The Rondo Trilogy – Emily Rodda

The Key to Rondo

Leo is a sensible boy who would never break the rules, which is why his boring great-aunt Bethany thought he was the perfect guardian for the Langlander music box, and left it to him when she died.

The Key to Rondo by Emily RoddaLeo’s cousin, Mimi, is very different to him: she is a typical child prodigy, a gifted violinist, and someone who constantly asks difficult questions and refuses to accept the status quo. As Aunt Bethany’s least favourite, Mimi inherits only a nondescript necklace that her older sisters don’t want from the box left to all of them.

Leo’s music box has been in their family for generations, and in all that time has been governed by four rules. Like the holders before her, Aunt Bethany drummed the rules into all the Langlander children at each visit to her home while she was alive: Never turn the key more than three times; Never turn the key or pick up the music box while the music is playing; and Never close the lid before the music has stopped.

But three turns of the key always means the tune is cut off before it finishes and this has always frustrated Mimi the musician. When she comes to stay with Leo’s family she naturally decides to break some rules that don’t makes sense to her.

Emily Rodda has written a gem of a story in The Key to Rondo, that will be enjoyed most by ages 7 to 10. Leo and Mimi are well-rounded, complex, and interesting characters and I enjoyed spending time with them. As opposites, they reveal each other’s strengths and flaws perfectly and many children will identify easily with either of them.

Rodda writes with a light, skilful touch that makes this a very easy read. Although I found much of the story quite predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed the revelations just as much for the “Hah, I knew it!” feeling. Younger readers will likely still be surprised, and older readers will enjoy the subtle and not-so-subtle, references to traditional storybook characters and nursery rhymes.

The Key to Rondo is a fun, sweet story, and I highly recommend it.

The Wizard of Rondo

The Wizard of RondoThe Sequel to The Key to Rondo

The Blue Queen believes Leo and Mimi are stuck in Rondo. To prevent her finding out the truth, Leo and Mimi must return to Rondo and ensure they are spotted by the Blue Queen's spies. While there they join their old friends Bertha and Conker on a quest to solve the mystery of a disappearing wizard and an apprentice who has been turned into a mushroom.

Meanwhile, of course, the Blue Queen is up to something. Can Mimi and Leo avoid her trap?

The Battle for Rondo

The Battle for RondoThe third book in The Rondo Trilogy

After a bizarre encounter with Spoiler, Leo and Mimi and their friends have to outwit an ogre and a dragon, while something strange is happening to the characters of Rondo. The Blue Queen is looking for several items and doing a lot of strange magic and if Leo and Mimi can only figure out what she wants these things for, they can thwart her plans. Spoiler knows something, but will he tell? With the help of a mysterious prophesy and an even more mysterious secret involving the Blue Queen, Mimi and Leo lead their friends into a battle of wits, wisdom, and courage.

Reviews copyright © Elsa Neal 2007-2010

The Rondo Series by Emily Rodda:

The Key to Rondo*

The Wizard of Rondo*

The Battle for Rondo*

Emily Rodda is also the author of Tales of Deltora* and Rowan of Rin*.

*Book Depository is a better option for non-US book buyers.

Did you enjoy The Key to Rondo? Tell us about it!


24 thoughts on “The Rondo Trilogy – Emily Rodda

  • Wednesday at 4:37 AM

    in the book the key to rondo what does the word conker mean.
    And why cant anyone turn the key more then three times.

  • Wednesday at 6:37 AM

    in the hidey hole can people hear you when you talk in there and what does the term flat voice mean.

  • Wednesday at 6:46 AM

    why cant you turn the key while the music is playing? why cant you ever pick up the box while the music is playing? and why cant you close the lid until the music has stopped?

  • Wednesday at 8:51 AM

    Hi Angelica

    “Conker” is a person’s name in the book. But a conker is also the hard seed of a chestnut tree, so perhaps the author liked the association with something tough and hard-headed.

    The key can be turned more than three times, but doing this allows the travel into or out of Rondo so that is why Henry Langlander (Hal) wrote that rule – to prevent others accidentally entering Rondo or allowing the Blue Queen out.

  • Wednesday at 8:54 AM

    Hi Isabella

    I think the hidey hole muffles your voice, but people could possibly hear you if they were close enough and you spoke too loudly. So if you were hiding from someone you would have to be as quiet as possible just in case.

    A flat voice usually means that the person is upset or sad and they’re not speaking with much energy in their voice.

