Umberland by Wendy Spinale

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“The only way out is into the madness.” I read Everland a few months ago and I just had to get book 2 in the series. Again, why didn’t I find out about this series sooner?!

Publication: May 9th 2017

Synopsis: They’re dreadfully fond of beheading people here…

Gwen, Pete, and the others have escaped from Everland. Except the safe haven they hoped to find at Alnwick Castle doesn’t exist. With the Queen of England on her deathbed, Duchess Alyssa has stepped in, but things have gotten worse as the cure Doc created for the Horologia virus has mutated into something even more deadly. The only possible solution he can think of is to go back to the virus’s origin: an extinct poisonous apple.

Legend has it, though, that a tree bearing the apple might be found at the center of an impossible labyrinth hidden deep within Germany. A place no one in their right mind enters. With no other options, Alyssa sets out with only her sword, her wits, and the help of Maddox Hadder, a wild boy who oversees the castle gardens. To get to the center of the maze, she’ll be forced to battle monsters more terrifying than her darkest nightmares.

But can anyone truly survive the madness of the maze? And what if there’s no apple to be found there? 

Review/Thoughts: I picked up this book thinking it was going to focus on a whole new set of characters, and that it wouldn’t really mention the characters from Everland. I figured this story would show how the Horologia Virus has effected others. I am finding out just how much Wendy Spinale likes to prove me wrong with her books. Yes, this book is more focused on our newer characters, but Pete, Gwen, the Lost Kids they’re all part of this story too. Which I love!

Umberland is Alice and Wonderland based with the steampunk, dystopia feel intertwined through its pages. I enjoyed the themes and elements that were added. They brought a lot to the story in small way, and made it feel Alice and Wonderland-y. I was so pleased the Eat Me cakes & Drink Me drinks were added. It’s a small thing but it was added to the story in such a neat way! It couldn’t have been done any better in any other way. The croquet chapter was so unique, as is this whole book, but I never expected croquet to be so dangerous and intense as Umberland makes it out to be. Truly, I do not want to be a player in this world.

Alyssa…to be honest, doesn’t really hold a special place in my heart like the rest. I do like how she stepped up and tries to rule Alnwick Castle and Northumberland to the best of her abilities. She thinks of the sick, and strives to find the cure for them even if it means risking her own life for it. One of my favorite things about her in this book, is how she acts around Maddox Hadder. She’s upper class and he’s definitely not. I liked seeing how she and him interacted. How the two of them have different views, and how they voiced their opinions. I loved when she first went to the Poison Garden to meet Maddox. It’s definitely one of my favorite things from this book.

Speaking of Maddox Hadder. I am convinced that my favorite type of character are the ones with a sly smile and a glint in their eye. I wasn’t to sure about Maddox when he was first introduced, but that quickly changed. Like Pete in Everland, there was something about Maddox. I love his whole personality and the appearance he’s given was very unexpected, but it fits him quite nicely! (At first I wasn’t to sure about it, but I grew to like it over time.) His introduction was excellently done! The whole tea incident, and turning one simple question into a a thousand different meanings. It felt very Mad Hatter like. His top hat was an excellent touch. He wouldn’t be Hadder without it, and I adore that he’s always retrieving it. When he finally does lose it, he talks about how it was his favorite hat. We know Maddox. It showed. Why else would you keep retrieving it? I also loved the time he and the Duchess spent in the maze together. Over that time I got to see him as just Maddox Hadder, not the leader of the Poison Garden. I got the chance to truly meet him and see what kind of person he is.

I didn’t really recognize this Pete in the beginning of the book. There’s a new layer to this sickness, and he’s angrier, more frustrated than I remember him in the previous book. It took a bit to get used to, but as I read on I could still see that same Pete there. About halfway through the book, or a little over, he gave a speak and I was reminded why I had fell in love with his character in the first book. In my opinion, he started acting like himself again. Another thing I love, is that we are reminded about the tattoos he has. I still think that is such a cool addition to his character.

Gwen had been through so much in Everland, and now so much more in Umberland. Yet she strives to remain strong for her siblings. This girl deserves some good, and someone *coughing and mumbling sounds* pete *more coughing and mumbling sounds* to be there for her. She’s been strong for far to long, but everyone needs a break from it all some point.

I give my top hat to Wendy Spinale! This book was amazing, and like before, I can’t wait to read the next. (I already have it order that’s how excited I am.) This whole steampunk world just keeps getting better and better! The plot is amazing and always pulls me deeper and before I know it, I’m caught between the pages of these books. Seriously, once I had the proper time to sit down and give this book my full attention, I had it finished before I knew what happened. I can’t say this enough, but she has done an amazing job on these books and I believe the 3rd will be just as good!

~Till the next Chapter~

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