Wings: A sorta fairytale

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsYA fantasy book reviews Aprilynne Pike WingsWings  by Aprilynne Pike

Wow, faeries are everywhere in YA fantasy lately. Aprilynne Pike adds to this growing subgenre with a novel that stands out in some ways but not in others.

Pike’s best touch is her take on how faeries differ from humans biologically. It’s clever, it’s well-thought-out, and it makes sense. It’s easy to imagine how these beings could give rise to the stories humans tell about faeries.  Laurel’s plantlike biology also turns out to be crucial to the plot, late in the novel.

The pace is slow in the beginning; the early chapters focus on Laurel’s school life and on her mounting worry over something strange that’s happening to her body. All novels that deal with a teen undergoing metamorphosis can be read as metaphors for puberty, but for a little while, Laurel’s “blossoming” seemed almost too obvious, too heavy-handed a metaphor. Maybe it was Laurel’s skipping a beach party due to her “blossom” that made me feel that way; maybe it was her faerie friend Tamani’s involuntary discharge of pollen. Maybe it’s just because “blossoming” was always my mom’s euphemism for puberty. I don’t know.

Midbook, the pace switches from brooding to breakneck. The events that occur are foreshadowed by hints early in the novel, but when they do take place, they’re so sudden that they almost feel out of the blue.

The prose is quite simple; it got the job done but didn’t dazzle me with beauty.

Wings is not bad, and you may want to consider it if you’re a reader who devours anything to do with faeries, but it’s not going to be kicking Lament or Wicked Lovely off my shelf.

Wings — (2009-2012) Young adult. Publisher: Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful — too beautiful for words. Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings. In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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