Friday, January 9, 2015

Wondrous Strange review

Wondrous Strange
by Lesley Livingston
December 2008

"Puck's tortured words rang in Kelley's ears as she lifted her head, struggling against the darkness that threatened to descend upon her."

Seventeen year old Kelley Winslow is ready for a fun summer in New York performing in a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in the park. She's soon pulled into a secret world of destructive and dueling faeries battling for control of the faerie realm. Some of the Shakespeare allusions come across as a little heavy-handed, but readers who aren't as familiar with the Bard's works will probably appreciate a lot of the exposition.  Rescuing what she believes to be a drowning horse (actually, a kelpie) Kelley is  dismayed when the horse reappears in the bathtub of her upper-story apartment. This whole exchange is played with humor, as Kelley frets over what she will feed it (turns out the kelpie has a taste for Lucky Charms cereal) or how she will clean up after it (luckily, the supernatural horse doesn't leave any messes behind.)

Angry, lonely Sonny is a changeling - a human child raised by faeries and sworn to service as a protector of them. After a chance meeting with Kelley in the Central Park one night, he soon suspects that she could be Faerie King Auberon's long-lost daughter.  A strained romance begins between the two, as Sonny struggles to keep the faery world and his duties within it a secret from Kelley for as long as he can.

One of the surprises in the book is one of Kelley's fellow actors, Bob, turns out to be the real Puck, a wisecracking, sticky-fingered guy, who's secretly been keeping an eye on Kelley, and manipulating things behind-the-scenes for years.

The climax of the book takes place on actual midsummer night, as the portal between human and faery worlds threatens to open, and hell hounds chase through Central Park.  Sonny and his fellow members of the Janus Guard are prepared to do battle to keep the rest of Manhattan safe, but ultimately, it is Kelley's faery heritage which saves the day.

This novel's blend of Celtic mythology, Shakespeare and romance will more than satisfy fans of urban paranormal fantasy.

Compare to:
Lament - Maggie Stiefvater
Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
The Iron King - Julie Kagawa

I borrowed this book from the library.

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