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Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingstone

#37 of 200

Original Language: English
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: December 22, 2009
ISBN: 0394815009
Page Count: 327 
Since the dawn of time, the Faerie have taken. . . . 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.

Wondrous Strange is the debut novel of Lesley Livingson and he first novel in a popular new trilogy. Kelley Winslow is an aspiring actress in New York City with an obsessive room-mate and lands the role of Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream at her local theatre. Just as everything seems to be going perfectly for Kelley she meets Sonny Flannery and learns that the world of Faerie exists alongside her own.



WS is a brand new adventure in Faerie and brings familiar characters like Puck and Aberon new life within its covers. Livingston has tweaked the original characters and created a brand new performance for her readers. Aberon is the King of the Unseelie Court, commander of the Janus Guard who protect the entrance between the mortal realm and Faerie. Puck is as mischievious and lovable as ever but has taken a new identity within New York City.

I always love a new representation of Faerie and WS does a fantastic job. The characers are beguiling and witty while the action moves quickly without being rushed. Puck's transformation into a member of New York society is astounding and unexpected. He and Lucky, a sweet tempered Kelpie with a dark side, remain the most entertaining characters who contrast strongly against their traditional roles.

As a protagonist Kelley is recklessly independent and constantly confronted by the truth of her identity. She struggles to continue with her life while dealing with her new knowledge and finds herself constantly confronted by danger. As a love interest Sonny is sweet and completely infatuated with her. His history as a human changeling working to keep Faeries out of the mortal world makes him a mysterious but protective figure.

Livingston's inclusion of Autumn and Spring Courts, and Aberon as King of the Unseelie Winter Court is an interesting portrayal of the Faerie realm. It allowed Livingston to keep Aberon and Titania  in power while introducing new rulers: Mab and Gwynn ap Nudd. By recounting some history of Faerie, Livinston sets up for future stories in the trilogy.

The focus of the novel is on stopping the Wild Hunt, a group of dangerous Fey who revel in the glory of the Hunt. As a villian, or an obstacle, in the narrative, the Hunt is an inventive and vaguely familiar threat. A common myth in Folk Law the Wild Hunt is known for its danger, especially to mortals, and brings Mab to the forefront of the plot. Their arrival in Central Park, without spoiling the story, is foreshadowed and fabulous.

Over all, I am heartily impressed by Lesley Livingston's debut novel and her new spin on the realm of Faerie. It is followed in the Wondrous Strange trilogy by Darklight and will continue Kelley and Sonny's adventures together.

Raiding Bookshelves Rating
Judging by the cover: There is nothing spectacular about the cover for Wondrous Strage but it still manages to catch the eye. The dark softness of the picture, and the model's smooth pale skin make it look mysterious. Her bright red hair is beautifully dark against the background. It is the start of a nice matching set for the trilogy.



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