The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray by B. A. Williamson
Published: May 15th, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Gwendolyn Gray faces an overwhelming battle every day: keeping her imagination under control. It’s a struggle for a dreamer like Gwendolyn, in a city of identical gray skyscrapers, clouds that never clear, and grown-ups who never understand. But when her daydreams come alive and run amok in The City, the struggle to control them becomes as real as the furry creatures infesting her bedroom. Worse yet, she’s drawn the attention of the Faceless Gentlemen, who want to preserve order in The City by erasing Gwendolyn and her troublesome creations. With the help of two explorers from another world, Gwendolyn escapes and finds herself in a land of clockwork inventions and colorful creations. Now Gwendolyn must harness her powers and, with a gang of airship pirates, stop the Faceless Gentlemen from destroying the new world she loves and the home that never wanted her—before every world becomes gray and dull.
*Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley, for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*
This was a solid debut. Is it my favorite middle grade ever? No. Would I put it up there with Riordan’s work, Cartaya, or the authors of the Adventurers Guild? No. But, was it enjoyable and worth a read? Yes. Since it is a debut the author has a lot of room to grow and make his middle grades even more exciting and better. But, I did really like this story and it was super fast and easy to read. I think the author made a wonderful female heroine that many young girls can look up to because she didn’t change for anyone not even in the end.
Let’s start the break down of this book with the characters. I loved Gwendolyn and her whole attitude and persona. She was fierce, adventurous, imaginative, and very likable. She was the oddball in a world of sameness and she stuck out like a sore thumb. Sparrow was another favorite of mine. He was hilarious, quick-witted, smart, utterly adorable, and caring. Starling was another great female character. She was very reliable, super smart, cool, and a quick thinker. The other characters were great side characters as well but some were very confusing like Mister 5 and Mister 6.
Next, we have the plot. This was where I ran into some issues with the book. It was good don’t get me wrong but it as very confusing for me for about 50 to 60% of the book. I didn’t get why people did certain things, how Gwendolyn had her power so to speak, the other worlds, the anticlimactic bittersweet ending (cute but left many questions), and the whole issue with the Misters. It was fun and definitely adventurous but at times I was like what is this? Why is that happening? It was all sort of explained by the end but I still have questions. The pace was really nice it kept me on my toes and had a lot happening at times it was a bit jumbled and would’ve liked it to slow down to answer my confusion but still was easy to follow. But with the author writing more books in the series hopefully, this will be resolved.
The writing and world building were very good. I was able to picture both worlds that Gwendolyn was in and when her imagination created things I could see it as well. The author has a wonderful imagination as well to create such a fun world as this. Think The Giver but more visionary and venturesome.
The small romance was utterly adorable and you almost wish it was a YA to see it guild out more and develop more because it was so cute. Think of seeing your younger sibling or family member in the puppy love stage lol that is how I felt. Sparrow was a sly little devil and sweet as pie with Gwendolyn from the beginning to the end and his words to her were so sweet ugh. And again, with multiple books maybe we will see more of my little Sparrow.
“…of course you do Gwendolyn I’m the literal boy of your dreams.”