14 August, 2010

Book Review: Wondrous Strange

Title: Wondrous Strange
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Paranormal
Page Count: 327
Rating: 2.2 out of 5
Cover Rating: 3 out of 5. Pretty, in a dark-and-mysterious sort of way, although I think that the girl on the front is a little . . . too much girl and not enough other. (I would have preferred something with more of a background based on the Faerie kingdom i.e. trees, pavilion, Faeries themselves, etc.) 

Back Cover:

Seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow always thought faeries were just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery. He's a changeling--a mortal taken as an infant and raised among Faerie--and within short order he's turned Kelley's heart inside out and her world upside down.
   For Kelley's beloved Central Park isn't just a park--it's a gateway between her ordinary city and the Faerie's dangerous, bewitching Otherworld. Now Kelley's eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her, but to the heritage that awaits her . . . a destiny both wondrous and strange.

My expectations: So-so. Paranormal's not my top favorite sort of book . . . but I have to say, I wanted to read more about faeries, since they seem to be big in YA literature right now.

I got a so-so book, which really isn't helping my opinion of paranormal.

About the book: First, I'm going to talk about the back cover, because I have several issues with it. (Just skip down to "The rest of the plot . . . " phrase if you want to read about the book, not something I have issues with.)

So, the back cover/inside flap is always what you read first, isn't it? To see what the plot's about, the characters, the setting, etc. Well, this back cover gives practically everything away. The romance has to be mentioned to hook readers of course, but in this one it's " . . . turned her heart inside out and her world upside down . . . " which is basically: she falls in love with him and what else is he supposed to do but fall in love with her? And from that much it seems like the falling-in-love part happens pretty fast, since that particular line is in the first paragraph.

CODE RED. I REPEAT, CODE RED. Bad plan, folks. Make it interesting! I want to see the challenges! The difficulty! It's better than just BAM! They're in true love. Because seriously? In life that doesn't happen.

Another issue with that back flap is the " . . . heritage that awaits her . . . a destiny . . ." part. Now, you see, fairly in the beginning of the book Sonny Flannery (I'll get to the characters in a moment) talks about the stolen daughter of the king--Auberon--who was taken into the mortal world. And then he runs into Kelly who, surprise surprise, astonishes him with Faerie powers.

CODE RED. I REPEAT, CODE RED. Another problem with that darned back cover! I mean, leave the reader some guessing to do! Don't just tell them everything! What's the point in reading a book if you know what's going to happen--and you can anticipate every move?

*sighs* So my conclusion is: I can tell you that Kelley's the Faerie princess and that she and Sonny fall in love with each other without feeling guilty because you'd probably figure that out for yourselves rather quickly.

The rest of the plot is . . . mixed. There's just too much telling and not enough showing here, since the author tells you about events that are occurring but she doesn't describe and show you that they are occurring. I hate it when that happens. I can't feel Sonny Flannery wielding that weapon because it's just "he fought" instead of "he fought, whipping his deadly blade left and right, slicing through the creatures that bombarded him from all directions".

I already told you about the romance part (or more correctly the back cover did) and I already told you about the Faerie princess part (same deal) but there's another, more ACTION-ish part which I liked the idea of. 

Basically, every nine years for nine nights before and up to Samhain a gate will open connecting the Otherworld to ours, and Otherworld creatures have the opportunity to escape--except for the Janus guards. I liked the part where they fight off the creatures and try to outsmart the creatures that are trying to outsmart them. I like action. However, the author did not emphasize the tension, the moves, the fighting techniques, which would have really piqued my interest in it. I was disappointed by that, because I wanted to read more of it.

Speaking of the characters, Sonny is a Janus guard. He's all right as a person, and all right as a love interest, but I didn't really find anything SPECTACULAR about him. I mean, he's smart, he's a good fighter, and he's relatively nice to Kelley, (I say this because of the stalking/following stuff at the beginning but it's not as bad as it sounds) but there's nothing outstanding.

For that matter, there's really not much outstanding about Kelley, either. She's an okay actress in NYC, she's not, you know, brilliant or anything, and the only reason she's all that interesting is because she's the daughter of the king, Auberon. Other than that . . . not much is really all that great about her.

The characters' reactions to events is another thing I have problems with. You see, they're not described enough, and they don't change enough as things head their way. It's more like single words of shock but no facial description, body language, etc. In fact, I was amazed that the author got away with so little emotion in the book, because if you count emotion alone this book is flat. Really flat. I think was one of my major problems with this book: I just wasn't feeling much for anyone or anything. (Except the kelpie in Kelley's bathroom. :P)

Other: Nothing language-wise that I can remember . . . so it's relatively clean, since the kissing's down and the action, as I mentioned before, is not described much at all.

Do I recommend this book? No. Actually, I'd advise you to pick up something a little more dynamic seeing as this book is not very interesting, and I think there's really nothing great about it. Not worth the time, unless you're pressed against something else--like sparkly, stalking vamps.

-----The Golden Eagle


Anonymous said...

I totally agree, it's so annoying when a blurb gives away too much. I recently read a book called The Raging Quiet which I loved, but the back cover gave away most of the plot, so I just kept waiting for the things that I knew where going to happen, happen. Definitely annoying!

Golden Eagle said...

I've never heard of The Raging Quiet but when back covers give everything away it certainly is annoying! If I ever see TRQ I'll try to stay away from the synopsis. :P

John The Bookworm said...

Eagle, that sucks major pixie sticks. >:( I'll probably still pick up Wonderous Strange at some point...but duly noted to stay AWAY from the summary.

Knowing your love of action, and that our tastes are at least a little similar:

Okay. :) And if you want to read a *good* fae story with lots of action and romance, The Iron King series by Julie Kagawa is right up your alley.

Golden Eagle said...

Got it. :) Stay away from wings . . .

I've seen a lot about The Iron King and I REALLY want to read it. It does look like something I'd enjoy!