I really want to like this book more than I do. Wings was not on my radar until a few months ago. Aprilynne Pike did a guest appearance on “Writing Excuses,” my favorite podcast, and I thought she seemed like a great person and I enjoyed listening to her. She explained that she taken the faerie myth and said if humans are the most advanced form of animals, then faeries are the most advanced form of plants. That made me have a “wuh?” moment when I first heard it, but the more I considered it, the more it intrigued me. And that was my favorite part of the book. The scientific moments were fun, interesting, and well-though out.
There’s a problem with the novel, though. In my mind, a pretty big one. Stop me when this starts to sound familiar, okay?
- Family, due to circumstances, has to leave their home and move to a different city.
- Laurel is not comfortable about this whole starting out at a new school thing.
- A boy stares at her (although this boy smiles) in science class.
- The setting is rural Northern California: lush, green, woodsy, rainy.
Oh, you’ve started to see the parallels, too, have you? Shall we top the cake? Smeyer wrote the cover blurb. This book can in no way deny the influence of Twilight, and I haven’t even read Smeyer’s books. But the set up, the progression of the plot, the love triangle between different species…it is really hard to deny. But I will say this: I tore through this book in two days. I’ve tried to start Twilight more than once and absolutely could not do it. So, what does this book have to offer?
Well, it’s an interesting look at faeries, and Laurel’s science geek best friend David is a good outlet for the discovery that Laurel is a highly advanced plant. He is a ridiculously understanding 16-year-old boy, though. I’d love to find one of those that was 26. This discovery period, exploring both Laurel’s physiological differences and her friendship with David, take up the first half of the book.
The second half of the book becomes about the fight for her family’s land, the faerie Tamani who guards her, the sickness of Laurel’s father, and the men who are trying to buy the land away from them. There was plenty to keep the story interesting, and it was interesting, but the resolution creates a terrible love triangle. You have David, the amazing perfect human, who is absolutely in love with her, and you have Tamani, the faerie who knows more about her than he’s telling and makes her feel things that David never could. It’s deliberately meant to segregate the readers, a growing trend in YA lit.
For the record, I’m Team David.
This book is written for lovesick teens. It had moments I found wonderfully fascinating, and very in depth for a debut novel. There were other moments that I was overwhelmed with mushiness. It was a page-turner, but not one I could truly recommend.
Also, Smeyer in her blurb says, “the ingenuity of the mythology is matched only by the startling loveliness with which the story unfolds.” When one of you figures out what the heck “startling loveliness” means, you let me know.