When we last saw Eva Nine, (The Search for WondLa), she had just been rescued by the only human being she had ever met: Hailey, a 15-year-old pilot searching the planet of Orbona for other humans. Raised in an underground “Sanctuary” by a robot mother, Eva spent all of her twelve years preparing to leave her controlled environment and face the dangers of an Earth depleted of all natural resources. She practiced survival tactics for every imaginable physical danger using holographs. This advanced technology failed to prepare her for the most important challenge of all, however: dealing with other people.
Having defeated a variety of bestial enemies with her alien friend Rovender, Eva was looking forward to joining civilized society in the city of New Attica, a self-contained human colony. She quickly finds that she does not relate to the seemingly mindless girls she encounters. Everyone and everything around her seems altogether superficial. The only truly sentient person is Cadmus, the mastermind of Orbona and the Sanctuaries. Eva’s discomfort is confirmed when a young woman (Eva Eight) explains Eva’s origins.
In an attempt to preserve human life on a dying planet, Cadmus established hundreds of Sanctuaries in which new humans would be artificially created. When Earth was ready to support life again, he would gather them together. He did not, however, count on a small group of rebels who would refuse to conform to his rules and would remove the tracking chip implanted in their necks. Eva Eight, Eva Nine’s older sister, was born in the same Sanctuary and when she left, she was determined to be master of her own destiny.
Tony DiTerlizzi’s second book about Eva is even more engaging than the first. Eva and her companions discover that fighting alien beasts in the wild is a piece of cake compared to outsmarting the oppressive technology of New Attica’s bureaucracy. Nothing daunts their spirit and ingenuity as they race to save alien colonies as well as their own freedom. Eva learns some hard lessons about trust, loyalty, forgiveness and friendship. There is one instance of a mercy killing which, fortunately, scandalizes and horrifies Eva and her friends. The book does have a heavy “Mother Earth” theme, verging on worship. Given the clearly fantastic nature of the scenes concerned, readers should be able to enjoy Eva’s search for her identity just the same.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.