Monday, May 11, 2009

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Review by Heather Moore

Wings, debut novel by Aprilynne Pike, should be well-received by the YA market. Of course, it has the usual storyline of new girl at school, who is found attractive by hot guy (but isn't this what all teenagers want to read about anyway, right?). Although this book is clever in its own right. The main character is a faerie, although she doesn't know it at first, and her faerie-ness is unique from other YA books with fey characters. I really enjoyed the biology explanations and the world which Pike created to accomodate fey and human alike.

I liked Laurel's character for the most part, but wished David contained a deeper persona. Yet for a first book, I certainly have to give kudos to the author. The writing style is nice--not overly gushy and not overly descriptive--which give the story a decent flow. I'm looking forward to the next installment and seeing the author's literary development.


Marcia Mickelson said...

I'm reading it right now and am really enjoying it.

Andrew H. said...

Here is a somewhat negative review from Kirkus, any comments or rebutal?

In the current crop of supernatural romances, this one stands out for pleasant, non-angsty prose but also for a blunt, archaic equation of physical beauty with moral goodness. Tropes fulfilled-new school: check; hidden ancestry: check; mysterious hottie knowing more about the heroine than she does: check-never encumber the silky narration as 15-year-old Laurel finds a blossom growing from her back. Scientific experiments with cute mortal David and explanations from steamy faerie Tamani reveal that Laurel's a faerie-and faeries are plants. She was placed with unknowing human parents to inherit the land that holds the faerie gates to Avalon. Overly idealized physical descriptions smack of wish-fulfillment (flawless, zit-less Laurel needs no shampoo to keep her blond hair perfect) and over-ripen into absurdity when the text insists that (light-skinned) beauty embodies goodness. Glimpses of Avalon are painfully cliched but short ("an emerald-green tree, a sliver of cerulean sky, rays of sunshine that sparkled like diamonds"). Woe unto readers with facial or bodily asymmetry, but the overwritten passages pass quickly and the rest is delicious escapism. (Fantasy. YA)

Heather B. Moore said...

Interesting. I've never been offended if the heroine of a book was described as beautiful. I guess I read it as fantasy, and had no expectations that the Laurel should be stereotyped as every other awkward high school girl. In this case, I think that the flawless skin of Laurel sets her apart as a unique character, and there is good explanation for it. Plus, she's a faerie--other YA Fey books describe the fey as quite glamorous, so I don't know why Laurel should be any different. I think a reviewer would have to seriously read into the whole "light-skin" equals goodness thing. Certainly a hyper-sensitive comment. Just because Laurel is pale-skinned and happens to be a decent person doesn't mean that it's a political statement by the author and applies to the general population. As any writer knows, often characteristics of the author herself will creep into the characters of the book. If you look at the author's website, I see Laurel as looking very much like Aprilynne (except for the hair color). And if Aprilynne aka Laurel happens to be a good person, so be it.

In regards to the cliche comment, I think with the millions of books in print, it's impossible to avoid all cliches unless the author creates a new language.

Also, as I alluded to in my review, this author has some growth ahead of her, but she'll make a splash with WINGS.