Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange Series #1)
  • Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange Series #1)
  • Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange Series #1)

Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange Series #1)

4.1 250
by Lesley Livingston

View All Available Formats & Editions

Since the dawn of time, the Faerie have taken. . . .

For seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery, whose steel-gray eyes mask an equally steely determination to protect her.

Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal

…  See more details below


Since the dawn of time, the Faerie have taken. . . .

For seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery, whose steel-gray eyes mask an equally steely determination to protect her.

Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal realm with the Faerie's enchanted, dangerous Otherworld. Usually kept shut by order of icy King Auberon, the Gate stands open but once a year.

This year, as the time approaches when the Samhain Gate will swing wide and nightmarish Fae will fight their way into an unsuspecting human world, something different is happening . . . something wondrous and strange. And Kelley's eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her but to the heritage that awaits her.

Now Kelley must navigate deadly Faerie treachery—and her growing feelings for Sonny—in this dazzling page-turner filled with luminous romance.

Wondrous Strange is a richly layered tale of love between faerie and mortal, betrayal between kings and queens, and magic . . . between author and reader.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
“Kelley is appealingly feisty and stubborn, and her romance with Sonny develops quickly but believably. ... With an ending that promises a sequel, this book will capture readers eager for romance, magic, and suspense.”
The Horn Book
“Plentiful action, a complex, slow-to-unravel setup, and humorous plot strands (such as the fairy horse that follows Kelley home to live in her bathroom) ensure that the pages keep turning in this clever debut.”
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Oh, bestselling Twilight, thou hast a strong contender...this book has it all.”
Publishers Weekly

It's not just the jacket that's strikingly similar to Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely: debut novelist Livingston, too, delivers a lost-now-found faerie princess; a dark, brooding changeling love interest; faerie royalty and warring faerie courts (summer and winter), with accompanying threats to the human world. As a read-alike, this book inescapably invites comparison, and fans of Marr (or Holly Black) may be disappointed. The author offers a promising variation: she uses Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as a window onto the faerie world (17-year-old heroine Kelley Winston, an aspiring actress, steps from understudy into the role of Titania). But the Shakespeare device will also be familiar to many YA readers, and it embellishes rather than advances the plot. The shining performance belongs to Sonny Flannery-neither human nor faerie, he is a member of the changeling guard that watches the gates between the human and the fey realms. Sonny is detailed to the gate in Manhattan's Central Park, where he and Kelley meet. Readers may want less Kelley, who comes across as naïve, and more Sonny, finding in him a worthy hero and romantic interest. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

Gr 7-10

When Kelley moves to New York to pursue her dreams of theatrical success, she expects that her only encounters with mythical beings will be confined to the stage, in the Avalon Grande Theatre's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream . All of that changes when she meets Sonny Flannery, who introduces Kelley to a world she never knew existed. A member of Auberon's Janus Guard, he patrols the portal (in Central Park) between the human and faerie worlds on the few dangerous nights when it opens and members of the Unseelie Court can pass into the mortal realm. He is strangely drawn to Kelley, and as he gets to know her, he begins to suspect that there is more to her history than either of them know. Through encounters with sirens, hellhounds, and kelpies, Kelley and Sonny are drawn irrevocably into a battle among the Fey. Despite the budding attraction between them, forces they can hardly understand seek to keep them apart. Set against the backdrop of present-day New York City, this enchanting first novel weaves together the worlds of theater and magic in a way that is sure to please fans of both. Readers will revel in the hints of Shakespeare within the text as they are introduced to faerie creatures both familiar and "wondrous strange."-Misti Tidman, Boyd County Public Library, Ashland, KY

