Reviewed by Dani
Dani’s rating: 4 stars
Overall Rating: 4 stars
Publication Date: December 23rd, 2008
17 year-old Kelley Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: onstage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what she thinks... In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelley's off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a nighttime trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye.
Wondrous strange. I love the title of this book, which also happens to be the title of the trilogy. Can you think of anything that is such a mix of wonder and strangeness that the two components cannot be distinguished? In this book, both faeries and love are "wondrous strange". This book is about faeries, a topic that has been speculated, discussed, and written countless times. Like many stories about those peculiar creatures that do not have the ability to lie, this story has been heavily influenced by Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this rather "fresh" story about faeries. It has a very original plot, although it did have its fair share of the usual corniness since the main character Kelley is the daughter of 2 faery monarchs.
I loved the two characters Sonny and the Fennrys Wolf. Yes, he is called THE Fennrys Wolf. Fenn doesn't have as big a part in this book than in the later two books, but he is still an essential character. Both are Janus, warriors appointed by the winter king Oberon to guard the gate between the worlds of fey and mortals. All Janus are mortal changelings, snatched out of the mortal realm by faeries. Also, both are pretty darn cute but in different ways. Fenn was a Viking warrior before he became a changeling, so he has the “Grrr I’m a tough guy! DO. NOT. MESS. WITH ME.” attitude. But secretly, he’s a teddy bear inside. Sonny is the newest member of the Janus guard and is Irish. He’s just a plain old teddy bear, but he will still kick your butt if you call him a “teddy bear”. Unlike in Shakespeare’s writing, Oberon does not rule the summer kingdom with Titania. He is the Unseelie king. Sonny, raised by Oberon, never thought of associating love with a mortal until he met Kelley, his mysterious not-so-mortal "firecracker". ;) Inside reference! Gotta read this book to understand it!
Kelley is a strong female lead. She left her home and her aunt to pursue her acting career. No, Kelley is not a movie star. Kelley acts out Shakespeare plays as part of the Avalon Theatre Company. She somehow juggles her mortal life with discovering her faery heritage and learning how to deal with it. Talk about multitasking!
I really liked Wondrous Strange, but I felt like there were some slow parts that caused me to lose interest. This still was a phenomenal book, but it wasn't perfect. The writing of Lesley Livingston was wonderful, full of breathtaking imagery and innovative action scenes. You won't be bored when you read a battle scene!