Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: Ondine: the Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKenna

Ondine: The Summer of Shambles
by Ebony McKenna
YA, Fantasy
336 pages
published: 2010
4.5 of 5 stars


A teenage girl, in a small eastern European country, runs away home from physic camp with her new pet ferret. She tries to go back to her life helping in her family's restaurant, but has trouble after trouble with the fact that her ferret isn't really a ferret at all.


I was so excited about this book I just went ahead and ordered it off amazon. But then there was had a bad moment. You see, I had some expectations. Expectations that weren't the fault of this book at all. I had my mind set that this was a high fantasy novel, taking place in another world, would not be a contemporary time period, and that it involved quests and journeys. And that there would be no footnotes. We got off on the wrong foot and I set this book aside with much disappointment. My bad. With a little time to adjust my arbitrary expectations, I picked Ondine up again and loved it.

So note: This takes place in our world and time, though this obscure country does remove it from daily experience. There are no real quests. The characters stay fairly close to home. And there are footnotes.

About those footnotes. When I wasn't ready for them, I was annoyed. When I came back, loosened up and in a good humor, I found them right funny. I grinned my way through much of this book. Through the footnotes, the author was my buddy. A facetious, flighty buddy. Very enjoyable. And the translations of Scottish brogue were helpful.

The characters and their bizarre situation drive this novel. Shambles the ferret is saucy and witty. I liked him equally as a ferret and a man. Ondine is sweet and hard working, and has a brilliant breakdown. Ondine's family is large and interesting and soaked into the pages, even proving to be the cause of her current troubles.

I read it one sitting and had a great time.

There was one not so favorite thing. Ondine seemed a little hot-blooded even for a teen. Raging hormones much? Because of that, this book isn't really for younger teens. It doesn't get descriptive, but the feelings and situations might not be understandable to youngsters. There are occasional racy comments (amusing ones) and lots of blushing.

A very fun read.

Other Reviews:
In the Hammock  (I so should have been prepared for the footnotes! You mentioned them clearly. Bad memory of mine.)


  1. Oooo I really want to read it now. Thanks for the cautionary notes :)

  2. Thank you google alerts to leading me here! Oh wow, what a sensational review.
    That is so funny that you came to the book with completely different expectations and then had to leave it for a while. I absolutely applaud your honesty and *kisses your feet* am eternally grateful you came back for a second run at it!

    Thank you so much for a fab review.

  3. This book sounds like it might be up my alley way. I'm one of the few people out there (I think) that loves footnotes. For reals. Bring it on. :)

  4. @ Ebony - Thank you for stopping by! You honor me. And I'm thrilled to write a positive review. I really did love your book and look forward to the next one.

    @ Christina - Please do try it. The footnotes were actually very funny.