Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cruisin' Through a Series: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

In lieu of a book recap, today my post is another“cruising through a series” nod. This feature speaks to a series that has been consumed in one gulp (but while avoiding any mental images of a boa constrictor). Today a special shout to an only-somewhat-satisfying series,The Wondrous Strange Trilogy by Lesley Livingston: Wondrous Strange, Darklight,and Tempestuous.

Here is the deal, in brief: 17-year-old actress Kelley Winslow has moved to NYC to act on Broadway in a Shakespearean company and in the process finds out that faeries (oh no, warning, “ae” spelling ahead )are real and the gate between the faerie Otherworld and everyday 21stcentury is...Central Park! The Janus guards, including Sonny Flannery, the love interest here, are having problems with bad guys slipping through the gate and there is lots of faerie-court intrigue for the three books. People sprout magical powers,wings, and almost everyone is related to everyone else or has been in love with them (Spoiler--even the young couple-the person who raised Kelley as her “aunt” is really Sonny’s mom from 19th century Ireland…I find this creepyish). These books are fine but having just read the perfectness that is the Theatre Illuminati series by Lisa Mantchev, the Shakespeare references fell flat for me. AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED on instalove here. I mean, a boy who stalks you is NOT A POTENTIAL LOVE INTEREST. Period. That’s how Law and Order SUV episodes start.

But a window into the ridiculousness that kept me coming back. Darklight opens with a 1903 murder of a man who is in fact the Green Man, an ancient Irish Faerie who built the gates between the two worlds…who in this telling is Andrew Haswell Green, an early city planner and one of the leading figures behind Central Park. GASP! Get out of here! GASP! This is a rough summary of my reaction.

Now you may or may not know that in November I dragged fellow Whiskey Sourer Goosie Mama to a public lecture on Andy Green IN Central Park BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN RESEARCHING HIM FOR MY DISSERTATION. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw this creative license. I wanted to share, but that would mean admitting to myadvisor what I had been reading. We can all use our imaginations about that awkwardness. Luckily, Goosie Mama could share in the utter shock/horror/bellylaugh/eye roll of this retelling of Central Park.

The moral of this “Cruising Through a Series:” if one day you find yourself in real need, maybe you will read this. But be warned. And apparently stay out of Central Park (I don’t have time to get into the evil leprechauns who look like druggies, but seriously….)

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