A wonder fox in a wonderful world, though he has no idea how wonderful the world can be. Mira Bartok’s The Wonderling is about a foundling who lives in an orphanage that believes in stomping on the orphaned, ill-lucked creatures. Foundlings are creatures who are neither animals, nor humans. They are somewhere in between giving them a peculiar look. They look like animals but speak like humans and such is the time that the humans fear these groundlings and have rules for them. Our hero, The Wonderling is an orphan at Miss Carbunkle’s Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures and named Number Thirteen. Miss Carbunkle is a torrid lady who only believes in torturing the groundlings, starves them and makes them work till they break their backs. But the one tortured the most is Number Thirteen who doesn’t even remember where he came from or who his parents were. And what’s more peculiar about him is that he has only one ear but unknown to anyone else, he can hear even far off sounds and understand the mice and rats. He then befriends Trinket, a bird groundling who also names him Arthur, after the brave king, and together they hatch a plan to run away from the Home and embark on an adventurous journey.
The book uses peculiarity with good and dark magic and quest for power as a perfect base and I was sucked into the world of Arthur right from the part where he is introduced as Number Thirteen. All through his life so far, he encounters this number at various stages and thinks that maybe he was bad luck himself. As a reader, you cannot be left unaffected by Arthur’s predicament.
This is a beautiful story and the author has created a wondrous fantasy world. This is a story of courage to face bullying, facing one’s fears and sticking up for friends and doing the right thing even in the face of adversity. It is a story of a groundling turning into The Wonderling and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
My rating: 4.5/5