The Compulsive Reader: Supernatural July: A Very Fair Blog Post

Friday, July 24, 2009

Supernatural July: A Very Fair Blog Post

Fairies: they're not your average, cute little magical being. They can be dangerous, scary, ethereal, and sly. And the following books showcase that perfectly:

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Laurel has always felt different--she only eats fruits and a few vegetables, and she's most happy in the woods surrounding her home, where her parents have brought her up and homeschooled her. She chafes at being forced to go to public school for the first time in her life and at being cooped up indoors, but finds that her days are made bearable by her new friendship with David.
David truly understands her, and she enjoys being with him. But then one day, a bump on Laurel's back turns into a fantastic blossom, shaped exactly like wings, and David is the only one who Laurel trusts to help her figure out what has happened to her, and who she truly is.

Magical and inviting, Wings takes the reader on a charming and airy journey. Aprilynne Pike's wholly unique and fascinating take on faeries is delightful and innovative, and her presentation of the faerie world is a clever blend of folklore, tradition, and new thoughts that make for a perfectly fun and light read. Laurel is a likable and unassuming character that readers will immediately fall for and sympathize with as she struggles to discover the source of her differences, and finds herself torn between two very different worlds and two very different guys. Pike's writing is magnetic, and her adventure is as suspenseful and riveting as it is romantic and enchanting.

Cover Comments: This cover isn't as striking as some I've seen, but it is a nice one: I like the petal on the water, and the gracefulness of the title's font. The colors are very vivid and they sure stand out, but yet the cover still has the soft, magical appearance. It's very nice, and it's sure to catch more than a few eyes.

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog

Morgan Sparks has a perfect boyfriend, and a pretty-near perfect life. She and her boyfriend Cameron Browne share a birthday, and their upcoming sixteenth birthday party is the most talked of event in school. But just a week before the big day, a strange guy named Pip shows up, claiming to be the Brownes’ real son. He declares that Cam is really fairy royalty, and next in line for the crown—and that it's time for him to return to the fairy world and for Pip to take his place in the human one. But Morgan won't let go of Cam easily; she's bound and determined to make sure that he stays with her for the rest of their lives...but what if that isn't his destiny?

Fairy Tale is unexpected in many aspects—from Morgan's ability to see into the future to Cyn Balog's surprise ending. Morgan herself is a strong narrator who packs in plenty of wit and sass. Her confidence is refreshing, and her reaction to the many magical events occurring around her is humorous and entertaining. Her psychic abilities aren’t dwelled upon for very long, which seems a little curious, but isn’t distracting from the novel as a whole.

The idea that the male lead—not the female one—is a fairy is a different one, and the new approach is definitely welcome. Fairy Tale deals a lot with the emotions and fears that accompany change as both Cam and Morgan face the possibility of losing each other forever and grapple with fears of the unknown, which is an issue that many teens will be able to draw connections with in their own lives. At the center of the story is a sweet romance that is touching without being cliché, and realistically complicated and gut-wrenching. Balog's debut is a dazzling one, full of fun dialogue, true-to-life emotions, and a suspenseful climax that will have readers coming back to this lovely novel again and again.

Cover Comments: This cover is exquisite--I love the beauty of the wings in the background, and the many colors in them. The drops of water make the image look three dimensional and more realistic, and the simple black background makes the color in the wings pop. I like the title treatment and fint as well, it compliments the image nicely. This is a very, very attractive cover!

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

Deirdre is tremendously gifted in music, but when it comes to actually performing, that's where she runs into some problems. She's hiding out backstage trying to deal with her extreme stage fright before a big recital when the mysterious Luke Dillon appears, seemingly out of nowhere, and guides her through the performance. Deirdre is inexplicably drawn him, despite the negative reactions from her family and Luke's peculiar behavior. Soon it becomes obvious that something else is afoot besides their electrifying romance, something sinister and dangerous that involves the sly and not entirely honest fey, and their queen who would stop at nothing to make sure that the threat Deirdre poses is eliminated...

Elegantly creepy and foreboding, Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception is a bold and exciting read with much of the same air and forbidden romantic appeal that attracted fans to the Twilight series. However, Lament certainly stands on its own ground as Stiefvater weaves old lore with new twists to form a compelling and unique take on faeries. The book is well drawn out as the mystery unfolds and secrets slowly reveal themselves, giving readers just the right amount of information to keep them suspended in anticipation. Stiefvater strikes just the right balance between supernatural intrigue and down-to-earth teenage tendencies, making Lament engaging to even reluctant readers, despite its length.