  • Wednesday at 9:01 AM

    While the music is playing the world of Rondo is active and things are happening. When Leo picked up the music box while the music was playing Rondo experienced that as an earthquake. Turning the key would probably make the world move faster or jump forward in time. Closing the lid while the music is playing allows the world of Rondo to keep going even after the music stops. Hal put all these rules in place to prevent his sister (Leo’s Aunt Bethany) from causing any problems for Rondo or allowing the Blue Queen to escape. When Leo and Mimi broke these rules they allowed the Blue Queen out, and they were able to enter Rondo themselves.

  • Wednesday at 10:37 AM

    thank you Elle for answering me and my friend angelica’s questons.

  • Wednesday at 11:44 AM

    You’re welcome. Thanks for visiting 🙂

  • Thursday at 6:37 PM

    To emily rodda my class and i have been reading your books. like the best kept-secret and rowan of rin. i love your books and i wish i could be a writer just like you

  • Saturday at 1:35 PM

    I LOVE this Triology!! OMG theres finally a book that doesnt bore me to death =)

  • Thursday at 1:09 PM

    I love this whole trilogy! It’s the best, that’s why I book talked it to my classroom and they love it! To whoever came up with the idea for this website, thanks I love it!

  • Sunday at 10:09 AM

    I am dying to read it!!!! I saw it at my book fair. I read the summary thing and wanted to read it. I am going to buy one on line and read it. I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!! I’M SO EXCITED!!!!! You are probably wondering why I am excited. Well it’s because I love books and once have a good book I can’t put it down. 🙂

  • Thursday at 6:44 AM

    this series is AMAZING!!!! OMg it’s boring at first, but i’m so glad i didnt put it down at first so happy yay:)!!!!

  • Thursday at 4:04 AM

    I’m 18 and i have to admit that I absolutely loved this trilogy. It would have been great if there was a map of rondo so you could follow the characters throughout the story.

  • Thursday at 12:46 PM

    i love the rondo books they are aaawwwsssooommmeee

  • Friday at 2:18 PM

    i loved the first book i haven’t read the rest yet but i loved the first one so happy there is two more!!

  • Saturday at 4:52 AM

    Emilly Rodda is an awesome author. I love the Fairy Realm, And This series!

  • Wednesday at 9:19 PM

    Hey, just a shout out to all those questioning the music box’s rules. To fully understand, you need to read the book, but here are a few hints:

    1. Pick the box up while music is playing = earthquake
    2. Turn more than three times = dog gets stolen by evil queen
    3. close lid while music is playing = well, you have to read to find that one out.

    BTW, number 2. only happens if oyu turn the music box more than three times. So basically all you need to know is follow the music boxes rules and you’ll be fine. Disobey them and all hell will break lose. Sort of… Read the book if you are still unsure.

  • Wednesday at 4:29 AM

    Does anyone know where in the U.S. I can get a copy of the third book in this series, The Battle of Rondo? I cant seem to find it anywhere!

  • Wednesday at 9:23 AM

    Hi Kim

    The Battle for Rondo was published in Australia, and it doesn’t look like it is easily available from US suppliers. You might have to order it internationally. Try searching for Battle for Rondo on eBay or Abe Books or The Nile.

  • Monday at 6:11 PM

    Hey angelica! I’ve read the book and I’ve got all the whole Rondo Trilogy, so I can help you out on some questions you want to answer, if you already got the book then this is a waste of time, but anyway, CONKER is a character in this book who is the adult of the other two main characters: Leo and Mimi (not her real name) and he’s the one who lives in Rondo so he shows them around and helps them fight the blue queen (bad guy) and you only turn the key on the box three times only so you don’t end up got to their land (you can only go to rondo if you break the rules and have the key with you) I think that’s enough for now, anyone have questions just ask me. 🙂

  • Wednesday at 12:29 PM

    OMG why don’t you just read the book! ‘why cant you do this?’, ‘ why arnt you allowed to do this?’, What does the term CONKER MEAN?!?’ its an amazing book and its enjoyed by a much larger audience then claimed above, I mean I READ IT WHEN I was twelve and now, as a sixteen year old i need to read them all over again and the last one ( I never read the last one, due to my school library not getting it before I left for high school)

  • Tuesday at 10:05 AM

    I Have Read The First 2 Books Recently And I Read The 1st One Like, 5 Times. This Triology NEVER Gets Tiring And I Can Read It All The Time If I Had Enough Time To. I Hope Emily Will Do More Books In These Series. She May Be Out Of Ideas But Her Ideas Are Wonderful Once She Can Have Time To Think. I Love How She Came Up With The Ideas Of Dots, Hidey Holes, And The Key!!! I Hope She Reads This Post And Makes More Books!!!!!!!

  • Monday at 9:37 PM

    This triology is awesome!!! Emily really understands what kids really love… I am 17 but I have to admit, I repeated the whole triology 4 times…!! And I just can’t get tired of reading it.

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