Review: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Publisher: HarperTeen (September 22, 2009)  Paperback: 352 pages
Price: $8.99 from Amazon
Summary: For seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery, whose steel-gray eyes mask an equally steely determination to protect her.
Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal realm with the Faerie's enchanted, dangerous Otherworld. Usually kept shut by order of icy King Auberon, the Gate stands open but once a year.
This year, as the time approaches when the Samhain Gate will swing wide and nightmarish Fae will fight their way into an unsuspecting human world, something different is happening . . . something wondrous and strange. And Kelley's eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her but to the heritage that awaits her.
Now Kelley must navigate deadly Faerie treachery—and her growing feelings for Sonny—in this dazzling page-turner filled with luminous romance.
Wondrous Strange is a richly layered tale of love between faerie and mortal, betrayal between kings and queens, and magic . . . between author and reader.


Review: Wondrous Strange is a great debut novel for Lesley, and I’m definitely seeing great things in the future! Admittedly it isn’t the best book or even one of the best I’ve read, but it set a very solid foundation for a sequel and was all-in-all an enjoyable read.

First off, I want to say that the author did a great job developing the world. I love how she took the idea of Midsummer Night’s Dream and incorporated it into the story while adding new things of her own, like the Janus guards (which are introduced at the beginning of the story, in case you’re worried about spoilers), Sirens, pixies, and more. The story behind the setting is also very interesting and everything ties together very well. I sort of had a sense of what was going to happen or going to be revealed next, but the twist near the end I definitely did not predict. It was one of those good twists though, where it ruins the predictability (fortunately!) and sets the stage for a sequel, though I almost expected it to be a happily-ever-after.

Sonny, the male protagonist, definitely had the vulnerable bad boy mix going for him, but I had a couple problems with his relationship with Kelley. Not only because I want him for myself, but because it took a while to start and their reactions seemed a little exaggerated sometimes. For the beginning, the mysterious desire Kelley feels for Sonny really mystified me, and I think his vulnerable quality was emphasized on a little too much. However, the way they meet is so sweet; it immediately made me fall in love with Sonny. And once their relationship got underway, it was very tender and cute.

The main problem I had with this book was probably that the plot was going well, and then all of a sudden the book ends. The climax is near the end of the book and I felt it got itself over with way to quickly; as in the villain is defeated too easily considering the preceding reputation. The ending still wrapped up nicely though, and it was easy to tell that there’s going to be a sequel. Another major problem was that, while Sonny and Kelley were devloped, I felt that we were barely given background information on the supporting characters.

Bottom Line: Wondrous Strange was a good book that left me wanting more. Modern day New York and the fae were depicted nicely, and I look forward to reading more about the Faerie world. The romance and action were good, but the book wrapped up a bit too fast; the excitement ended just as it was starting. The supporting cast could also have used some more development, mainly so readers can learn more about their motives, and I'll be looking for more of that in the next book in this series. However, it was a very solid debut novel, and I'll definitely be keeping my eyes out for the sequel, Darklight, which comes out December 22!