Author: Aprilynne Pike
Pub Date: April 6, 2010
Format: Library book
Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.
Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.
In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.--Goodreads
Faeries have never been my thing. I honestly don't know that much about them or their lore, and, if I'm being completely honest, I probably wouldn't have ever picked this book up if it wasn't for the Goodreads book group I'm in. This was their pick as a group read for March, sooooo I read it.
So, okay. The basic plot here is that the main character, Laurel, has moved to a new town when her parents decide to open a book store. Then she discovers that she is a faery--this happens when Laurel all of a sudden sprouts petals, that look like wings, from her back. It's important to note that they are petals, because in this series, *SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT* faeries aren't genetically people--they are plants who look and act and feel like humans. Anyway, Laurel befriends a very sweet and scientifically-minded boy named David who thinks that she's the cat's pajamas, and she doesn't really know what she thinks about him, at least romantically speaking. All the while her parents are trying to sell their old house/land and are having difficulty getting a buyer. Then when they do get a buyer, Laurel has a weird, weird, super weird feeling about him, and turns out that--surprise!--the land she grew up on belongs to the faeries and she has to make sure it isn't sold to someone who is not a faery. Get it? Goooood.
I found the first half of the book achingly slow. It was all about Laurel adjusting to life in her new high school (she had been home schooled), and it was literally "Laurel sucks at biology," "Laurel has weird eating habits" [OMG major sidebar--Her eating habits are this: she eats raw fruits and veggies and drinks Sprite. No, the play on words is not lost on me here. Anyway, while reading all about her raw foods diet, I was scarfing down chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and enjoying every second of it. I did not once feel guilty.], "Laurel is really pretty," "Laurel is still getting used to this whole school thing," "David is paying Laurel attention and she's not sure why," for about half the book.
That would be a-okay with me if the main character was interesting. Laurel is definitely different, but there's just something so squeaky clean about her--there's no edge, and once you realize that she's a faery (which is never really a mystery) there's nothing all that mysterious about her.
Things finally started to heat up when Laurel meets another faery, Tamani (boy!), who is the first character in the book that isn't completely vanilla. Although I like David, and find him very sweet, he's boring. I assume that in the trilogoy, that's his role--he's the sweet, safe choice while Tamani will be the edgy, more seemingly-exciting choice.
Anyway, the book kept going, and I kept reading, and then finally there was some much-needed action thrown in about 3/4 of the way through.
But my favorite part was when Tamani briefly (so briefly!) explained the history of faeries to Laurel. This included Avalon (!!!), King Arthur (!!!!), Merlin(!!!!!), and King Oberon (!!). Like I said earlier, faeries aren't really my thing, so maybe this is typical in the faery-canon and is old hat for all you faery genre readers, but I TOTALLY DUG this part. I really wished that all of that had come earlier in the book. In fact, I wish the editors had cut out a lot of the adjusting to the new school, sucking at biology stuff, to insert more faery history stuff. But then again, I was a history major in undergrad, so maybe I'm biased. ;)
As the book started to wrap up, the last couple pages kind of force a love triangle--not that it wouldn't have come by itself--I'm sure that it would have. While reading there is definitely a discernible romantic tension between David-Laurel and a more sexual tension between Tamani-Laurel, but I figured the love triangle would come to fruition in the second book. Instead, it was thrown in at the end of the first book, and to me, felt very very awkward.
Overall, Wings was a quick, light read, and since finishing it, I've found myself wondering about where Pike took the story in the next book. I'm not necessarily in a rush to read the next one, but I'll definitely put it on my list of things to-read.
In the meantime--if you are a faery genre lover, I would love to have recommendations for some books! Leave 'em in comments s'il vous plait!