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Literature / WondLa

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Rovender Kitt, Eva Nine, and MUTHR.

"Tony DiTerlizzi honors traditional children’s literature in this [...] space age adventure: one that is as complex as an alien planet, but as simple as a child’s wish for a place to belong."
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WondLa is a trilogy of science-fiction fantasy adventure novels written by Tony DiTerlizzi, one half of the fantastical driving force behind The Spiderwick Chronicles alongside Holly Black. The series was released between 2010 and 2014.

The series stars Eva Nine, a 12-year old girl raised by MUTHR (Multi-Utility Task Help Robot) in an underground sanctuary, where she is cast off from the great outside and has been for all of her life. Her only connection to the outside world is through holograms and a piece of cardboard with the fragmented words "wond" and "la". Her facility is then attacked by a hostile marauder, forcing Eva to abandon MUTHR and flee for her life to the outside world, which obviously comes with some difficulties. As Eva struggles to find other humans like her, she is driven by finding the answer to the ultimate question of what WondLa and the cardboard truly represent.

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Installments:

  1. The Search for WondLa
  2. A Hero for WondLa
  3. The Battle for WondLa

Tropes seen in WondLa:

  • Actionized Sequel: Compared to Search, A Hero for WondLa has more combat scenes, and is significantly darker. Heck, a good chunk of Part II is one long action scene divided neatly into chapters.
  • Arc Words: WondLa, of course. The ending to Search reveals it's actually The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum. It takes a backseat for much of Hero, but then resurfaces when Eva Eight reveals she had brought a book back to their sanctuary to read with her, but got into a heated argument with MUTHR about it, and left the book behind to decay into its signature form. As of Battle the significance of the word changes from a specific place than a metaphor for home, family, and eventually peace.
  • After the End: Humanity has mostly died out thanks to climate change. In its place, an alien kingdom has moved to the planet and made it their own, with the one exception of Cadmus' settlement in the desert out west.
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  • Distant Finale: Battle gets 3, each a hundred years after the last one.
  • Earth All Along: At first, inverted; Eva has been led to believe that the planet she's on is an abandoned and far-evolved Earth. When Rovender hears the planet's name, however, he chuckles and tells her and MUTHR that they're on a different planet entirely, named Orbona. Then, when the final act comes to a close, it's revealed that Orbona is Earth, and that Eva's first presumption was also correct.
  • Foil: Fittingly, Eva and Loroc. Eva believes "becoming one" means opening yourself to others because she wants a family and a home. Loroc takes the words to mean assimilating everyone because he wants only power.
  • Future Slang: The people of New Attica use this freely, e.g. "short-out" for idiot, "rocket" for awesome, and "wait a nano" for wait a minute.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Orbona" comes from the Latin word for orphaned. A fitting name for a planet where life (appeared to have) ended.
    • The Cærulean aliens have blue skin.
    • Huxley the jolly Ace Pilot belongs to the Mirthian race.
  • Pardon My Klingon: "Sheesa," said by Rovender Kitt. Eventually, Eva starts using it.
  • The Reveal:
    • Orbona is not an alien planet. It is Earth, recolonized by alien settlers millennia after it’s destruction.
    • Cadmus is secretly building an army, with the help of Arius and Zin's brother, Loroc.
  • Shout-Out: The seemingly-nonsensical title of a post-apocalyptic tale turns out to be a corruption of The Wizard of Oz.
  • Theme Naming: Test tube babies, aka "reboots," like Eva Nine, are all named either Eva for girls or Evan for boys. This is because EVA stands for Earth in Vitro Alpha.
  • Time Skip: During the epilogue, the story skips seven years to show Eva in her late teens. Then, the story skips around three hundred years.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Loroc, praying on Cadmus' protectiveness of New Attica's people, convinced him to build a robot army to kill the aliens before they could eradicate the remnants of humanity. While the warbots attacked the royal capital Solas, Loroc programmed a fraction to raze New Attica, weakening both sides. Cadmus pays for his misjudgment, dying from injuries sustained in the attack.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapters 38-41 of Search. Besteel comes back to capture Eva, almost kills her, and does kill MUTHR. Then Eva uses her Omnipod to summon sand-scratchers and kill Besteel. Otto leaves to rejoin his herd... and then the Wham Line below is shown.
    • The epilogue of The Search for WondLa beats all with a Cliffhanger: Just after Muthr's funeral, an airship lands in front of Eva and Rovender, and it's pilot, a human boy, tells Eva that he has come to take her home.
  • Wham Line: Search has two that manage to undo each other.
    • Rovender Kitt drops one at the end of Chapter 16, "Puzzle".
    "Why are you laughing?" Asked Eva.
    Rovender's smile disappeared. "You are not this planet you call 'Earth', Eva Nine. You are on a planet named Orbona.
    • Then the end of Chapter 41, "Truth", we get The Reveal...
    NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
  • White and Grey Morality: In the first book. Eva and MUTHR are well-intentioned, but unfamiliar with the world. Rovender is a touch more world-weary and sometimes frustrated with Eva's naivete. Besteel is only really hunting Eva to free his brother, and the other aliens who are hostile to Eva are only really going about their jobs.

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