"Ondine: The Summer of Shambles"
by Ebony McKenna
Source: from Jenny at Egmont UK
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Ondine feels like a failure at psychic summer camp, so she packs up and runs away to home. In Ondine's world, the small country of Brugel, magic is accepted as a part of everyday life, so her parents are only a little surprised that she has brought home a talking ferret named Shambles. Actually, Ondine is one of the few who can actually hear Shambles talking- in an old-fashioned Scottish brogue no less! It turns out he used to be a man, but was cursed to live as a ferret. When he's not sneaking food away from the kitchen, Shambles overhears a murder plot against the duke. All sorts of chaos follow Ondine and Shambles as they try to warn and save the duke, all the while trying to lift the curse so that Shambles can be a man again.
This fantasy story was so sweet and so much fun! Ondine was spunky and Shambles was such a handful! I have to admit, I really want a talking ferret that I can wear as a stole and take everywhere with me! Shambles is so lovable as a foul mouthed ragamuffin! McKenna describes him so well that I can just see all of his shenanigans so clearly, and it's totally believable.
But you know how in "Beauty and the Beast", you were just a teensy bit disappointed when the lovable beast turned into a boring prince? (or am I the only one?) This book isn't like that at all! When Shambles is in his human form, Hamish, he's just as wonderful but in a different way. He's sweet and polite and jaw-droppingly handsome!
The author uses footnotes a lot in this story to tell about Brugel and give other insights. The footnotes were always really funny and I appreciated that McKenna was trying something unique. Sometimes, they were a little distracting, though, and I would have liked the information better if it had been in the body of the work instead.
Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5 (there was a lot of drama in Ondine's family :)
Cover: 5/5 (captures the story perfectly! love the silhouettes and all the fun glittery shapes)
Extras: I love that Egmont UK is devoted to ethical publishing! From the use of sustainable papers to making sure that workers are treated fairly. Way to go!
Bottom Line:I loved this book, especially Shambles. The story was really fun with lots of madcap action. And there was a good message underneath it all, too. Now, where can I find a talking ferret?