by Tony DiTerlizzi
The boy pilot of a battered airship flies twelve-year-old Eva Nine to the human city, New Attica. Eva is certain that this will be the perfect start to a new life with her good friend, the Caerulean alien named Rovender Kitt -especially after the tragic loss of her robotic caretaker, Muthr. However, like many things on planet Orbona, appearances can be deceiving.
Eva encounters many new people in New Attica, including a long-lost relative she was unaware of. And she uncovers the secrets of the Sanctuaries, the HRP, and the history of her planet's past. But then new questions arise, and the delicate spirit of life is threatened once again. Was coming to New Attica the right decision?
A Hero for WondLa continues Eva Nine's adventures in the series... I posted about the first book, In Search of WondLa, in July of 2011. I am trying to not compare the two books but it might happen anyway. I will warn that there may be some 'spoilers' in this post, unintentionally, in order to let you know what to expect from this book.
The author does have a note at the end of the book saying that his character, Eva Nine, had grown (in many ways- transformed and matured, he says) since the first book and that he, too, had grown. I think that it is quite evident in this book that there is a change. It still has the same feel (?) to it as the first but it is different. It takes a different path than I thought it would in terms of character development.
In the first book, I marked that there was neither religious/secular content and I suppose that is true but if a book is not religious, or makes no mention of God at all, wouldn't it be secular content? I chose to say "Both" in this case. It is about 'worldly things', not Godly things. It does have a few references to spirits and an afterlife but doesn't go into details. It reminded me (vaguely) of Native American beliefs (the spirits of the plants and animals somehow having a connection with humans- that is a generalized description) and/or the reincarnation religions. It doesn't actually say that the characters believe the spirit will return as another form but that it just travels on...to where? There aren't specifics given.
Near the end of the book, when Eva and her companions are searching for the 'generator' that the creator of New Attica is after, and they reach the center of the Wandering Forest, it gets ...weird. I don't know how else to put it but that. Basically there is an 'entity' in the center of the forest that is the Mother of All Nature; the Spark of Life. It takes one of the characters and 'evolves' her into a tree-girl. Also we learn that the Mother is really an evolved machine. But it evolved on its own, over time.
There isn't any 'love' in this book but the love of friendship and siblings. No kissing, hugging, or any real displays of affection of that sort. So no adult content in that regards.
As with the other book, there is mature content. The book starts right where the first one left off (there'd been quite a battle and Eva's Muthr was destroyed). There are creatures that can only be contrived by the imagination that are capable of snapping people and machinery in half quite easily. There are instances where someone is hurt by a creature and they bleed, another time when a new friend sacrifices their life to save the group (we are only given the description of an explosion where the character had been). Also there is the topic of families being separated, torn apart.
After Eva is registered in New Attica, she finds out that there are no aliens in the city- because they are used for experimentation by the leader and 'reprogrammed'. I gathered that they are actually tortured but we aren't given details on that, thankfully.
I didn't find any strong or inappropriate language in the book, in terms of how we speak. There was a scene where three girls are making fun of another girls hair and I'm sure the words they use are intended to be insulting. Pretty much the words were made up. And as for the witchcraft/magic, I put no but Eva can communicate with many of the creatures (including plant-life) on the planet. I don't know if that would classify or not.
There is disrespect/rebellion on the part of Eva, Eva Eight, and the pilot, Hailey. For the first two, it is rebellion against corrupt authority. They sneak around after curfew and Eight removes the identification chip that is in Eva so that they cannot be tracked. Disrespect is evident from Eight when she is presented before the leader of the city. Hailey is disrespectful to his grandfather in one scene; calls him crazy.
Rovee (Rovender) drinks some sort of alcoholic drink a few times in the book. It specifically says it is a fermented drink that dulls the senses.
Violence and abuse are frequent throughout the book. The descriptions range from just a mention to somewhat descriptive.
I found no educational value in this book but perhaps for 'creative writing'.
I had said that the other book had what could be called a positive message: don't give up. This book at first seems to focus on following ones heart but toward the end, I felt more along the lines of doing what's right and best for all, not just oneself, was the message.
I didn't like this book as much as the first. It is 437 pages of actual story but the font is large and the words-per-page is perhaps a few hundred. There are illustrations throughout, which I did like for the most part. One of the last ones though, shows Eva Nine in a fetal position, naked (it doesn't show anything) with translucent skin -like an xray. That was my least favorite image.
I would consider this book 'twaddle' based on CM's words:
“What manner of book will find its way with upheaving effect into the mind of an intelligent boy or girl? We need not ask what the girl or boy likes. She very often likes the twaddle of goody-goody story books, he likes condiments, highly-spiced tales of adventure. We are all capable of liking mental food of a poor quality and a titillating nature” (Vol. 3, p. 168).
I think there will be one more book in this series but I'm not sure if I will read it. The first book is, in my opinion, better than this one, which makes me wonder how the third book will be. Maybe I will read it after all.