Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wondrous Strange or Expected Usual

As promised in my last entry I'm thinking a lot about why I'm "rating" the book, as though my rating will really affect anyone's decision to buy it for their Library collection or anyone who is a fan of that kind of book's decision to read it or buy it for themselves. It will check out of your Library. It will provide you with a few hours of entertainment. The writing itself isn't effervescent but it isn't half bad either. But on a pure quality and originality level this book, for me, fell flat. I have decided I like the rating as a dimension of my own introspection about a book. But my criteria for 2 (or 2.25 as I like to modify with partial stars on this site) on Goodreads.com's rating system is going to be different than someone elses, obviously. One day I'd like to go back and reconsider my ratings and if after having time away from the book do I still feel the same way about my "rating."

Wondrous Strange Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

My rating: 2.25 of 5 stars
17-year-old Kelley is the red-headed understudy for role of Titania in an off-off-off-off Broadway production of Mid-summer Night's Dream who gets the literal lucky break. The leading lady "busts an ankle" and joy of joys she has the part. Hooray, great story about alternative career paths and following your dreams.

Except not, at all. This is yet another story about an ordinary girl who finds out she's a fairy princess, specifically Irish and with all the fun trappings and problems. After reading Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, or any of the numerous American Urban Fantasy takes on the exact same theme I'm actually pretty done and pretty bored. Which isn't to say that the book isn't readable, and it makes a pretty good read-alike to all the Cassandra Clare/Holly Black/Melissa Marr/and even yes, Laurell K. Hamilton for your older audience. And there are some unique elements that sets the story apart: I like that this book pays homage to The Bard. I like the changeling storyline and the human guards of the fairy realm, The Janus Guards, some of whom are ass-kicking ladies. I like the Central Park central location and a certain kelpie who moves into a bathtub.

Unfortunately all of that which I liked, and which fans of the Irish-specific mythology as Urban Fantasy genre will also like doesn't lead to a great book. The discovery of Lucky the kelpie and the fact that she's a fairy princess takes up too much time and the actual battle and conflict is rushed into the last few pages of the book. I did not believe the romance between Sonny Flannery, Janus Guard, and Kelley Winslow, mediocre actress/fairy princess. And by not believe I mean I'm completely unsure when he went from being creepy stalker dude to love interest but it happened somehow without ever actually convincing me that her character would actually not see him as a creepy stalker anymore. Also, despite all the time spent on her discovery of fairy princess powers it is just so ho-hum. Her reaction didn't jump off the page or do anything new, she just came around after a short time. Which might be better than pages and pages of ranting and railing and disbelief, which also would have been terrible, but still...boring. This book is neither wondrous nor, in this YA book market, all that strange.

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