The first book in the series, Oculum (released in 2018), was meant to be a standalone dystopian novel for middle grade readers. The setting is a future world where thousands of children live in a dome, sheltered from the destruction of the outside world. Two of the children find a door leading to the outside and it sets the stage for a gripping science fiction tale. One that had readers asking “What happens next? The answer came this year with the release of OCULUM ECHO.
I’d recommend reading Oculum first before diving into this second tale. You will get a deeper understanding of both the setting and characters as the plot unfolds in book 2.
Told in multiple viewpoints, each character is vividly portrayed through their words. Here’s what to expect:
The explosions come in the night.
Miranda1, Mannfred, Grannie, and the one thousand children of Oculum must flee their farm, chased by the UnRuly and their bombs. Just as they begin their journey through the wasteland and towards the safety of the green valley, Echo1 wakes from an eighty-three-year sleep and is given a mission to find the four domes of the children of Oculum, and to find the First One, whatever the cost.
On the run from the UnRuly and their stolen weapons, the children endure plague and Black Rain. Yet, there is a whisper of hope. William1 and Jonatan Briar, two of the literate, ride to the northern sea to read a rare book, a book that will illuminate the secret to their survival.
Echo1 searches the wasteland for life and faces a choice: who must be protected in this new world? And what must be destroyed?
Echo1 is the giant sized robotic creature pictured on the front cover. He simultaneously learns about himself and this strange world he now travels. With unmatched compassion for those he wishes to save, Echo1 becomes an endearing character you surely will admire.
Miranda1, Liam, Mannfred, and Cranker also have their own distinct ways. Each character arc takes marvelous turns and set up a book 3. The UnRuly, as the bad guys are called, have their hands full in dealing with this group. Readers are rewarded with an unpredictable plot that moves along swiftly. The pair of books would make a perfect gift for the science fiction loving kid in our present world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Philippa Dowding is an award-winning children’s author, a poet, musician and marketing copywriter.
At university she studied English Language and Literature, first at the University of Western Ontario, then at the University of Toronto, where she earned a Master of Arts degree, and began a career in publishing.
She worked as Senior Copywriter and Creative Manager for Rogers Publishing. In 2000, she struck out on her own as a freelance copywriter, a job she still enjoys. Her many clients include magazine publishers, fundraisers, advertising agencies, NGOs, movie producers, website owners and others.
She has won magazine awards for Macleans, Chatelaine, Zoomer, Today’s Parent, Canada’s History and more. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in Taddle Creek Magazine, Middle Shelf Magazine,The Adirondack Review, The Literary Review of Canada and other journals.
Her children’s books have been nominated for awards in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, including the SYRCA Diamond Willow, OLA Silver Birch and Silver Birch Express, Red Maple, Hackmatack, and the White Ravens awards. Her 13th book, FIREFLY, won the Governor General’s Literary Award (Young People’s Literature, text) in 2021, and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book award in 2022.
Philippa lives in Toronto with her family, where she reads, writes, and plays guitar, every day.
(For more about Philippa, be sure to visit her author web site.)
Coming up next week is another edition of MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY! It’s here I share highlights from other individuals blogging about middle grade books. Many of the posts will have reviews, interviews, and tips on writing. Take a look at PAST MMGM POSTS.
It’s easy to join the lineup. All you have to do is email me the title of the book or feature and a link to your blog at gpcolo[at]gmail[dot]com
Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and don’t forget to say what you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.