February 21, 2010

Wondrous Strange (Lesley Livingston) Review

Publisher: HarperTeen (December 23, 2008)
Hardcover: 328 pages

Kelley Winslow is living her dream. Seventeen years old, she has moved to New York City and started work with a theatre company. Sure, she's an understudy for the Avalon Players, a third-tier repertory company so far off-Broadway it might as well be in Hoboken, but things are looking up—the lead has broken her ankle and Kelley's about to step into the role of Titania the Fairy Queen in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Faeries are far more real than Kelley thinks, though, and a chance encounter in Central Park with a handsome young man will plunge her into an adventure she could never have imagined.

For Sonny Flannery, one of the Janus Guards charged by Auberon, the King of Winter, with watching over the gate into the lands of Faerie that lies within Central Park, the pretty young actress presents an enigma. Strong and willful, she sparks against his senses like a firecracker and he can't get her out of his mind. As Hallowe'en approaches and the Samhain Gate opens, Sonny and Kelley find themselves drawn to each other—and into a terrible plot that could spell disaster for both New York and Faerie alike. (Source)

'Wondrous Strange' was an imaginative twist on Shakespeare's works. Livingston reinvented the idea behind the story of A Midsummer Night's Dream to a modern-day New York City under the influence of the Lost Faeries. I was intrigued by the Lost Fey and how they ended up in the mortal world either by choice or force by Auberon. There were many twists and turns in this novel that kept me guessing until the very end.

As an actor myself, I appreciated the occupation that Kelley chose for herself. She was a very strong character and a joy to follow on her journey. She was never deterred from her dream in being an actress and experiencing NYC on her own. The only downfall I felt that Kelley had was the fact that she fell into believing her true identity too easily. I think that she could have fought back a bit in terms of accepting her fate since she was such a determined girl.

I adored the character of Sonny Flannery. He was special in the fact that he knew that he was mortal but was determined to fit in where he was, since he did not have a choice. He seemed like he was always searching for more but content to do his work. He ended up finding more when he first encountered Kelley.The joys of young, first love were explored in this story and I thought it was captivating from their first meeting. Even though Sonny knew what Kelley would become he still fought with every last fiber in his body to keep her safe and with him for as long as he could. The nickname 'Firecracker' was the most delightful affection Sonny gave Kelley and it was incredibly sweet.

I appreciated learning more about the Faerie Courts and their ongoing battles with each other. The heart-breaking story of Queen Mabh and Herne gave a deeper look into the Autumn shadow court. It was interesting to delve deeper into the complex world of Faerie and their many races and lineages.

'Wondrous Strange' was a fun and romantic read. This was not my favorite Fey book but I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre.

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