Book Review: WONDERSCAPE by Jennifer Bell (Middle Grade Monday)

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating:4 stars
Series: yes - first book in series


When Arthur, Ren and Cecily investigate a mysterious explosion in an abandoned house on their way to school, they find themselves whisked away from Earth. Trapped aboard The Principia – a scientific research ship sailing through hazardous waters, captained by one Isaac Newton – they discover a whole world of adventure and danger.

Lost in the year 2473 in the Wonderscape, an epic in-reality adventure game, they must call on the help of some unlikely historical heroes, to play their way home before time runs out.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Ever wondered what it would be like to fall into a video game? It’s a premise that’s been used before, and probably will be used for other books and shows in the future, and for good reason – it’s both a fun and terrifying idea. This time, the game isn’t a simulation, but reality built across the planets discovered in the future.

WONDERSCAPE is a fantasy adventure with sci-fi vibes. There are robots and nanotech, and quests and riddles. Though it’s set in the future, the premise felt more fantasy to me, mainly because the tech was integrated into the world to appear like magic. That’s certainly a personal opinion, though and most people would probably call this fantasci.

Whatever way you decide to label this book, it’s a quick paced adventure full of riddles and challenges for the heroes to solve. I liked the problem-solving aspect of the book. It’s not that the reader needs to solve them, because there is only one “true” riddle, but rather it’s a story of team work and using your brain to progress, even though the world is very much not the one the heroes are used to.

The inclusion of real/historical figures was a fun touch – including more commonly known ones like Newton to ones I’d never heard of like Tomoe Gozen. Like Arthur says at the end, I need to go and read up about some of the characters. They’re inclusion was not only educational, but also a dash of wish fulfilment. Who wouldn’t want to talk to historical figures? It gave the book a dash of familiarity among the magical, futuristic game.

I’m pretty sure this book is a standalone, as the story is wrapped up and I can’t see anything on line that suggests there will be more books, which is a pity because it is such a fun world.

Read my reviews of other books by Jennifer Bell:

Wonderscape (this series):

The Uncommoners:


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