Kirkus Reviews
An overwrought, overwritten first-novel fantasy. Seventeen-year-old Kelley has moved to New York City and gotten a theatrical job with the Avalon Grande. While she is only understudy and gofer for A Midsummer Night's Dream, it takes just a few pages before the actress playing Titania breaks her ankle so Kelley can step in. There's more magic afoot. Central Park is the place where the land of the Fae and our world intersect, guarded by the changeling Sonny, adopted son of King Auberon. It turns out the Puck in Kelley's production is the original Robin Goodfellow of Shakespeare's time, Sonny is not only smitten by Kelley but key in saving this world from being overrun by Faerie and Kelley's own gifts are not just mortal. Livingston never uses one cliched adjective when three will do, and never quite captures NYC in this world or in the Other. Lots of telling rather than showing, lots of Shakespeare quotes and pop-culture references, but even the Central Park carousel exploding into the Wild Hunt can't save this one. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
Globe & Mail (Toronto)
"Oh, bestselling Twilight, thou hast a strong contender...this book has it all."

Read More

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Wondrous Strange Series, #1
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Wondrous Strange

By Lesley Livingston
Copyright © 2008

Lesley Livingston
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-157537-2

Chapter One What do you mean, 'promoted'?" Kelley Winslow felt her pulse quicken.

It was the fifth week of rehearsals for the Avalon Grande's production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Never mind that the Avalon Players-a third-tier repertory company so far off Broadway it might as well have been in Hoboken-had only hired Kelley as an understudy, which really meant glorified stagehand. It was her first real job as an actress after a disastrous stint in theater school, and, at only seventeen, Kelley had been grateful for the résumé builder. But today, three steps into the theater, Mindi the stage manager had waylaid her.

Kelley was carrying a box of props she'd gone to fetch from the company van parked outside, and she had a pair of fairy wings strapped to her shoulders-the only way she could carry them without crushing the wire frames. "Mindi?" she asked again. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, don't bother taking off the wings, kid." Mindi took the box of props from her hands. "Our darling Diva deWinter just busted her ankle. She is out of commission, and that means you, little understudy, will be stepping into the lead role of Titania, the fairy queen, for the run of this show."

Kelley was speechless. She'd dreamed of this-although however many times she'd sat through rehearsals, watching Barbara deWinter overact and undercharm her way through her scenes, she'd never wished anything bad upon her. But Kelley guiltily felt a rising sense of glee. This is it. This is my big break!

"Hey!" Mindi gave her a friendly shove. "Enough day-dreaming. We open in ten days and Quentin is-well, to put it mildly, our esteemed director is now freaking out. So I suggest you go slip into a rehearsal skirt and haul your understudy butt onstage so that the Mighty Q can run you through your scenes. Good luck."

My scenes. My scenes ...

Thoughts in a whirl, Kelley almost ran down the actor playing Puck as he swung himself gracefully off the set scaffolding, singing "Am I blue?" Funny, because he was actually green, a pale iridescent shade head to toe-hair, skin, eyes-right down to his leafy tunic. Kelley had been told by one of the other actors that his name was Bob but that he was something of an extreme Method actor and had demanded he be referred to only by his character name while in costume and makeup-on threat of quitting the production otherwise.

Lunatic actors.

Between him and the equally demanding and very English director Quentin St. John Smyth, Kelley was beginning to think she'd fallen in with a real asylumful at the Avalon Grande. She threw open the doors to the wardrobe storage and fumbled with the rack of rehearsal skirts, slipping one over her jeans and buttoning it as best she could with trembling fingers. "'Fairies, skip hence,'" she muttered aloud. "No-

that's wrong...."

Oh, God-what's my first line? Kelley thought frantically.

"'These are the forgeries of jealousy.' Aw, crap!" She was blanking. "That's not even the right speech!" Her heart pounded in her chest, and she leaned her head on the door frame.

This is what you've wanted your whole life, she told herself sternly. All those years of putting on one-woman shows for the household pets, and all the months of begging Aunt Emma to let her move to Manhattan to try to make a go of it. This is it. Get out there and show them what you've got!

