By Jennifer Bell (Walker Books)

Wonderscape By Jennifer Bell

Ben's review
Wonderscape by Jennifer Bell is an exciting and playful book set in the year 2473. It involves the three main characters Arthur, Ren and Cecily becoming trapped in a complex virtual reality video game known as the Wonderscape. The novel is about their attempt at escaping this futuristic reality and trying to get back home – all before it is too late.

Wonderscape was a rather enjoyable read. I found myself immersed in the plot, and became very fond of the characters. The main characters - Arthur, Ren and Cecily - were full of humour and very likeable; this was mainly because of the way that they reacted to the various problems that they were faced with. Personally, I thought that they logically overcame each difficulty in a reasonable and relatable manner. This helped me agree with and admire them. Another interesting aspect of Wonderscape is the fact that it is not just set in a single historical period. Alternatively, it contains many significant people throughout history. For example, one challenge in the Wonderscape realm is based on Isaac Newton, a famous English mathematician and physicist known for his laws of motion and universal theory of gravity. Meanwhile, another realm is commanded by Tomoe Gozen, a traditional warrior who appeared in 14th century Japanese literature. As a reader, I found that this gave me a broader and more substantial view of overall world history - more than it would have done if the novel only focused on one particular period of time. Furthermore, I liked the fact that the characters seemed to learn throughout the whole of the duration of the story; this made me feel that they had become significantly better people by the final chapter. This made the experience of reading the book more enjoyable.

I personally learned a lot while reading Wonderscape. Specifically, I knew little to nothing about ancient Japanese culture; however, after reading this book I now feel that I have a rudimentary understanding of part of what Japan was like. For example, I know a little about the type of weapons and amour that was used in combat. Moreover, I have been inspired to look further into Isaac Newton and his history. I want to learn more about some of his works and how he came to produce them.

While I enjoyed the book, I feel that it could be improved by focusing more on the historical aspect of each person. This would make it a bit more of a historical fiction genre and less of an adventure style genre. I think that this would provide the story with more background and, subsequently, make it more interesting. However overall, I would definitely recommend Wonderscape as a book to read for anybody aged eleven to fifteen. It is ideal for somebody who wants a light hearted and laid back read. The plot is engaging and easy to comprehend; the characters are funny and likeable. The whole book is a pleasure to read.

Zainab's review

I enjoyed this book and I liked the mix of creativity and history behind it. I really enjoyed the idea the author had done and how they brought it together. I think it was well written but at some points a bit too much was going on at the same time. Nonetheless I enjoyed the book and the history within the characters. 

It was a very adventurous book and I liked following the characters on the journey they embarked upon. I liked the main character as each one of them has something unique that they bring to the team. I also really liked the wholesome friendship that develops between them over the course of their adventures. It showed that it doesn’t matter who you are, you always will have someone

beside you and the message at the end was empowering, showing that you have control of what you choose and the future you want. It says in the book that “Our futures are full of possibility”, “They always have been”. And I really liked that quote. Wonderscape is a book I would recommend to other readers my age.

Rachael's review
I enjoyed reading the book, Wonderscape, because it was very interesting and it is very futuristic. I found the character, Ren, the most interesting because she seemed to have such a dark background but, she wasn’t as tough or as menacing as other characters described her, defying expectations of her. The character I disliked the most was Tiburon because he oversaw the Wonderscape and could manipulate the past so that none of the main characters would exist which I think is evil.

What I found interesting was the Wondercloaks and how it almost does everything for them, for example, translate what people say and it sends danger warnings too.

The plot of this story was very exciting and nerve-racking because they had to escape withing 53 hours or they would turn into slime. They have a helper called tomoe and a dog named cloud. These two characters helped Ren, Arthur and Cicily escape.  I would recommend it to others because it's interesting.

Sol's review
This was my favourite young quills book! With twists, turns and so many crazy things, I loved it. I learnt a lot from this book and I would give it 10/10!

5 out of 5 stars.

Finley's review
The book “Wonderscape” is about three thirteen-year olds accidentally getting transported to the 25th century in an in-reality game. They must complete a time sensitive mission with the goal being: find the mysterious Milo Hertz to get back home.

