Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

I asked Heather from A High and Hidden Place if she wanted to read a book together. After some book comparison, we agreed on Wondrous Strange. I have wanted to read the book since I got it, but it just never seemed to work into my plans. I am very glad I finally got around to it and that I got to read it with another wonderful blogger!

Kelley Winslow is living her dream. Seventeen years old, she has moved to New York City and started to work with a theatre company. Sure, she’s only 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 Faerie 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 named Sonny Flannery plunges her into an adventure she could never have imagined.

Sonny is a Janus Guard, charged by Auberon, the King of Winter, with watching over the gate into the land of Faerie, which lies within Central Park. For Sonny, the pretty, young actress is 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.

Canadian author Lesley Livingston explodes onto the stage of teen fantasy with a debut novel—the first in a planned trilogy—that puts a fresh new spin on classic faerie lore. Wondrous Strange blends a gripping plot with fully believable characters, fascinating ideas and just the right amount of romance to create a story that is vivid, thrilling and engaging. Readers of Herbie Brennan, Holly Black and Melissa Marr will find a new favourite in Lesley Livingston.

Heather asked me three questions about the book. These are my answers:

What did you think of the inclusion of Shakespeare and A Midsummer Night's Dream?
- The inclusion of the play is really the reason that I wanted to read this book in the first place. I have to admit I am not a huge Shakespeare fan, but I do really like this play. I am a sucker for retellings in the first place, though, so it was no surprise that I was drawn to this one. I really liked how Livingston combined the play, the 'real' world, and the 'fairy-tale' world in this book. It was done really well. While this book had a few 'first book issues', I still thought it was really well written and planned out. It was just believable. I could actually picture things playing out just as Livingston described it, and I didn't have to stretch my imagination too far. I am really excited to see where the trilogy goes next!

Who was your favourite character?
- That's a hard question. I, at first, want to say Kelley, because with a slight spelling difference, we have the same name. But, when it gets right down to it, I am not sure I would consider her my favourite character. I had a feeling that something along this line would be one of my questions, so I found myself thinking about the characters as I read along. I actually was thinking I might say Lucky, because really, a horse in a bathtub blowing soap bubbles out his nose is such a funny image! I really liked how Livingston wrote him into the story. I also really liked the Winter King. I thought he was so well-written! He was full of surprises, but also not at the same time. It is really hard to explain without spoilers. I liked Sonny, too, of course. I think, though, if we were comparing this to Melissa Marr (like the blurb does above), I like Seth better. Really, there was no character in this book that I didn't like. They all really added to the story. Even if they were not supposed to be well-liked, they were still well written.

Most importantly, what did you think of the ending and do you think you will continue on with the series?
- I thought that the ending cleared things up pretty well. If there was not a sequel, I think it could almost be a standalone. There are things to clear up, but it was not a cliffhanger ending. (Thankfully!) I plan to read the rest of the trilogy, though. The second book is actually out in September, so I can't wait! Maybe I will read that one with you, too, Heather? We will see what the months bring.

I don't usually rate my books, but I was just going to link to Heather's review and I saw she gave the book a 3.75 out of 5. I agree with that rating. To read Heather's answers to my questions, head on over to her post.


  1. Now I'll have to go and read this book, thanks for the review.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm interested in reading this, and my main reason is also the fact that it's built around the play.

    I have to say, I was actually disappointed when Heather mentioned it was part of a feels like everything's a series these days, and picking up a new book is too big a commitment. But if it could work as a standalone, then I need not worry,

  3. I like how you guys read this together and did a co-review. The book sounds really good and one I think my daughter would love.

  4. rachel says: I liked this book. It could have been better though. The premise was wonderful--- however, it lacked some much-needed spark.

    It seemed to have all the ingredients but none of the magic to cast a spell

  5. Great team-read/review. I really enjoyed this book. I was also glad that the ending wasn't very cliff-hanger-ish.

  6. Great format! The cover looks great and so is the story. I'm tempted to add this to my TBR!

  7. Rebecca: Hope you enjoy it!

    Ana: Everything is part of a series. Annoying, huh? It gets a bit daunting.

    Booklogged: I hope your daughter enjoys it if she gets a chance to read it.

    Rachel: You are the reason I got this book in the first place. :)

    Joanne: Yeah, I am tired of cliff-hangers. I don't want to be pressured into always reading sequels all the time.

    Alice: Hope you enjoy it if you take a chance on it!

  8. I'll be doing my first co-read next month and am looking forward to it. I like the direction you and Heather went with your co-read.

    I admit that the mention of Shakespeare sometimes will send me running in the other direction. LOL I'm not a fan, that's for sure. I do like books about the fey though, so maybe I might like this one.

  9. Literary Feline: I have the same problem with Shakespeare...

  10. Glad you got to finish it. I seriously can't wait for the next one!

    I got chime in with the Shakespeare wiggins but this was just too good to pass up.


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