Feeling marginally more confident, Kelley took a deep breath and dashed down the hallway and through the backstage area-at the exact moment that "Puck" launched a handful of glitter into the air. Kelley gasped, startled, as the cloud of sparkles settled on her hair, face, and shoulders.

"Oh-thanks a lot, Bob," Kelley muttered, brushing at the shimmering dust as the eccentric actor laughed wickedly and darted toward the stage-left wings. It was futile-she was coated in glitter. "That's just super. I look like a disco ball." At least it matched her vintage My Little Pony Princess glitter T-shirt.

"Is she coming sometime today?" Kelley heard Quentin's irate tones echo through the theater and felt her nervousness come flooding back as she picked up her skirt and ran toward the stage.

Once there, Kelley discovered that under the lights the fairy dust was shiny to the point of blinding. Distracted, she found herself tripping over both the hem of her skirt and her lines. Her heart began to flutter in her chest as she heard the exaggerated groans and sighs of frustration coming from the darkened rows of seats, where the director sat watching her stumble around like an idiot.

After forty-five minutes they'd progressed only a little over a page into Titania's first appearance. Kelley had already managed to butcher half her lines, trip over a bench, and step on Oberon's foot. When she almost toppled off the stage and into the orchestra pit, Quentin called a merciful halt to the proceedings.

"Kelley. Your name is Kelley, isn't it?" He didn't wait for her confirmation. "Yes. Well. Tell me ... that bit just now ... was that from Dante's Inferno?"

"Uh ... no," Kelley stammered. Her face felt hot.


I'm in for it.

"Are you sure?" he continued. "Because it most certainly wasn't from this play. And it bloody well sounded like hell."


"You know ... as-well, let's face it, shall we?-as completely incompetent as our former diva may have been in this part"-Quentin sauntered up onto the stage, where he circled Kelley like a shark-"she did still have one tiny advantage over you, luv."

"She ... she did?"

"Of course she did. She knew the bloody lines!"

The entire cast took a step back to avoid the leading edge of Quentin's immediate blast radius.


Excerpted from Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston Copyright © 2008 by Lesley Livingston . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 251 reviews.
JBL More than 1 year ago
It would be helpful if the celebrated Publisher's Weekly could actually get the details of the book correct before posting a review. Kelley's last name is "Winslow" not "Winston." Not to mention "naive" Kelley is one of the strongest main female characters to grace a book of this type in a long time. Instead of waiting around to be rescued by a contrived male "hero", she takes her destiny into her own hands and does her best to protect herself. Shakespeare himself seems to be sitting on the sidelines advancing the plot not "embellishing" it, and would be tickled by the effortless dialogue.

The errors in the review make one wonder if they got anything right.

A magical compelling read. Not to be missed.
TheTexanBella More than 1 year ago
When i got this book for christmas, i was like 'eh, i guess i will try it even though i'm more of a vampire lover than a faerie lover'. When i started this book i couldn't put it down! I read this book all in one day, its that good! This book is so cute and sweet but at the same time action is involved. It's about this girl named Kelley and how she finds out that she is a faerie. And she finds this out from a Janus guard, Sonny that later falls in love with Kelley. This book is about them (Janus Guards) trying to stop the Wild Hunt and later finds out that Kelley is alot more important than what she makes out to be and needs to protect her as well. This book is extremely cute and anyone will love this book extremely if you loved the Wicked Lovely series, Tithe Series, and Twilight Saga. Trust me you will love this book!!!!!
Sydd More than 1 year ago
If I had picked up Wondrous Strange a few months earlier, I may have enjoyed it a little more. Unfortunately, I read the Wicked Lovely and City of Bones series before this. It is impossible not to compare the books together because of all the similarities. My verdict is that there are some really funny, smart, and romantic parts in Wondrous Strange, but if you plan on reading it, read it first.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
I loved it, I LOVED it. I love it so much I want to marry it. If you are a fan of faerie books, you'll want to read this one. If you've tried faerie books before, but didn't like them, you'll want to read this. If you aren't a fan of faerie books, you'll still want to read it. It's that good.

