Release date: April 2010
Genre: Fairytale Fantasy
Target audience: 12+
This is a brilliantly witty fairy tale with a mystery that is as surreal as it is sinister. One girl. One boy. One spell to be broken. Ondine de Groot is a normal fifteen-year-old who lives with her family in the European country of Brugel. She has a pet ferret called Shambles. But Shambles is no ordinary ferret...He's Hamish McPhee, a boy cursed by a witch. A witch who happens to be related to Ondine. When Shambles turns back into Hamish temporarily, Ondine knows that she has to help him break the spell. He is the most gorgeous boy she has ever met and her one true love! He just can't remain a ferret forever. Can he?
Ondine: The Summer of Shambles is a humourous and quirky spin on a traditional fairytale. Ondine is the youngest of three sisters and she has been sent to Psychic summercamp. The story begins with Ondine's decision to run away home and take the ferret she has befriended at camp with her.
In the first chapter, I found Ondine's voice quite stilted and a little prim for a teenage character. However, by the second chapter her voice became more believeable and her character highly likeable. Her relationship with her parents and sisters was both realistic and endearing.
Shambles, the ferret, is a cheeky yet charming character. His voice gave the novel its humour and his actions helped the plot to speed along. The scottish accent was well communicated and at times frankly hilarious. I couldn't stop myself laughing out loud at some of his kooky expressions. Every scene that he appeared in was a joy to read.
Of course, this is a fairytale and no such story would be complete without a sweet and passionate love developing between the girl and the ferret. We must not also forget the winning ingredient of the witch that cursed poor Shambles in the first place. Vincent was perhaps a little too cliched but as he played a minor role, I can forgive this.
Overall, I absolutely enjoyed reading Ondine. I surprised myself! Shambles sold the whole story with his wit and charm. This is by no means a serious book but it is a great fun and quirky read which will have you laughing out loud.