Actress, Kelley Winslow moved to New York City all on her own to pursue her dreams. She had a bit of a rough time at stage school and isn't doing much better out in the real world but she's managed to get a job as the understudy for the main female role in A Midsummer Night's Dream. That generally means that she is a stagehand. On the day that the book starts, the main actress has an accident and Kelley has to step up to really be in the play. The only problem is, she isn't very good once she gets on stage. Feeling a bit blue after her first rehearsal, she heads off to Central Park where Sonny hears her rehearsing her lines. Instantly taken by the words she speaks, he's drawn to her. Seeing the sad look on her face, he gives her a flower to try to cheer her up and then disappears.
As it got late in the park, Kelley hears a scream near the lake. She runs off towards the noise and sees a horse in the water, drowning. Not caring about the cold, she dives in and after a lot of struggling, she manages to pull it to safety and after blacking out, heads home. When she gets there though, she finds that she has an unexpected house guest. The horse has somehow followed her home and got comfortable in the bath tub, which freaks out both her and roommate, Tyff.
Sonny isn't exactly human. He is a guard of the gates in Central Park that lead to another world. The faerie world. Every 9 years, the gates begin to open and faerie from the other world begin to come through and it is Sonny's job, along with 12 other guards, to stop anyone coming through. Ever since he saw Kelley, he can't get her out of his head and when the Faerie King pays him a visit, he finds out a huge secret. Something that could ruin him, Kelley and both worlds.
What I thought
The story is written in the third person which was a nice change as most of the books I've read recently have been in the first person. I prefer reading books written this way because it makes it possible to know what is happening from all sides, without having different chapters dedicated to one character. Although the story does flit from Kelley and Sonny, it is blended together really well so that their stories eventually come together as one.
Livingston is very descriptive when it comes to the range of different characters and faerie folk that are involved in this story. Other books in this genre that I have read have generally one really had one baddie but this one had a lot. There are different sides and allegiances in the faerie realm and Livingston made a point of involving these to make the story more interesting and exciting. Sonny explains that different creatures do different things and that they have different purposes and I really liked this aspect of the book. It made it much easier to connect with the different worlds and why certain things happen, making me feel like I was really there.
No time is wasted in getting to the action as quite early on, Kelley saves the horse from the water, although it turns out that it isn't actually a horse. This part of the story was really funny and it made me laugh out loud. Both Kelley and Tyff are totally freaked out by what is going on and have no idea what to do about it, considering that the horse isn't moving an inch. There are quite a few fight scenes throughout, caused mainly by the nature of Sonny's job. He has to protect the human world from the faeries, which results in killing a lot of them, no matter what kind they are.
This book had everything that I could have wished for; exceptionally written characters, an interesting plot and it was written wonderfully. Everything about the way the story is written is magical and captivating that you just cannot help wanting to know more. I thought that the use of Shakespeare and A Midsummer Night's dream fit perfectly, considering that the characters from the play had been intertwined with the actual story. There were quite a few things that I really didn't see coming in Wondrous Strange but I don't want to mention what they were because it will only make you look out for them as you read the book. After looking up the next book in the trilogy, Darklight, I found that Kelley will be in the play Romeo and Juliet so I think that this will be a running theme throughout the trilogy which I am really excited about.
Kelley was one of the best protagonists that I had read about for quite a while. She is the complete opposite of everything that I normally read in a heroine and why I normally hate them. Kelley is written very much like a normal teenager, freaking out about normal things that any other girl would. The fact that she doesn't immediately bow down to Sonny was fantastic. Kelley isn't afraid to say how she feels, even if that means laughing in Sonny's face and telling him to leave her alone. She doesn't believe Sonny when he tells her about faeries and pretty much thinks that he is a crazy stalker. What I loved most about her was that fact that she wasn't perfect or absolutely stunning. Kelley has flaws like everyone else and this made her really easy to relate to.
Sonny was a really interesting hero. He isn't exactly human and he isn't exactly faerie. From the minute he sees Kelley, he knows that there is something special about her. He becomes very protective of Kelley and it seems that he will go to any length to keep her safe, even if that means ruining his own life. He doesn't think that he is able to love but it all comes too easily to him when it comes to Kelley. Sonny is a protector of Earth, stopping anything from the other world coming in and although it doesn't seem like he is the best fighter at times, you can see how hard he tries because he doesn't want to let anyone down.
I can't believe that I didn't want to read this book to begin with. I loved every word of it and the only thing that makes it better is the fact that it will be a part of a trilogy and I will get to follow Kelley and Sonny in their journey. I can only hope that some of my favourite minor characters will come back as well. If you haven't read anything like this before, especially a faerie story, then this is the one to begin with. It will definitely get you hooked.