Incredible characters, incredible writing, incredible plot. It was really just so fantastic, it's hard to find the words to describe it. I never in a million years would have guessed this was a debut novel. The key to my heart is great characters and storyline, and this book had it all and then some. Even the minor characters stood out to me, and they were fascinating. Like Chloe - she is a siren, has a very minor role, and yet she is very memorable. As well as a few other characters..... but I don't want to give all the goods away.

Completely original plot! I figured a few things out, but other things I was oblivious to until they were revealed. I've read other faerie books about the faerie "royalty" - if you've read Melissa Marr you know what I'm talking about here. Not that I'd even compare this book to Marr's because they are at totally two different ends of the spectrum. And I don't mean that in the quality of writing, because they are both fabulous writers. Did I just write fabulous...don't you just love the plethora of "f" adj.!? Do you think I'm subconsciously doing it because of the whole faerie thing... freaking fantastic fascinating fabulous faeries! I promise I did NOT do that on purpose!

Great writers write what they know.... what movie is that from? Never Been Kissed! I think that statement definitely has some truth to it. Kelley is an actress (a struggling actress to be more specific). The theater scenes within the novel were marvelous (notice no `f' here!) so I wasn't surprised to learn that the lovely Lesley Livingston herself is at home on the stage. I wonder if she knows any faeries personally?

I think the thing I loved most about WONDROUS STRANGE was Kelley. She is an exceptional female protagonist. I was instantly drawn to her character. She's honest, she imperfect, and she doesn't pull the Bella card. When a cute guy tells her that faeries are real, she reacts like a normal person and laughs in his face. LOVED IT.

And I must mention Sonny. Ah... Sonny.. Mom, can I have one? Yeah, that's really all I'm going to say about him, because if I tell you, they you're going to want him, too, and you can't have him because he's mine. No really, I'm not going to tell you how incredibly cute he is, and how he kicks major faerie butt, because he's all about protecting the mortal world from the mean faeries.. And yet, he can still rescue the damsel in distress even if she is mean to him and laughs in his face.

