Friday, October 14, 2016

Omnia

Omnia

Omnia is the story of a boy who makes a mistake and has an incredible adventure while trying to make up for it. Have you ever thrown away something you loved by mistake, or lost something you were attached to? I mean, really attached to? Well that would be Clover, a very old stuffed bunny that Claudia has- and it belonged to her mom too. She won't part for it for anything, but when it accidentally gets left on a pile of things to donate, it gets lost. And poor Nico, her brother, is the one who puts it in the bag, not realizing there's been a mistake. 

Nico gets blamed for the loss even though technically it's not his fault, and there's nothing he can do...until he discovers Omnia. Sort of like Amazon to the nth degree, a place where they have literally anything- and I mean anything. Surely they will have Clover, or something very close, right? Well when Nico starts to deal with Omnia he gets a few surprises. Will he find Clover? You'll have to read to find out! 

This is a cute story that I devoured in two sittings. I haven't been reading a lot of younger YA/ older MG but this was a great story. I was expecting to get Claudia's perspective as well but this story is all Nico. I didn't care for Nico at first as he was pretty scornful of his sister's reliance on the stuffed bunny, but his dedication to helping his sister and his refusal to quit won me over once he realized just how shattered she was. There's a lot happening in this story- a warehouse that is BIG, a company that is more than it seems, mild themes of automation versus workers, and even a little science fiction. Actually a lot of science fiction once you see how Omnia really works. 

Some of the supporting characters really won me over also. I don't want to give anything away but let's just say Nico makes a few friends and they help him along his way in some surprising ways. I liked the quirky personalities and while some of the developments made me a little skeptical, by and large this is a smart, funny story that is above all fun.

And now... my three way review with Heather at Random Redheaded Ramblings and LaLa at LaLA in the Library. This came about through Heather remarking what a good book this was and somehow a joint review was born. So here we go...

1) What are your general thoughts?

Heather: I think the first thing that grabbed me about Omnia was the fact it seemed to be a cross between two things I love, Amazon and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. the fact that the Omnia warehouse is an island, the fact it takes up the whole island is such a cool idea, and c'mon who hasn't wanted to explore the Amazon warehouse unchecked?

Greg: I thought this was a good book. I was afraid at first I was going to be bored as the first two chapters didn't grab me, even though they were cute. But I was soon flipping pages. I liked how there was a lot going on here- a bit of scifi along with a nice story about family.

La La: I had the same bit of ho hum in the beginning, too, but the inkling that something otherwordly might be happening came pretty quickly, so I held on for the fantasy/ scifi to begin, and Heather described it perfectly, "... a cross between Amazon and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

2) How did you feel about the plot?

Heather: The plot is kinda cute to begin with, our main character is Nico, a young boy who lives with his mum, dad and little sister. His little sister's favourite toy, a bunny on its last hop, gets chucked out. Nico may have given it a helping hand, however he is full of guilt once he sees how distraught his little sister is, where can he get another toy? Omnia, that's where! They sell everything and they sell the bunny but there is a big problem, Omnia can't find the bunny. So what does Nico do? Well he gets himself shipped to Omnia thats what. This is of course a totally crazy thing to do but it works and he finds himself at the  Chocolate Factory, sorry I mean Omnia warehouse, there he meets people who have been there their entire lives and the robots they work with. He also finds out this utopian supplier of wares is maybe not as fantastic as it seems and even though his main task is finding the bunny, he also finds himself full immersed in to weird and wonderful world of Omnia.

Greg: The plot was pretty tight and even though the story expanded later it was always at its heart about Nico trying to find his sister's bunny.

La La: I loved the diversity elements. the message that once you understand someone, and why thery are the way they are, you just might end up liking them a lot and even thinking of them as a best friend. Teamwork and loyalty were standout points in the story, too, which is wonderful for a Middle grade book .

3) What did you think about the characters?

Heather: Nico the main character was very much portrayed (and correctly so) as such an innocent, you really see the world through his eyes and feel his amazement at all the things he sees. The book is course mainly about him but we do meet other characters such as the people he ends up working with, all totally different and in the case of one of them literally from another planet. None of the supporting characters feel like fillers, they all have their place.

Greg: I didn't like Nico at first and I wondered if that was intentional on the authors part? I expected to get a Claudia POV but it was all Nico- and that was fine. I also enjoyed some of the personalities in Omnia- especially belay. Nico made some real friendships there.

La La: I liked all of the characters and how they were fleshed out. As a mother of a boy, I think Nico's personality was spot on and believable. The author did an excellent job portraying the other wordly characters. They were unique and quirky.

4) Was the ending satisfying?

Heather: The ending was suitably sweet but it seemed to be really quick and snuck up on me. Yes it answers the missing bunny question but I felt it maybe could have been padded out a bit out a bit more.

Greg: The ending was satisfying and I liked that there was a question mark on one particular point. It surprised me a bit actually, but I can't say much more for spoilers!

La La: As far as the main part of the storyline, yes, but I am with Heather. I felt it was a bit abrupt.

5) Rating and recommendations?

Heather: I will happily give this book 4 out of 5, although it is really aimed at your Middle grade age, I found it gave me an injection of pure escapism, the whole description of Omnia was amazing and really appealed to me.

Greg: I would rate this probably a 3.5 or 4, I think it has a lot going and will stimulate the imagination of a kid while still being entertaining and whimsical for adults. there are a few scenes where it's not all cutesy cutesy and could be very perilous for Nico, but it doesn't get too heavy. A nice mix.

La La: After combing through my thoughts about the story I almost wanted to change my Goodreads rating to four stars with it being 3.5 here on the blog instead of a three stars raised to 3.5, but I am sticking to it because of the slow start, some verging on YA content in the middle, and the abrupt ending. I would definitely recommend this as a read aloud book for families because I think it will spark some good conversation about bullying, racism, consumerism, and family loyalty. It will also appeal to the younger ages of the YA classification.

We would like to thank REX ROBOT REVIEWS for use of their tandem review format. 

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