Kuan's Wonderland by Henry Tam
Kuan has spent his young life living quietly with his father by the sea. They live in hiding, father types up his life's work while teaching his son at home. Kuan picks up his father's anxiety about hidden enemies, and the fear of being found.
One night Kuan is drawn to the sea by a strange sound – a type of splash he cannot identify. Going too far out into the water he is swept away, finding himself captured by a submarine of the alien Shiyanese in whose waters he has apparently been found. Meeting a trio of colourful characters who will play very different roles in his adventures, he is at first treated as a potential spy for the hated enemy, the Potokan, and put to work as a slave labourer, performing the vilest tasks for the highest caste of Shiyanese. One of his new masters is convinced that he has been sent to them for a reason, but for Kuan the situation holds only despair.
But Kuan finds a friend, one of a different type of species entirely. This friendship enables him to take more initiative through the adventures and dangers which follow. Both friends are confused about the unfamiliar world they are in, confused about Kuan's mission there and about how to find his father, confused about whether Kuan should accept the invitation to work his way up through the strict hierarchy of social ranks or not. When politics and science combine to cause a nightmare scenario, Kuan learns how the rampant and the ruthless can never have enough.
The story is original and very engaging. The fast-moving adventure in a new world, which sparkles with visually captivating creatures and imaginative technology, has already begun by the first line. He faces many challenges of which the main one is to hold onto his independent view and his compassion for those affected by the actions of others. The search for his father, his mainstay throughout the story, ends in a way which is credible yet astonishing. The book does not pull its punches about the way in which people (and aliens) treat each other. In engaging with real-world troubles which don't have tidy solutions, it offers more than than we normally expect from the fantasy genre.
This novel is by Henry Tam, better known for his work in the area of inclusive democracy. Set mainly but not entirely in an alien society, it will appeal to teenagers and young (or not-so-young) adults. The structures of society and their consequences play out in the action, but they aren't intrusive, and the well-sketched and believable characters and the lively pace keep the momentum going.
This Kuan's Wonderland book review was written by Trish Burns
All reviews for: Synetopia Quest
Synetopia Quest #1
The mystery begins when Kuan is taken by force to the curious world of Shiyan. Although the ten-year old has flashes of exceptional intelligence, he hasn’t a clue why...
The Hunting of the Gods
Synetopia Quest #3
The people on Earth know their place. They’ve all learnt that their planet was just a barren rock until the gods arrived 500 years ago and brought with them life, tec...
Have you read Kuan's Wonderland?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Kuan's Wonderland reader reviews
8/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
When Colin and Susan are pursued by eerie creatures across Alderley Edge, they are saved by the Wizard. He takes them into the caves of Fundindelve, where he watches over t...
The Dark is Rising Sequence
On holiday in Cornwall, the three Drew children discover an ancient map in the attic of the house that they are staying in. They know immediately that it is special. It is ...
Three Hearts and Three Lions
The gathering forces of the Dark Powers threaten the world of man. The legions of Faery, aided by trolls, demons and the Wild Hunt itself, are poised to overthrow the Realm...
His name is West. Her name is Cally. They speak different languages and come from different countries thousands of miles apart, but they do not know that. What they do know...
The Abhorsen Chronicles
Who will guard the living when the dead arise? Sabriel is sent as a child across the Wall to the safety of a school in Ancelstierre. Away from magic; away from the Dead. Af...
The Chrestomanci Series
Diana Wynne Jones
Orphans Eric Chant (nicknamed Cat) and his sister Gwendolen, a gifted witch, are whisked away to live in a castle with Chrestromanci, a much-revered man of magic, wealth an...
It has lain lost and forgotten for fifteen hundred years in the ancient heartland of England – a scrap of glass and metal melded by fierce fire. It is the lost core o...
Charlie Keeper has been forced from her home by a bloodthirsty and terrifying stranger. But in escaping she discovers her house holds the gateway to the Realm of Bellania -...
The Tragedy Paper
Every year at an exclusive private boarding school in New York state, the graduating students uphold an old tradition – they must swear an oath of secrecy and leave b...
The Very Best of Charles de Lint
Charles de Lint
Charles de Lint, a fantasy author who has left the same mark on the genre of myth and legend much as the likes of Sir Thomas Malory, Christian Anderson, Grimm, who has foun...
The Testament of Tall Eagle
John R Fultz
A young warrior's vision-quest unveils an alien city full of magic and mystery. As a tribal rift threatens to destroy Tall Eagle's people, night-crawling devils sta...
Out of Oz
The marvellous land of Oz is knotted with social unrest: The Emerald City is mounting an invasion of Munchkinland, Glinda is under house arrest, and the Cowardly Lion is on...
Alif the Unseen
G Willow Wilson
He calls himself Alif - few people know his real name - a young man born in a Middle Eastern city that straddles the ancient and modern worlds. When Alif meets the aristocr...
After an inexplicable catastrophe on Earth, John Bridgeman is left to scrap out a solitary existence, surrounded by bodies and haunted by the girlfriend he cannot allow to ...
R.H. Ragona's Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass - remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone - are wonders ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended contemporary / urban fantasy books/series
- Recommended parallel universe / Alternate reality books
Best of 2016
A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through......
It is for the entities known as Sleepwalkers to cross the doors between dreams, and hunt the nightmares that haunt sleeping minds. Theirs is a world of impossible vistas, wher...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest night the world has ever seen, Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation. But Dr Madeleine is no conventional medic and surgically implants a cuckoo-clock into his chest. Little Jack grows up different to other children: every day begins with a daily wind-up. At scho...
The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow's Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow...
A Tale of Time City
Diana Wynne Jones
When Vivian is evacuated from London in 1939, she expects to be staying in the countryside. Instead, she is whisked away to Time City – a place that exists outside ti...
The Guns of Empire
As the roar of the guns subsides and the smoke of battle clears, the country of Vordan is offered a fragile peace... After their shattering defeats at the hands of brillian...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasu...
For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the four...