Friday, August 14, 2009

Review: Wings by ED Baker

Two weeks ago, after reading Wondrous Strange, I was wondering where I could find a fairy story featuring the fairy queen Titania. A little Googling led me to ED Baker's Wings, which doesn't quite fulfill my request for a story featuring Titania in a starring role, but is a nice enough fairy story.

Tamisin has always felt a little out of place - a feeling compounded by a number of strange experiences throughout her life. Dancing with fireflies in the light of the full moon, sparkly freckles, and seeing threatening half human/half animal creatures while trick-or-treating. Oh, and just when she's attracted the attention of the cute - and mysterious - new boy, Jak, Tamisin discovers a pair of wings sprouting from her shoulder blades.

This is when her parents choose to tell her that she was adopted.

Tamisin's special abilities have attracted attention back in the world of the fey. In fact, Jak has been sent by his goblin uncle to take Tamisin back to the land of the fey. What follows is an adventure through a magical land, where danger lurks behind every tree for the young duo.

Titania shows up for a few brief cameos as Tamisin's birth mother - her father was Bottom from A Midsummer Night's Dream. She's not quite the awesome character I was hoping to show up, but it briefly satisfied my Titania craving (if you know of any other books featuring Titania, send them my way!).

This book is definitely aimed at a younger audience than I'm used to reading for - Tamisin and Jak as freshmen in high school both come across as downright naive compared to the surly and cynical 16-17-18 year olds I usually find myself reading about. It was kind of refreshing, actually.

What wasn't refreshing was the often-stilted writing style and disappearing plot points. The first half of the book is from Tamisin's perspective before we're abruptly put in Jak's perspective and proceed to learn his backstory all in one chunk and re-live scenes we'd seen from Tamisin's perspective almost verbatim.

The most irritating disappearing plot point were the wings of the title - they appear one night, and then we never hear of them again until Tamisin needs them. She has giant wings sprouting from her back, yet she can go to a Halloween party dressed as a cat and no one sees the wings? It seems like a real missed opportunity to add some levity or stress to the story - either it's funny the extremes she goes to in order to hide the wings, or she stresses out over how to keep them hidden. Or heck, she could have dressed as a fairy for Halloween and instantly been declared to have the best costume ever, thanks to authentic wings.
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