Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
3-Sentence Summary: Wannabe teen actress gets role in Midsummer Night's Dream and meets hot faerie dude. Girl finds out she's not all what she seems. Throw in family/romance angst and some saving the world from Faerie and Human world collision into the mix of our run in the mill YA Faerie story.
This book makes it on the list of one of the many books I read for All the Wrong Reasons: Minor Character Edition. That’s right, I plowed through this thing even though I didn’t care for the heroine or the romantic lead, and the romance that made me gag inside. (Can I rant about the whole “his Firecracker” thing? I don’t find that possessive colouring sweet, just… creepy. I don’t even like it when the male leads refer to the girl as “His girl” It makes me want to go, NO, SHE IS HER OWN PERSON, OKAY?! NOT YOURS.) BUT THEN A KELPIE CAME ALONG, AND HE STAYED IN THEIR BATHROOM AND WAS CALLED LUCKY. I was amused. And then the book told me Lucky the Kelpie may turn into Death Horse, and the whole irony of being called Lucky had me cackling and flipping through the pages despite my better judgment. Also Tyff was the best roommate ever. I wish this whole story was from her POV instead. Anyhow, basically what I got out of this is that I really have to stop picking up books because of pretty covers (I love this cover, why oh why did the story within didn’t match up? *sobs*) and crossed off this whole trilogy thinger off my to-read list. As further evidence of my masochistic streak, I actually already heard horrific things about the sequel having a Love Triangle of Doom, and then I skimmed the sequel anyways and it got into this whole Indian mortal child being kidnapped by the faerie queen for his ~*exotic*~ looks AND THEN I was like, fuck this noise. ARGH MUST BLEACH BRAIN. (Needless to say, I didn't finish the sequel) Also if I never read another fairy story that borrows heavily from A Midsummer Night’s Dream ever again, it’d be too damn soon.
Spells by Aprilynne Pike
3SS: Laurel goes to Faerie school! In which we have tourism in faerieland shenanigans for the first (awesome) half and then the second half stops going to awesome school and indulges us all with WHO WILL SHE CHOOSE love triangle drama. Just typical.
I have NO IDEA why I read the sequel when I found the first book so painful. I mean, while I adored the idea of plant fairies and whatnot, the love triangle made me want to die inside and the story formula was just too generic and typical Changeling story (Girl finds out she is fairy and then something comes after her and she has tragic love triangle between a Fairy boy and Mortal boy WHATEVER SHALL WE DO?! Cry me a river.) that I have no patience for this days. Okay, I lie, I do in fact know why I read this. It’s because I found out that the heroine ends up going into fairy school and I was like OMG HARRY POTTER THE FAIRY VERSION?! I am such a sucker for magical boarding schools like you would not believe, people. And I did in fact enjoy it more than the first book. While there was not enough of the fairy school to keep me happy, I really, really enjoyed getting to know more of the fairy world. It’s evident that Pike did some amazing worldbuilding work with this series. It was interesting how we got to know the world too, with the heroine being the tourist and Tamami showing the world. It worked well for me, this way of showing a fantasy world. It’s too bad that Pike simply insists on having the Love Triangle dominate the whole storyline. Watching this whole David/Laurel/Tamami drama drove me quite mad, and made me want to shake all of them. It also made me want to quote Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon’s Covenant at them. (“It’s not some kind of tragically stupid love triangle. I’m not going to choose one guy out of two and settle down. It doesn’t have to be either of them for me, or have to be me for either of them. The world’s full of people, if you haven’t noticed.” Pg. 86)
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
3SS: Meaghan's bro gets kidnapped by fairies and she goes off to save him. In her saving journey readers subject themselves to a long middle of love triangle romance with creepy killer stalker and jokester best friend in which the girl typically prefers the jerk against all reason. Saving happens at end, but we have crack to entertain us along the way in the form of a cat called Grimalkin, etc.
In short, I’ve been disappointed by these faerie stories I’ve been reading lately. I know this entry makes me look like a hater, but I honestly once really enjoyed all these faerie stories, and was extremely partial to those changeling ones. I've been (masochistically?) checking out every YA faerie/fey/fairy/faery/whatever I can find in my library in hopes I'll come across one that I like, and I just read one this morning that I really enjoyed, so I'll hopefully have a happy YA faery book review for y'all soon. IN THE MEANTIME if anyone wants to rec me a YA faerie story with no love triangles of stupid, and no Midsummer Night's Dream references, that'd be awesome. For more specific references, I'd gobble up anything if there's an all-exclusive fairy school YA book out there (BOARDING SCHOOL SETTING IS PREFERABLY, BONUS IF IT'S ALL-FEMALES SCHOOL WITH RIVALRY NEXT TO A ALL-MALES BOARDING SCHOOL 8D) or a kelpie story wherein said kelpie lives in your bathtub. (Also, when I say fey books, I mean like, not fairy tale adaptations. Just straight-up fairy stories, please and thank you.) So yeah, recs will be great.
* I was reading this and it struck me that I probably came across as offensive and drowning in ablist privilege. I do not deny that I have ablist privilege and wrote thoughtlessly without considering the impact my use of these words may have, but I apologize to anyone and everyone for my language, and especially to those who may have been hurt by what I have said, and I shall try to do better at unpacking the implications of privilege I have, etc. Once again, I am very sorry.