Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (Harper Teen)
Meet Kelley Winslow.
She's a 17-year old teen who moved to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. Cast as an understudy in a theatre production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the very idea of fairies is nothing but a passing flight of fancy to her.
Then she encounters Sonny Flannery.
No ordinary mortal, Sonny is a Janus guard and changeling. Gifted with fairy abilities, Sonny is duty bound to act as a guard over the Samhain Gate - a gate which is situated in the heart of Kelley's beloved Central Park and connects the mortal realm to the wild and dangerously enchanting Fairy world.
Kept shut by Auberon the winter king (anyone see the obvious reference there?), the gate opens once a year around Halloween for 9 nights - a particularly dangerous time for mortals due to the various creatures from the Otherworld desperately trying to claw their way through into the human world. It's up to Sonny and the rest of the guards to ensure that people aren't exposed to the creatures of this dangerous realm.
A chance encounter with the fairy changeling opens Kelley's eyes to not only the wondrously strange and dangerous world around her, but also to a lost heritage that she never ever could have imagined.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
It was a fun, light and quick read. I sped through it with such ease, I felt as if I were immersed in a world out of a half-remembered dream where images were constantly shifting, colliding and rearranging themselves.
The plot of this novel is certainly an interesting one and more often than not I found myself quite surprised at the bends and twists that the novel took. I loved the mythological references as well as the clever manner which Lesley uses to draw parallels between the play and the mythology.
The characters, although well-rounded, could have done with a little more in-depth development, but seeing as this is the first book in the trilogy, I'm guessing that we'll be seeing a lot more development in the next 2 books. All in all, Wondrous Strange is a beautifully written debut novel - a must for fairy lovers and by far better than the Wicked Lovely series.