Series: Wondrous Strange #1
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Read it in: 3 days
Source: The library
OK, can we pretty please first take about 5 minutes to sit and stare at this gorgeous book cover?? **sigh**
Alrighty, moving on!
Wondrous Strange had all the elements of an awesome book-- interesting and likable characters, action-packed plot line, creative world-building, heart-melting romance and quirky humor. This is the kind of book that I thoroughly enjoy reading, and I've already gone out and picked up the sequel!
Kelly Winslow is a 17-year old aspiring actress, trying to make it big in NYC. As an understudy in a (very) small off-broadway production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, she is struggling just to get by. But after the lead for the part of Queen Titania is injured, Kelly finally has her chance to be in the spotlight-- until a very strange night in Central Park changes her life forever. First, she meets a mysterious boy named Sonny Flannery, who happens to be a changeling from the world of fae who works for King Auboron of the Unseelie Court as a Janus Guard. Then she manages to save a kelpie (which resembles a gigantic horse) from a pond-- only to have the horse-creature reappear in her apartment! As Kelly becomes more and more entangled in the faery world, she learns a long-kept secret about herself and her true identity-- while becoming closer and closer to the changeling boy trying to protect her.
First of all, Kelly was a wonderful, believable main character. She had a head on her shoulders and didn't let anyone lead her around or tell her what to do, which was a welcome change from some of the other ditzy and clueless Mary Sues out there in other YA books. At first she downright refuses to believe in the idea that faeries are actually real and she thinks Sonny is absolutely crazy when he tells her-- probably the reaction we would all have, right?! Her "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude totally won me over, because it seriously annoys me when the main character finds out something completely unbelievable and then unquestioningly accepts it in about 2 minutes. Kelly actually takes awhile before she's convinced, and when she does learn about faeries and how she is a major part of the faery realm, she doesn't flake out, but takes charge of her own destiny. LOVED Kelly!!
Sonny was such a wonderful male character, and I hesitate to call him a "love interest," because he was so much more than that. Genuinely sweet, romantic, and kind-hearted, Sonny was the epitome of dreamy and stood out from many other guys I've read about in YA books. I hate, hate, hate when the male love-interest acts all aloof-- or even worse-- treats the female protagonist badly, while all she does is fawn dotingly over someone who is emotionally abusive (See my rants about the Fallen series for more on that). Sonny and Kelly are thankfully different and also teenage angst-free. Their growing relationship was not only believable, but had me unable to put this book down. And trust me when I say, you will totally fall in love with Sonny like I did!
Wondrous Strange had a really good balance of both urban and fantasy story elements-- the faery and fantasy parts weren't so overdone that people not so into this genre won't like to read it. While the plot centers around faeries, there is not a lot of travel to the faery world, like you would see in a book like The Iron King, and almost everything happens in NYC and Central Park. I thought that there was a perfect blend of being both realistic and whimsical, and this book could definitely be read be many different kinds of readers! Finally, the duel narratives told from both Kelly and Sonny's POVs mixed things up a bit and added a unique twist. Overall, I really loved this book-- if you've had this one sitting on your shelf for awhile, go, go, go and read it!
Want to win a copy of Wondrous Strange? Enter below!!
- ONE lucky winner will receive their own copy of Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
- Contest ends on October 15, 2011
- Open internationally to wherever The Book Depository ships!