Saturday, September 3, 2011

Arty -- Wings by Aprilynne Pike

(A pre-script - I accuse Persy of gross generalization in her last review. I personally couldn't stand Poison Study. That's not to say you shouldn't try Storm Glass - I'm mostly just saying this because it'll irk Persy. Okay, that's all.)

Laurel Sewell is perfect. She doesn't need to wash her hair. She survives off salad and Sprite - and has a great figure anyway. At age fifteen, she's never had acne.

Turns out there's a reason for that. When a bump that Laurel thinks is her first zit shows up on her back, and then sprouts into a wing-like blossom, she figures out (after a long, long time) that she's - gasp! - a fairy!

Also entangled in this fairytale are dashingly handsome, cool, calm human David (with whom Laurel's in love) and devilishly handsome, witty, roguish fairy Tamani (with whom Laurel's in love). And her clueless parents. And her pointless friend, Chelsea - kind of.

Oh. Did I mention the trolls?

If you haven't picked up on my blazing powers of sarcasm by now, I didn't like this book. I know, there have been glowing reviews of Wings, all extolling its beautiful prose, wonderful plot, and interesting characters. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't see it.

Persy had a Hate List a couple weeks back. Well, Laurel is officially on my Hate List. She's the personification of everything I hate about modern heroines. She's an empty hole, devoid of any positive personality trait that one can easily identify. But everyone loves her. She's always right (except when she's being just so adorably clueless - isn't it sweet?). Oh, and she's proud. At one point she literally thought I am no ordinary girl.

David and Tamani are your typical two-thirds of the tired old love triangle. David - human, calm, logical, rational, drop-dead gorgeous. Tamani - supernatural, spicy, mysterious, funny... drop-dead gorgeous. If Laurel had described how beautiful they were any more than she did, I would have retched. And they're both sooooo in love with Laurel. (Horrible grammar intended.) Don't get me started on the other characters - like her parents. I'm tired of stupid parents the heroine never trusts over the boyfriend she met three months ago. And please, someone tell me Chelsea's function besides telling Laurel how lucky she was to have David in love with her.

Now, about the plot. Or lack thereof. It's basically a battle against trolls for a gateway to Avalon - yes, King Arthur's Avalon. You don't actually know the bad guys are trolls until a little over halfway through the book (kind of like Laurel doesn't get she's a fairy, even with wings, until about halfway through). That's not to say you can't guess who the bad guys are, but you don't know they're trolls. When you do, this is basically how it plays out:

Tamani: Let's go save Avalon from your scary realtor. Oh, by the way, he's a troll.

Laurel: Troll? Ooh, thcary twoll. DAVID, KISS ME!!

Okay, that might have been a wee bit over-sarcastic. But you get my point.

I'll stop now before it turns into a real rant, because I haven't even gotten to Pike's less-than-stellar writing technique or her... interesting... take on fairy origins. Let me get this straight - I have nothing against adding something new to fairy lore. Heck, I'm trying my hand at writing fairies. The problem is bad execution. At no point in the book did I think the fairy lore was actually better or even just different because of what the fairies actually are in Pike's world. Except for one really awkward discussion about... erm... reproduction that just made me squirm. Other than that... I don't understand. Maybe the differences are more fleshed out in the other three books (!), but I'm not going to be reading them to find out.

Suffice it to say, don't read Wings unless you're just really bored. Honestly. You can find better.

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