Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Wings/Spells by Aprilynne Pike

In a small California town, fifteen-year-old Laurel is sent from a sheltered life of home-schooling into a normal high school when her family move house. Already nervous about school and settling in cautiously, there is more stress and tension added to her life when a giant white flower- shaped like a pair of wings- grows out of her back. On a trip back to her old home, which her parents are trying to sell to someone that gives Laurel the creeps, Laurel meets Tamani, someone who tells her that she's a Fall faerie and...something else. Laurel is sucked into the magical world where she belongs, battling trolls and her inexperience to claim ownership of her old house for the good of the faeries.

The story continues in Spells, where Laurel finds herself off to Avalon to finally learn the ways of the Fall faeires. Her new-found knowledge is put to the test upon her return home to her well-informed human parents and she still hasn't completely won the battle against the trolls...and now, she has to worry about the mysterious humans that have been taking too much of an interest in Laurel's safety. Also, Tamani and Laurel's human boyfriend David are getting jealous of each other and Laurel can't decide who she wants to be with more!

The first two books in this series were a little different to anything I'd ever read. Aprilynne Pike's version of faeries is the most original take on them that I know of. The plot...not so much. It's pretty Twilight-ish, except that it has less focus on romance and more on the weirdness of Laurel's species and how she adjusts to it.

Laurel was a Mary Sue in my opinion- she was quiet, smart, unsociable, too nice and unwittingly caused romantic turmoil. She's one of those people that look nice in the background and is highly reminiscent of Bella Swan. I felt that, as a main character in a book series that was showing some promise in every other area, she could have had some other, more realistic qualities- a genuine bad side, something that made her only human, in every sense that can be applied to her. Somethings that I would have liked to see is vanity, being self-assured and assertive and getting really angry. Main characters need something that makes them stand out- Laurel lacked that.

Tamani and David are a lot better. Tamani's very clever and confident, with a very supportive attitude to the faerie hierarchy system and, from his description, he is very hot. David is perfect boyfriend/best friend material- he's supportive, eager to help out, sweet, smart and, most importantly, he's funny. Both of their relationships with Laurel, however, are not what they could be.

I also feel that the climaxes weren't incredibly interesting, although the idea of trolls isn't something used a lot in YA. A lack of adrenaline coming frfom Laurel was mostly to blame, but the situations themselves were fairly boring as well.

The chronological, third person writing style that Pike adopted in this series made the story easy to follow and understand.

Despite main character issues, I found these books interesting and unique. If I can get my hands on the third book, Illusions, I will continue reading the series, to see how Laurel resolves her issues with the trolls and her boy troubles, as well as to find out if the series will get anymore exciting.

My rating- 3/5
 Meanwhile, Disney has recently claimed the rights to the film of Wings and are already starting on it. Miley Cyrus has been tipped to play Laurel, although I'm not entirely sure how that will work out.


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