Paranormal Love Triangles

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

This young adult novel follows a pretty familiar pattern – young girl who’s always felt a little, well different, starts public school for the first time, immediately forms a special connection with a cute boy and then starts to experience from pretty weird stuff  that will throw her into an epic battle between good and evil. Guiding her along the way? A cute fairy boy who she has a strong connection with and he tells her the truth – she was never a human at all but a fairy all along.

There’s a lot of good stuff here. Certainly the fairy lore is at least as well researched as most of the vampire/werewolf/angel/demon kind of mythology that constantly leaks into this genre. The story is pretty neat too, playing off the idea of changelings, which of course is part of fairy lore, but set in modern times when Laurel has to worry about science and doctors revealing her secret which is pretty interesting. The world ending premise (that the bad guys will take control of Laurel’s human parent’s family land) is also pretty neat.

But the characters lack the depth to really make them get up off the page and relate to. They’re good, fine, flat but for me, not looking for someone I need to project into, it was just a little disappointing.

I would still recommend it to younger teens who were looking for something to follow up the other paranormal love triangle books.

Last movie I watched:

Infinity Wars! I just can’t form words

Last TV I watched:

The Crown. So good.

The surprising death that redeemed it all

The Key Guardians of Time by Marianne Curley

This book had a lot of the things that I didn’t like about the first two in it, but also something that the other two didn’t, which has gone a long way to improving my feelings about the series overall.

Like the first two books, the characterization was flat and the dialogue was simple. Every twist and turn, mostly motivated by love triangles rather then plot could be seen coming for miles, like a slow moving freight train, and in some cases, about as exciting.

The characters slowly paired off with their soul mates, we never heard anything else about some of the genuinely interesting, relatable stories like Ethan’s mom’s mental health or Isabel’s feelings of betrayal from her biological father and Matt’s development is about as complex as turning on a light. His struggles are so perfect and noble, his surprise parentage only adds to that and his love story is nothing if not cheesy.

But the redeeming factor is Rochelle. She’s not as developed as she deserves to be, but really, she’s the best narrator the series ever provided. Her back story, of watching her father beat her mother to death in a drunk rage, the marks the trauma left on her, the feelings of worthlessness that drove her to join the Big Bad, her feelings of isolation from her peers, her feelings for Ethan, her struggles with her new powers and ultimately her reluctant sacrifice to save her friends and the world are all really interesting and complex.

It’s kinda a shame the book isn’t entirely about her.

The beautifully moving ending really makes up for the lack of good storytelling.

And of course, it is a kid’s series. I’m a snob who wants good writing, good characters and good plots but lots of people, including kids, including me from time to time, enjoy something that’s not exactly of the highest literary merit. And I think that’s okay.

Last movie I watched:

Justice League Gods and Monsters. Don’t judge me! It was pretty good, although I prefer Bruce Wayne universes

Last TV show I watched:

Random Dark Angel. That was a good show guys. Why do all the good shows get canceled?

Time travel doesn’t make any sense. But it’s fun. So fun.

The Named by Marianne Curley

The copy of this book that I read is a prime example of why you should always put a blurb at the back cover, because I read the prologue and was terrified, thinking I’d accidentally picked up a horror novel, despite it coming to me very highly recommended.

But no, the first chapter was a description of the brutal murder of a little girl, witnessed only by her four year old brother and then after that it totally shifted into a much less frightening story. It’s the story of two teenagers, Ethan and Isabelle, and the story is told through alternating first person perspectives. After the death of his big sister Ethan was found by the Guardians of Time, a secret, magical order that sends agents back in time to ensure that history unfolds the way it’s meant to, as an evil Order lead by the Goddess of Chaos tries to gain power by interfering with the past. Now a teenager, he is given his next mission: to train a new member of the Guard. Isabelle is Ethan’s former best friend’s younger sister, and has had a crush on Ethan since she was a little girl. Together they end up with the future resting on their shoulders, as they begin to understand the Prophecy that they are each a part of.

While this book wasn’t the most subtle in it’s writing style or narrative, it was a really fun, face paced story. It’s one of those books that I’m surprised hasn’t done better then it seems to have. It has most of the classic and key elements on children’s novels including but not limited to: tragic past, mysterious love-ish interest, soul mates, cool superpowers, secret back story, shocking reveals about family members, sword fights, training montage, epic solo quests, somewhat questionable and suitably removed authority figures and a really, really intense final battle. Really, the only thing that real sets it apart from similar stories is the writing style and a general lack of humour. It’s a bit of a shame because the time travel is really interesting.

Just an observation but there is no way for fiction to make sense if there’s time travel in it. Writing time travel is demanding complete suspension of disbelief and trust in the illogical without question. Reading it is the biggest leap of faith. Presumably that’s why we all love it so much. Other than physicists who get hung up on the details of how it makes no sense.

In this book we see Ethan struggling with his nonfunctional parents. His father has withdrawn since the death of his child and his mother struggles with clinical depression. Isabelle’s drunk and abusive father left her when she was four and she’s still struggling with that. Rochelle’s father beat her mother to death. While that’s maybe a little much for one novel, I think it’s a pretty good thing to talk about consequences of abusive, absent or unwell parents again to give kids who have these experiences. Not only is it important to see yourself reflected in this stories, but these characters are heroes, so much more than the sum of their parents’ struggles and that’s really what matters about them.

There’s two more in this set, I’m looking forward to getting to them soon, and would totally encourage anyone interested to pick these books up and see what you think!

Last movie I watched:

Still Georgia’s Rules. Speaking of shitty parents and child abuse….

Last TV episode I watched:

Once Upon a Time. Oh god Henry!!! Actually, there’s another one with difficult parents.