So I'm thrilled to be the final stop on the Blog Tour for Jennifer Bell's excellent 'Wonderscape', published this week by Walker Books! Below you will find my review and two hero cards detailing my favourite heroes past and present. Thank you to Jennifer B ell, Kirsten Cozens and Walker Books for including me.

'Wonderscape' is an absolute blast: an exciting and high-octane thrill-ride of the imagination. From the very first sentence, be prepared to be blown away by an adventure packed full of ideas, action and invention. This is a book for gamers, who want some lessons in history and activism too. 'Ready Player One' meets 'The Crystal Maze' meets 'A History of the World'. 

Gnomes explode in a front garden prompting Arthur, Ren and Cecily to investigate. Soon, by entering some kind of portal, they are drawn into an epic in-reality adventure game in the year 2473. In order to get home, they must play the game across multiple realms, meeting heroes from the past and the future as they travel. But is there more to the Wonderscape than meets the eye? And will Arthur, Ren and Cecily be able to work together to solve the dangers they face to get home before it's too late?

This is a great book for children who want to be immediately thrown into danger and excitement in an adventure that never lets up. Time-travel, portals, gaming, heroes, magical items, monsters and different realms: this book has it all in an epic mish-mash - a special effects bonanza. I'm not much of a gamer myself, I'm afraid, but I'm sure those that are will find this to be the book equivalent of a RPG. However what makes this different from a literary version of Fornite (I haven't actually played it, but I'm name-dropping to sound cool), is the inclusion of a variety of mostly historical heroes. This serves to give the story an educational heart; an exploration of what it really means to be a hero in a given field of expertise. It's such fun then to meet Sir Isaac Newton, the samurai warrior Tomoe Gozen and Wangari Maathai, an inspirational environmental activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. What is refreshing is that each hero is unexpected and is representative of both western and eastern cultures. The realms also reflect a rainbow of dazzling diversity and multiculturalism, which, for me, is what truly adds depth to the pixels. What a clever way to nudge children to understand varying perspectives and cultures!

'Wonderscape' is a lot of fun and it is quite unlike anything I have read for quite a while. Really it defies genre and so I'm sure even the most reluctant reader will find something to enjoy in this rollercoaster of the imagination.

My hero from the past... (Click on the image below)

© 2021 by Chris Soul