Monday, August 13, 2018

Middle Grade Monday and Audio Review: Everland by Wendy Spinale

Everland by Wendy Spinale. Everland series #1. Unabridged downloaded audiobook, 8 hours, 56 minutes. Read by Fiona Hardingham and Steve West. Scholastic Audio, May, 2016.

I just adore fairy tale retellings/ reimaginings! This steampunk Peter Pan story was just superb!

England has been invaded by Germany. More specifically, Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer (HOOK) has taken London and driven out the queen. The wrinkle to his complete and utter conquest is that his bombing blitzkrieg unleashed a deadly virus (which had been sent by Germany earlier). It has killed most of the surviving adults and female children. The human race is in danger of extinction, except there may be one human female who is immune to the virus. 

Gwen Darling is trying to keep her siblings, Johanna and Mikey safe and hidden. But Hook and his troops are closing in. She is rescued by Pete and Bella while out scavenging; but Johanna, who has been left behind with Mikey is not so lucky. She has been captured by Hook's men. Gwen and Mikey join Pete and the Lost Boys in their underground hideout, but she really wants to rescue her sister, which means venturing into Hook's lair. 

Debut author Spinale has created a world that is at once familiar and brand new. Readers familiar with J.M. Barrie's work will recognize some of the quotes rolled into this incredible new twist. 

Hardingham and West are favorite narrators of mine. Together they narrate the spectacular fantasy series, Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Hardingham narrated Puck's part in Scorpio Races  by Maggie Stiefvater. The majority of the book is from Gwen's POV. Hardingham's clear and musical voice lends urgency and desperation to Gwen's story.

I cannot wait to read the second and third installments in the series, which blend other stories. Give this to fans of fantasy, steampunk fans or any reader looking for terrific worldbuilding. 

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