I chose Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston from this week’s reading list, partially because I like fantasy and partially because I know the author is a friend of some friends- she’s Toronto-based and does some of the local nerdy cons/activities.
I liked the way that she included all of the Celtic and British and Greek mythology- Mabh and Herne and the Siren and so on. It was nice to see the story combining some lesser-known figures from mythology with the changeling story and the well-known A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Shakespeare took mythological figures and put them in his stories- it’s only fair to take his characters and fit them into modern stories. It was also interesting to see the way that she fits some of the exiled Fae into the human world, making Puck an actor and a beautiful faerie a model, and a Siren a street singer. I liked the way that she focused on Central Park as the gateway between the human world and the world of Faerie, and making the Tavern on the Green the location of Herne’s tavern.
Kelley Winslow is clearly a Mary Sue character, but not so extreme that she becomes unlikable or unrealistic. I can respect her willingness to act and to try to save herself and her friends- I hate girl characters who exist to be rescued by their prince.They not only set a bad example, they’re boring.
One thing I did notice was that there were a lot of coincedences and moments when characters just accept what is happening. Kelley isn’t that weirded out by a horse mysteriously appearing in her bathroom, or the revelation that she is a long-lost Faerie princess. There is very little reaction to the fact that Sonny was raised by Kelley’s father and Kelley was raised by Sonny’s mother. Kelley forgives Emma and Bob for stealing her very quickly. We never see the reunion between Sonny and Emma. The emotional arc of the characters seems a little simplified, but I could chalk that up to the fact that it is a young adult novel, and there are certain length restrictions. Delving too deeply into the characters’ emotional lives would slow down the pace of the action.
All in all, I would call it solid but not outstanding.