Book Review: Wondrous Strange by: Lesley Livingston

Summary: Kelley Winslow is living her dream. Seventeen years old, she has moved to New York City and started work with a theatre company. Sure, she's an understudy for the Avalon Players, a third-tier repertory company so far off-Broadway it might as well be in Hoboken, but things are looking up—the lead has broken her ankle and Kelley's about to step into the role of Titania the Fairy Queen in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Faeries are far more real than Kelley thinks, though, and a chance encounter in Central Park with a handsome young man will plunge her into an adventure she could never have imagined.

For Sonny Flannery, one of the Janus Guards charged by Auberon, the King of Winter, with watching over the gate into the lands of Faerie that lies within Central Park, the pretty young actress presents an enigma. Strong and willful, she sparks against his senses like a firecracker and he can't get her out of his mind. As  Hallowe'en approaches and the Samhain Gate opens, Sonny and Kelley find themselves drawn to each other—and into a terrible plot that could spell disaster for both New York and Faerie alike.

Lesley Livingston certainly knows how to weave an awesome faerie tale. Ms. Livingston uses a lot of classic faerie elements as well as a TON and a half of classic Shakespeare....some of it being the same thing. These are both very good things. Shakespeare in itself is hard for a young reader to understand and feel. I think in this book Ms. Livingston gives Shakespeare a platform for young readers to understand and comprehend. When your favorite character is standing, acting out a Shakespeare scene, and the author is describing the emotions, the other characters, it clicks in the head and all of a sudden you have a teen who has had their possibly first dose of Shakespeare at his greatest, instead of it being crammed down the throat in high school English.

The characters are strong and willful but I don't think the author gave the reader enough time to truly get to know some of them. I liked Sonny, but by the time the story ended, I didn't know much about him and I wasn't head over heels in love with him, which is something I quite like in my male protagonists.

The plot is quick paced, but I think the the author could have done so much more with it, this book could have been huge; at the same time, if the author made it even larger it might be more difficult for young minds to wrap around. There were also a couple points in the plot that were a bit predictable...the whole deal that Sonny makes, totally saw that coming from a mile away. Faeries are tricky like that.

Overall this book is pretty good, I am really excited to read the next book in this series, Darklight.

Discussion Questions:

- Faeries seem to be very big in YA lit lately, how does Wondrous Strange compare to others in its genre such as Lament, Wicked Lovely, etc.?

I think Wondrous Strange was set strongly on Shakespearean Fae as opposed to Lament which was set strongly on Celtic Fae. Technically Fae is Fae but the source of the folklore differs.

- How did you view the relationship with Kelley and Sonny, was it a believable romance?

I think we didn't get enough time to get to know Sonny and I don't think Kelley did either, so it can use some work.  

- Wondrous Strange was written in the typical fashion of paranormal literature, with the protagonist unaware of her supernatural abilities, meets boy who introduces her to the world... do you find these plot lines tiresome in their likeness, or do you believe there are always similarities within fiction and it is all about the deeper story?

It depends on my mood to be honest, sometimes I get bored with it, but its usually the mystery I get bored with. All the shadows and guessing games. I can continue reading plot lines like long as they don't have so much clouding it interrupts the storyline.

Received from: Purchased from Books-A-Million

For more information or for purchasing visit Lesley Livingston's webpage.

I give this book 4/5 stars. ★ ★ ★ ★

To purchase:

Monica S.

Copyright The Bibliophilic Book Blog 2009-2010


  1. Great review! Is it strange that I've yet to read this gem? :)

  2. excellent review!

    glad you liked it...i loved the shakespeare references!

  3. Good job with your review!!!

  4. Enjoyed your review, I liked that you pointed out the fact about how she explains Shakespeare for the hopefully the understanding of some teens. I didn't even realize she was doing this because I was engrossed in the story.

  5. Congrats chick. You got Top Reviewer again! ♥ Parajunkee

  6. I agree that most of it was predictable. I enjoyed the Shakespeare aspect, and I really wish (since it was the first in the series) that the characters were explored more.


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