It was by default that I chose to read Wondrous Strange as my book in the “Recent Award Winners” group. I guess I should explain the “default” bit…I think I read a review of it a(n almost) couple of years ago, saw it in a bookstore and picked it up. Then it stayed on my bookshelf until a couple of weeks ago. So, the default aspect isn’t because of anything negative about the book…rather, more a testament to my retail and reading habits (or lack thereof)…
Really, really, enjoyed it. And not just because the main character’s name is Kelley (although, she’s an “ey” and I’m just “y”). The whole idea of moving between the modern world and ancient Celtic-type worlds reminded me of a book I read in grade 8 by another Canadian author O.R. Melling called The Druid’s Tune. I think it was the first fantasy book I had ever read. I remember it being of particular interest to me with my Irish background (or so I thought, but more about that in minute) as the story took place in Ireland. I ended up learning a fair bit about Irish legends and folklore (or history, depending on your belief system, I suppose.)
(Oh-about the Irish background thing: I’ve since found out my roots are Scottish, and so now have taken particular interest in Robert the Bruce and his spider, William Wallace, and their ilk instead. However, must point out that I am still able to play the Celtic card.)
Actually, I picked up another O.R. Melling book just the other day at a used bookstore called Hunter’s Moon, but typical of my purchasing habits as already mentioned, I’ve yet to read it. Of course as I was thinking about this, I went to Melling’s website only to see that both of these books are now out of print. (Given that I lent my copy of The Druid’s Tune to a student–now former student from years ago–I think I’ll try getting in touch with her to get it back!)
If you’re interested here’s the link to the website http://www.ormelling.com/index.html
But back to Wondrous Strange…I’ve checked out author Lesley Livingston’s website and see there are two more books that have followed on what I can only assume is Kelley quest to claim her birthright (or Sonny). I’m curious how the book went over with ya readers: would the play within the play idea (or story within the story; that in itself very Shakespearean) help or hinder? Is Midsummer Night’s Dream still studied? I mean, it helps when you know the players and their points of reference, both as characters in the play as well as actors. There was one exchange betwee Kelley and (oh!-don’t-have-my-book-in-front of-me) but another character that goes along the lines of her being told to keep her eyes open for anyone strange or unusual. To which she replies that she works with actors: everyone is strange and unusual. Having been involved in the theatre programme at my university, I giggled a lot about that.
I thought the pacing was a little uneven in places, and sometimes I wasn’t buying Kelley’s responses or actions. And I have to admit, I was very confused about how Lucky got into the apartment. As a child I tried to bring my pony into the house: stairs can be a real challenge let alone a fire escape. But the action moved along at a good clip and I was pulled in. I left the book feeling I need to play my Celtic card again, and read up on Irish history.
Book 3: Tempestuous