Thursday, June 10, 2010


Wondrous Strange - Lesley Livingston
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
# of pages: 321 (pb)
Amelia's Age-Level Recommendation: 13+
My Thoughts: Did a little something uncharacteristic in that I read two very similar books back-to-back - The Iron King and then Wondrous Strange (both being YA modern-faerie-tale stories). I'm glad I did, though! Truth be told, TIK had me in a little bit of a funk, and I was holding out for a hero to rescue me from bad faerie books (okay, so TIK wasn't "bad" - it just was "flat okay")

And let me tell you - Lesley Livingston is a hero! A hero and a wonderfully creative storyteller, too! This book was so fun, so enjoyable, such a delight to read! I love writing happy, positive reviews! It makes me not sound like a harpy :)

Wondrous Strange, to me, offered a very clever, very interesting amount of mythology and folklore to explain the faerie world. This is particularly interesting because the entire story takes place in New York City - the "Otherworld," as it is known, is only referenced.
There's something in particular that I found really neat: So often in faerie fiction, you hear the same things over and over: Seelie/Unseelie, Winter & Summer Courts. Well, those concepts are all here, but Livingston brings more to the table by having 4 courts: yes, Autumn and Spring are represented too! That was really cool. And the Midsummer monarchs: Titania and Auberon (instead of Oberon--cool!) are here as well, but they're not near as stereotypical. In fact, Titania is only referenced, and Auberon is portrayed in a way that makes sense with his character background.
This may sound redundant (because it is a FAERIE book), but in WS I actually liked the portrayal of the faeries. What I look for are not necessarily cute, adorable little J.M. Barrie/Tinkerbell fairies... but I do look for faeries that make sense for what they're portrayed to be. For example, if fairies are so magical/wonderful/beautiful/immortal/exotic, that should reflect in their culture and behavior. I don't want to get off-track here, but the easy way to write faerie fiction (it seems) has been to portray them as raunchy and too over-the-top... Not so here. Faeries aren't perfect - by any means - but they're not overdone.
Girls, you will *love* Lesley Livingston's writing style! It's just so beautiful, lyrical, and incredibly witty. Seriously, there were a few passages and quotes that made me laugh out loud!
Also, I loved that Livingston chose to tell Wondrous Strange using double perspectives. Sometimes seeing things from the point of view of the "normal girl character" can be a bit limiting, so it was really cool to read Sonny's perspective and be able to have a window into the faerie world through him.
And last but not least: the main character. I liked Kelley Winslow a lot. She's smart, spunky, and capable, but she's also able to let somebody else take the lead, too - a very good quality to have in a well-rounded and mature person. And she graduated early - very cool (I liked that little bit because I graduated early too!).

If you are a fan of faerie fiction, Shakespearean-influenced literature, or just a fun, entertaining summer read, definitely check out Wondrous Strange!

Final Grade:
I have Darklight, but I want to make the series last as long as I can! Wondrous Strange #3 won't be published until January 2011!

What to read next? need input!

Right now I'm reading The Spook's Nightmare, book 7 in the Wardstone series, but after that... I'm stuck in a rut. Help!

These books have been waiting patiently on my bookshelf, but now they're getting restless!
Which books should I read next? Have you read any of these, and if so, what did you think of them?

Round Two!

Life as We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer
Impossible - Nancy Werlin
Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
Darklight (Wondrous Strange #2) - Lesley Livingston
The Wizard Heir & The Warrior Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
The Hunger Games & Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
The Maze Runner - James Dashner
The Golden Spiral (Hourglass, #2) - Lisa Mangum
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