Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
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.
Okay, full admission: I have a soft spot for faerie books. But the faerie bit wasn’t even what I liked the most about Wondrous Strange. And, let me just get this out of the way, so I won’t be repeating myself over and over below: I LOVED THIS BOOK. COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY LOVED IT.
First of all, let me just gush for a moment about the cover. Seriously, SO PRETTY. *starry-eyed stare*
Ahem. So, premise: Wondrous Strange is the story of Kelley, an actress at a very off-Broadway Shakespearean theatre who is currently playing Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Little does Kelley know that Faeries actually exist, and one in particular means her a lot of harm. Enter Sonny, a Janus guard who is responsible for keeping the Fae out of the mortal world. He’s instantly drawn to Kelley, and is the first to realize that she isn’t at all what she’d always thought she was. Throw in a bit of intrigue from the various Faerie courts (two in particular, but I don’t want to spoil!) and combine with a very frightening and dangerous legend, and Kelley’s life is about to be completely turned upside down.
Now, I have read my fair share of Faerie stories. This one, however, was completely unique, which is something I never thought I’d actually ever be able to say. Not only do you get the mentions of the main two Faerie royals – Titania and Auberon – but you get to meet deadly Queen Mabh as well, who rules over the Autumn Court and is generally the most feared because she is pretty much insane. Completely unhinged, even. :)) Much of the drama of this book revolves around something that Mabh did once upon a time involving said dangerous and frightening legend mentioned briefly above. Because of what she unleashed, Titania and Auberon joined forces (which doesn’t happen terribly often because “winter and summer [are] so rarely in accord”) and chained her – literally – to her shadowy realm, forcing her to remain in her world. I am honestly not sure what to think about her, because I feel like there’s a whole lot more to her story that we haven’t learned yet, which I hope will happen in the final two books.
Intricate plot twists, spectacularly engaging characters, and a wonderful combination of Shakespeare made this an absolutely fantastic book that I pretty much devoured. It hit all of my weaknesses: a feisty, independent heroine, a swoon-worthy male hero, a bright-burning, page-melting romance, and a unique twist on the Faerie plot device. Not only were Kelley and Sonny fully developed and well-written, but the supporting characters were as well. It was such a relief to read a book where there were no flat characters, and for the most part, everyone managed to avoid the cliches that tend to overwhelm YA literature. I can honestly find no fault whatsoever with this book, and am eagerly looking forward to reading the last two. This is definitely my favorite of 2012 thus far, and belongs in my all-time favorite category as well. <3