Task Help Robot), who is charged with Eva’s care and upbringing. Eva is being prepared for survival outside of her Sanctuary, in a world that seems to be much like ours. But when Eva is forced to leave the Sanctuary early after an intruder attacks her home, she realizes that the world outside is nothing like the one she was prepared for. Her Omnipod doesn’t recognize any of the plant or animal life, though it notes that some of it is similar to microscopic life forms like tardigrades. As Eva tries to make sense of this unknown world, she manages to make a friend (or at least an ally) with the lone widower Rovender Kitt, and finds out that she is being hunted by a brutal bounty hunter called Besteel.