The plot in “Wonderscape” is created to fill the reader with a sense of urgency as the protagonists must race across different realms to get a portal back home. The theme of culture mix of medieval japan, 19th century America, 18th century England, medieval Germany and a timeless African nature reserve. The characters have a well-balanced backstory with no clichés like dead parents or super rich lives. Each have their own pros and cons which they need to overcome and improve for them to succeed. It fills the reader with a sense of anticipation as a movie is projected in their mind.

Overall, I loved the way the plot moves forward with each person having a skill which they need to use to progress onwards. The book depicts a message of self-belief and confidence in yourself and your abilities.

Alizay's review
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it very interesting.

One aspect of the book which I really enjoyed and liked was how there were different realms and in each realm there was a different story each time as well as adding the historical figure as well.

Another aspect which I thoroughly enjoyed was the fact that she has done a mixture of history as well as fiction but she has done it so that we are not too bored by the history. I feel like it is well balanced between history and fiction and that she kept us engaged throughout the book.

Aaishah's review
My favourite character in the book is Arthur because I felt like he was the main character and I could see everything from his perspective. Personally I like all the characters because they were all different in their own ways, which was one of the reasons that the book was not boring. I like the fact that it was a bit of a video- game and history mashed together and i like that it was kind of set in the future but characters from the past came alive, which was really cool. The thing that stands out the most from me is the fact that it was sent in the 25th century.

Wonderscape is a book in which I have no words to describe it as it was so brilliant that I was rendered speechless at the end. Although it started at a slow speed, it kind of began to pick up the pace and soon was moving at the speed of the Pipsqueaks’ race car – that is to say, extremely fast! I personally like the fact that it is a bit everything, a bit of history and computer games combined. I would definitely recommend this book to any age.

Safa's review
I found this book amazing and really interesting. The cover looked interesting and made me want to read it even more. The plot was really interesting. My favourite character was Ren as her feisty personality stood out. I admired her a lot. I found the backstory of Cecily really interesting and felt pity for her as she is misunderstood. When they all started talking about family problems together, it was really thought-provoking. I think for me what really stood out was the teamwork of all of them caused them to get home and it had a really good moral. I would 100% recommend this book. Mainly to people who love teamwork and really like reading a story that is about challenges and obstacles. This book is one of my favourite books I have ever read. It really caught my attention and made me want to read on. Even though some of the characters have a certain reputation on how they are looked upon, they all have something in common and have been through a lot of heart-wrenching events.

Lochlan's review
Three people called Arthur, Ren and Cecily find a dog called Cloud with an unusual name tag. They end up going through a portal.

I found Cloud to be the most interesting character because he is a dog, but he can shape shift into other creatures.

This book was really interesting, it helped me to learn about adventure. I really like history and technology, so I found the idea of a future of technological power really interesting.

I thought the plot was serious because they had a limited amount of time to find the time key and their way home.

The thing that stood out most for me was the puzzles and riddles which were used as clues in the realm challenges.

I would recommend this book, it is good. In my opinion Wonderscape is a very interesting book with a life or death situation. 

Kyle's review
The Wonderscape is a brilliantly thought-out story. The book is extremely captivating and consequently, I enjoyed it thoroughly. The many realms and characters caught my interest and hooked me onto the book straight from the first chapter. The character I found most interesting has to be Ren. The story presented through her character reflects a lonely and quiet girl who, with the support of her new friends, goes on a new adventure like nothing before and sees the many possibilities of good things that can done in her life. The different histories behind the different realms also taught me new stories and facts I never knew before. Tomoe Gozen, Wangari Maathai and Thomas Edison were names I’d never heard of before but by reading the story, I understood how they helped in shaping our present. One of my most favourite features of this book is the time the book was set in. Even though Arthur, Cecily and Ren are trapped in the year 2473, the different mimics in the realms displayed a different part of history; Tomoe Gozen (14th century Japanese literature), Wangari Maathai (a Kenyan environmental and political activist) and Thomas Edison (American inventor). The plot of the story had a mixture of feelings, which helped fit the mood and tone even more. From time to time, there was excitement and thrill, such as in the ‘Race of the Warrior’. In other times, it was serious with pressure building upon the three protagonists to get back in time. This book has inspired me to know a lot more about different historical figures and I even researched some characters in this story as a result of this. This book has definitely got to be a person favourite and I would highly recommend it to any other young readers interested in gaming and futurism as well as wanting to learn about the history behind it too.

I just did not like the fact that at the beginning, the plot of the story was really slow, but the speed did pick up from the middle.

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