However, one of the most admirable qualities of Stiefvater's writing is the bold way in which she presents it, and the fact that she doesn't shy around the tough stuff in order to give readers the happy fluff. She manipulates the plot like a pro, giving Lament an edgy, tantalizing air that will entertain to no end, and also lends more depth to her work in the long run. Maggie Stiefvater, with her ability to create not only a gripping romance, but also a shadowy and puzzling mystery at the same time, is most definitely an author to watch.

And keep your eyes out for the sequel to Lament, Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie, coming in October (on a side note, isn't the cover GORGEOUS? I love it!):

In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament, music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians. James' musical talent attracts Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together unexpectedly leads to mutual admiration and love.

Haunted by fiery visions of death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soul-scorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives.

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Kelley is a young actress, trying to make ends meet working as a stage hand and understudy in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in New York City. One night while practicing her lines in Central Park, she meets Sonny, who, unbeknownst to the mortal world, guards the Samhain Gate to the Otherworld and protects the city from the beings that would try to cross over and cause chaos.

Sonny senses immediately that there is something different about Kelley, but is unable to pinpoint what it is. He is inexplicably drawn to her, much to her dismay, and Kelley refuses to believe his ridiculous claims that she is not of this world. Soon the truth comes comes out though, putting Kelley and Sonny into more danger than they could have ever foreseen...

Wondrous Strange is a beguiling read. It combines the excitement of stage life, the diversity of New York City, and the thrill of magic to pull insistently at the reader until they fully succumb to this romantic and dangerous read. Kelley is your likable, average heroine who's just trying to get by on her own, and her practicality and wit punctuate the story with a modern and full-of-attitude flair.

The plot is well drawn out, and the balance between the fantastical elements and moments of reality is perfect. Some more critical readers might feel as though Kelley's acceptance of her role in the Otherworld is a bit rushed, but Livingston's convincing voice and attitude-filled characters will quickly overwhelm any lingering doubtful feelings. Wondrous Strange is a stirring and adventurous book with wry humor, colorful and expressive characters, and an unbelievably addictive quality.

Wondrous Strange is coming out in paperback in September! And keep an eye out for the sequel to Wondrous Strange, Darklight, coming in December:

Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was Faerie royalty, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved New York City from a rampaging Faerie war band. When a terrifying encounter in Central Park sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful—but cut short. For they’ve been plunged into a game of Faerie deception and wavering allegiances in which the next move could topple a kingdom…or part them forever.

The fans who flocked to Lesley Livingston’s Wondrous Strange will fall hard for Darklight, the soaringly romantic second book in the trilogy. Breathless high stakes and vividly magical characters make this a can’t-miss fantasy for readers of Melissa Marr and Holly Black.

And of course, Melissa Marr's books are a must read for any fairy lover. The first book is Wicked Lovely, the second Ink Exchange, and the third Fragile Eternity.

These are just a few great books that come to my mind...what are some of your favorite fairy (or faerie!) reads?


Rachel said...

Wow I really want to read all of these lol! Especially Wings =)

Cecelia said...

Spindle's End by Robin McKinley is a well-written fairy fantasy, and Changeling by Delia Sherman and Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede are equally enchanting (and YA-level). For slightly older readers, there are The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams and War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Both are first-rate, critically-acclaimed, and freaking good. I might have a thing for fairy books, now that I look at this list...

Oh! And Jack of Kinrowan by Charles de Lint - haunting and awesome.

The Compulsive Reader said...

Thanks, Celia! Those are some great recommendations!

Eilis said...

Tam Lin by Pamela Dean is great, as is Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier--both YAish. And for short fiction, there's always The Faery Reel, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.

Lauren said...

Holly Black's books: Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside.

Thanks for all the faerie titles, all I've read so far is Melissa Marr, but the rest are going on my reading list ^^

Lorelei said...

I've read all of those mentioned and loved them. Here are two more awesome YA Fey series: The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa and the FIRE & ICE series(Faery Song Trilogy-Book 1) by Michele Barrow-Belisle!