Sunday, August 23, 2009

Review: Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Laurel's not like other girls: she's been homeschooled her whole life, she can't stand being cooped up and she can only seem to digest fruits and vegetables. But not only that: she's a faerie, and she doesn't even know it yet. When a lump starts growing on her back at first she thinks it's a pimple, but she's soon horrified to discover that she's actually sprouting a huge flower between her shoulder blades. With the help of her new friend David, she realises that she's not as human as she thought.

Wings is just so sweet. I haven't read widely in the faerie genre; Tinkerbell and the nasty, biting things from Labyrinth make up about the extent of my faerie knowledge. So I'm not sure if it's common to weave Arthurian references to Avalon and Excalibur into faerie stories, as Aprilynne Pike has done. I liked the familiar mythological references, but what I really found interesting was Pike's take on faerie physiology. It's an unexpected blend of science and magic, and because David's such a whiz with a microscope we get to see the process of discovery for ourselves, rather than it be regurgitated as a piece of lore.

There's something relaxing about reading Wings. There's no melodrama; no rushing hither and thither in a huge panic; no prologue that sets an ominous tone for the rest of the novel. Laurel's a bit of a teary girl, but I found her wussiness to be endearing rather than annoying because ultimately she's a sensible girl. I get the feeling she doesn't smile a lot, poor thing. As is common with series right now, there's a love triangle: David, a human boy, in one corner, and Tamani the faerie in the other.* It'll be interesting to see how the relationship pans out over the series as Laurel has priorities in both the human world and the faerie world. There's a sense that larger plot ramifications will dictate down the line where her allegiances lie, and this in turn will affect who she ends up with. I find this rather delicious! I'm pleased to report that after a thorough inspection I found the romance sub-plot to be free of misogyny and passivity, despite Laurel's tendency to melt into the arms of whichever boy she's with. (I'm actually rather jealous of all the melting she was able to do: she might be confused about which boy she wants, but she's getting her fair share of kisses along the way!

After reading Wings I can safely say that Miley Cyrus is NOT the right choice to play Laurel. That girl is going to bring a load of ham, corn and cheese to the adaptation. I'd much rather an unknown who can bring at least modicum of sensitivity to the role. I pictured Laurel to be more like the girl on the cover of Evermore/North of Beautiful. I'm not entirely sure that Wings will translate well to the big screen, either.

Book two in the series, Spells, will be released in 2010, and book three, Enchantments, will be out in (grumble) 2011. No cover yet for Spells as far as I can see, and no teasers either. Has anyone heard anything about it?

All in all, Wings is a pleasant read. It's whetted my appetite for the genre, too. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr and Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog.

*I'll reserve my full judgement until I've read further into the series, but I'm tending towards "Team Tamani". He's a seriously spunky faerie. Though hot-nerd David does have his attractions.

AGENT NEWS: Yesterday a partial manuscript request turned in a full manuscript request, which I'm very pleased about as it means my first fifty pages wasn't a complete turn-off! It also means there's going to be MORE waiting. Gah. For those of you who've just tuned in, I'm writing a YA fantasy trilogy. The first one, Lharmell, has been requested by five agents and been with them for the last four to six weeks, as either a partial or a full. I'm in an agony of anticipation!


  1. Awesome news on the manuscript request!!! Good luck with the writing and keep us posted!:)

  2. Wow, exciting manuscript news! I'm so happy for you. Let's hope things work out well... :)

  3. So exciting! Fingers crossed that it all turns out in good time. Liked your review of Wings, too!

  4. Great news about the book! You must be totally stoked!

    I pretty much agree with your assessment of Wings. I've seen such mixed reviews of the book, and although I really liked it I did find Laurel herself slightly bland at times - but for me, she came good in the end.

    The thought of Miley Cyrus playing her is nothing short of disturbing. Betcha she'll sing the theme tune too.

  5. Oh gawd, she will too. Heaven help us.

    Thanks for the crossed fingers! I have crossed everything...

  6. Yay, congrats on the manuscript news!

    And yay the second, for Wings! I'm so glad you liked it. Laurel is a bit fragile like the flower thingy on her back, but she isn't a passive ninny about everything, thank god. And I too like both of her love interests (though I'm on team David right now...nerdy friend for the win!).

    Miley Cyrus is absolutely NOT Laurel. No. NO. She's honky and abrasive and...just, no. Agreed!

  7. Honky and abrasive. Such an apt description.