Friday, July 9, 2010

Living and Loving Lesley Livingston's Wondrous Strange and Darklight/ A Review

Friday, July 9, 2010
 For the past two days I have been living in New York City and hanging out with faeries, my new BFF Kelly Winslow and her hunky guy Sonny Flannery. My visit to New York, courtesy of Lesley Livingston and her novels Wonderous Strange and Darklight, was definitely the highlight of my summer. I only wish that I could have stayed longer because to be quite honest, I had an amazing time and never wanted it to leave.


 Here is what happened on the first day...



Seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow always thought faeries were just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery. He's a changeling--a mortal taken as an infant and raised among Faerie--and within short order he's turned Kelley's heart inside out and her life upside down.

For Kelley's beloved Central Park isn't just a park--it's a gateway between her ordinary city and the Faerie's dangerous, bewitching Otherworld. Now Kelley's eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her, but to the heritage that awaits her . . . a destiny both wondrous and strange. (Publisher’s summary from Powell’s Books)

And on the second day ...

Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was a Faerie princess, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved the mortal realm from the ravages of the Wild Hunt. Now Kelley is stuck in New York City, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet and missing Sonny more with every stage kiss, while Sonny has been forced back to the Otherworld and into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the remaining Hunters and Queen Mabh herself.

When a terrifying encounter sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful but destined to be cut short. An ancient, hidden magick is stirring, and a dangerous new enemy is willing to risk everything to claim that power. Caught in a web of Faerie deception and shifting allegiances, Kelley and Sonny must tread carefully, for each next step could topple a kingdom . . . or tear them apart. (Publisher’s summary from Powell’s Books)

After stepping into Livingston’s brilliant and dazzling world through Kelly’s and Sonny’s adventures, I can only say that these two books blew me away. Livingston’s plots are as complex as they are compelling. I read fascinated by her imaginative creation of a faerie world that lives side by side with its mortal counterpart, and I love how both Kelly’s and Sonny’s destinies are so intricately woven into the storyline. I am still entranced by how smoothly Wondrous Strange segued into Darklight without missing a beat, and yet, how easily Darklight could stand alone without confusing a reader. Finally, I am delighted at how seamlessly Livingston incorporated Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet into the books.

Livingston’s cast of characters are also very impressive. I adore Kelly. She is independent and outspoken, yet vulnerable. Sonny is also an intriguing character because he is strongly capable as a Janus Guard (a changeling who guards the Samhaim Gate located in Central Park, and allows fae to crossover whenever it is open), but he has a dark yet deeply compassionate side that makes him a dichotomy. Livingston provides enough background about these two dynamic characters that they became extremely credible, and I actually am sad that I had to leave them. I also thought that Livingston did a marvelous job bringing Auberon, King of the Winter Court, Mabh, Queen of the Autumn Court, and Puck, alive. With the exception of some of the other Janus Guards (thirteen total), all of the secondary characters were developed enough that I felt I knew them.

Both Wondrous Strange and Darklight are exciting and captivating reads, I love the romance between Sonny and Kelly, the entire cast of characters, and the setting that brought to life Livingston’s world of faeries and mortals. My only complaint is that I have to wait until December to revisit this extraordinary world and the characters who live there.

10 comments:

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

Wonderful review, Jan! Wondrous Strange has been on my wishlist for ages, although I haven't really read many reviews of the book before now.

I must buy it soon. Also, I love the covers on these one's. Have you seen the cover of the next book in the series? Amazing!

Lori said...

Fantastic review!! This is one of my favorite YA series and maybe my favorite YA Faerie series. (I say maybe because, I'm reading The Iron Daughter right now and it's really great!)

Mrs. DeRaps said...

Wow. I would never have known that these stories are so related to two of my favorite Shakespeare plays. Thanks for your glowing review--I'm going to wishlist them right now!

Angela said...

Thanks for dropping by Library Girl Reads through the Book Blogger Hop. Both Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong actually have some YA books and I think you would like them based on the other reviews of paranormal/fantasy YA I see here :-)

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Great review! Thanks for sharing. The covers are SO beautiful.

chelleyreads said...

oh wow, five cherries! i definitely need to check this series out--i've been wanting to because of the pretty covers but faeries have always been a hit or miss for me. thanks for the wonderful review!

also, thanks for your comment on my last post. LOL it's nice to hear even seasoned teachers get nervous.

have a great weekend jan! :D

Crystal said...

I have both of these on my TBR pile and your reviews make me really want to start them.

Linna (21 ♡ pages) said...

I'm always looking for more books involving faeries, and your amazing review has got me convinced. I absolutely can't wait to read these! :D

Staci said...

I enjoyed both of these too Jan. I read the first one online free through Good Reads and then couldn't wait to get my hands on book two. Glad to know that I'm not the only one slightly in love with Sonny!!!

Kris (Voracious YAppetite) said...

Wow, sounds like these books really swept you away! I love it when that happens. I've been wondering if I should start this series. Your opinion has pushed me that much closer to "yes." ;) Great review!

 
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