Sunday, 3 June 2012

Review: The Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKenna

The Summer of Shambles (Ondine #1) by Ebony McKenna
Publisher: Egmont
Released: April 5th 2012
My Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

This is a brilliantly witty story with a furry tail ending. 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? (from Goodreads)

The Summer of Shambles was such a fun read! Definitely perfect for the approaching summer, so I recommend getting a copy now so you can relax while reading it in the sun.

Ondine was a great protagonist, and I really liked her. She had run away from Psychic Summercamp with a ferret, Shambles, who actually turned out not to be a ferret at all, but a full grown Scottish man under a witch’s curse. Ondine’s reaction to this was great to read about, and the way she accepted it all just made me laugh. She was a quirky girl (who could be both dense and also very clever) and I loved the things she came up with, and how she got embarrassed in front of certain people. She could be a bit selfish at times, but she always tried to fix her mistakes in the end. I loved the way she interacted with Shambles (as a ferret); he was the only one that could hear her and a lot of their conversations were so funny! Shambles the man (or Hamish, shall I say) was an entirely different story, however. When Shambles first transformed into Hamish, there was an amusing scene in which Ondine couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous he was! And from then on things between them both changed and I loved the way their relationship grew.

Shambles was a character I loved, both as a ferret and a human. He was funny and also a little bit outrageous, but you could tell as the book went on that he really began to care about Ondine, and I respected the decision he made at the end. Some of the book’s most hilarious moments involved Shambles, like when Ondine’s dad found out that he wasn’t really a ferret – I loved that scene! Ondine’s dad was a little bit loopy anyway and was way overprotective of his daughters, so you can imagine how he reacted when he learnt the ferret wasn’t actually a ferret.

One thing I really loved about Ondine was the setting! It was set in a fictional European country called Brugel and there was something...magical about the place. Even though the book was set in present day, I felt like it could have been an old fairy tale because Brugel was just so cool and old-fashioned. Obviously the magical powers certain characters possessed helped create this atmosphere, along with the talking ferret and various other wacky things. The Psychic Summercamp and old witches with grudges definitely added to the fairy tale feeling too and I’m really excited to see what other magical things await us in the next book!

Another thing I loved was the footnotes. Footnotes can sometimes go horribly wrong – like they’re trying to be funny, but just seem random and out of place. I am happy to say, however, that these footnotes were awesome. From the first chapter I knew I was going to appreciate them – one of the first things we were told was that Brugel was a country in Europe – that sadly had never won the Eurovision Song Contest. And I don’t know what it was, but something about the tone and the way this footnote was presented just had me cracking up. I mean, the Eurovision Song Contest is laughable at most times anyway, but it was just so funny! And most of the other footnotes were the same – I definitely enjoyed reading them.

The plot in The Summer of Shambles was slightly predictable, but I don’t think it affected my enjoyment of the book. It was well-paced and there wasn’t any overlong description or any attempt to drag the story out – it was the perfect length in my opinion! I have the next book on my TBR and I can’t wait to read it.

Overall, The Summer of Shambles was an engaging, light-hearted, summery read, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something fun with a touch of magic!


  1. Im glad you enjoyed it - I thought it was a such quirky read! I loved the footnotes! Great review :)

  2. This book sounds SO QUIRKY and I love that. A future true love who's currently stuck as a ferret? I would so go for that. Ondine sounds like a fantastic character too and I'm reaaaally curious about how she deals with Shambles/Hamish and his situation.

    And OOOOOOH, magical settings! I think that's what has me most excited for this book! Brugel sounds mystical and wonderful... even if it never won Eurovision.

    Great review, Liz! <3


  3. This sounds like a fun one! I also enjoy footnotes. Looking forward to checking it out. Great review :)

  4. I knew I should have picked this up months ago! I saw it in a super cheap book warehouse we used to have. I ummmed and ahhhhed over it, but eventaully put it back. Stupid Brodie. This sounds SO MUCH FUN. Every new paragraph of your review introduces me to something even more crazy cool and seriously... how can one say no to a ferret who turns into a gorgeous Scottish guy? :D

    Thanks for the fantastic review, Liz!

  5. A psychic summercamp! Sounds so fun! I like the sound of the fictional European setting too! :)

  6. Ooh. Another book with a young protagonist. I've recently been enjoying those, although they haven't been fantasy reads. This sounds cute, though!


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