I simply cannot say enough good things about this novel. I highly recommend you grab a copy of this book. It would make an awesome Christmas present! And I'm even more thrilled to mention that this novel is the beginning of a trilogy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though I thought that it was an okay plot and there was okay characters, somehow it didn't leave me very satisfied, I feel it's lacking something, though I don't know what, and it's is a bit dull in some parts but in others it's pretty amazing. I really also must have missed the part where they fell in love, there wasn't a moment where it became blatantly obvious or a really prominent event to justify their love. I liked the plot, as I said, it had fairytale elements that I found just childish and whimsical enough to be loveable. The book moved too slow in some parts while in others it left me questioning how the characters got from point a to b, and the motive. Also, the ending is too abrupt, I felt it needed more of a lead up. There really is no real mysterious element like the writer tried for, because the plot is pretty predictable, though that can be seen as a good thing: either the writer incorporated enough detail that it was easy to solve or the punch line was ruined because we already knew the joke. But otherwise cute story. I definitely recommend to the board readers, like me, looking for the next best thing post-twilight, but not to occasional readers looking to pass the time with a revolutionary book that will move you from the brink of merely interested in reading to addiction. (sorry for the rambling)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like so many YA novels these days, this book's setup and plot idea was great, but once we get one hundred pages in, everything goes awry. The main character, Kelley Winslow, had a lot of personality, and was very strong-headed, something not seen in many YA female protagonists these days. She doesn't fall to the feet of the first guy to notice her, and she's trying to make her own living. Yet, once we get into the story of Kelley and Sonny, it felt like everything started moving at fast-forward speed. The author was trying to squeeze a love story into a nine-day period, which honestly is not possible or believable. The characters go from "Get Away From Me, Stalker," to "I Love You So Much I'll Die For You," in two chapters, giving it a rushed and sloppy feel. It would have been much better if Kelley and Sonny's relationship grew slowly, maybe moving to love in the second book (If I'm correct this is part of a series.) instead of jumping around so quickly. For some reason YA authors today seem to have the notion that all of their stories need love and sex in the first twenty chapters or their readers will toss the book away. Maybe that's true for some teens, but it's the writers who set the standards.
Ree_Anderson More than 1 year ago
While I did enjoy the story, there were parts of it that I felt were rushed, and/or needed a bit more development. I liked that Kelley was not immediately accepting of her new big life change, but I felt like after she accepted her fate, things began to move at a pace that was just too fast. Some of the dialogue between characters (Kelley and her Aunt) is simply unbelievable and obviously contrived, and the relationship between Kelley and Sonny seemed a trifle forced. The perspective shifts some between Kelley and Sonny, but is done well enough that it isn't obnoxious at all. The ending was decent, though the major action literally took up around a page and I feel leaves the reader going "What? That's it?". That said, though, the story was entirely easy to read and easy to like. I'll be reading the sequel, Darklight, for sure.
Twilighter3256 More than 1 year ago
I found the book to be Strangley Wondrous! It had a very good and creative plot!! It was very differnt from what i'm used to reading but it was still a great read! I enjoyed it and recommend it to everyone who loves reading about faeries!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story line has a lot of potential. Bravo!
OkapiMA More than 1 year ago
Not the most "exciting" book but defiantly enticing. I liked it...I hear the next 2 are even better so I'm defiantly going to finish the series. Kelly & Sonny have me wondering what makes them so special/interesting. What does fate have in store for them? Since there is no such thin as coincidence as Sonny pointed out.
pixiexo More than 1 year ago
Wondrous Strange is different from a lot of the other faerie books I've read, and at the same time very similar. The minute I started reading Wondrous Strange I didn't put it down until I was finished. It was very entertaining. I highly recommend it to any faerie/fantasy lovers!
bobbles918 More than 1 year ago
I like when an author tells a story from 2 POV but not when it is changed every chapter-and that is my major issue with this one. Otherwise it is a good entertaining book. I can't wait to read the next one but in no rush- I also like when an author makes a romance bud rather than just say-ok they are in love now-and you get to see them kind of fall for each other.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There were perhaps two places in the book that interested me, two scenes that I found pleasing. But as I read, there wasn't anything different - nothing that popped out. I've seen most of the elements in this plot in other YA books. There was a girl living in the big city, struggling to make her way. Enter a strange, beautiful boy, and so on and so forth. The main character got annoying, and my biggest pet peeve: The boy and girl somehow fell in love without spending any real time together or talking. I don't want to spoil the story for those of you who are going to read this, so I'll just say this: Cliche. I wouldn't recommend this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I expected Wondrous Strange to be another typical, predicable teen romance. However, I was pleasantly surprised that there was actual content and a story line behind the romance. I enjoyed the story itself, but I found certain parts predictable and cheesy, as well as a couple of plot holes and inconsistencies.
Nan_W More than 1 year ago
I did like this book quite a bit. It does contain some original ideas and a solid basis in Celtic legend. That said, I had one major complaint that made this less than a four star novel; it didn't have enough whining. That's an odd complaint, I know, but when Faerie intrudes on your life unexpectedly, as a reader, I would assume that the characters would resist the new reality a bit. But that's not what happens here. Perhaps because this is such a slim novel, and it is fairly action packed, Ms Livingston chose not to slow things down by having a character fight against her new truth. As a resisting reader, though, I fought back for her. I really do wish that I could have given this four stars--especially for the kelpie. It may have been my favorite character in the book.
DianaDDavis More than 1 year ago
I constantly wish that we lived in a fictional world such as the one portrayed by Lesley Livingston. I felt as though I was watching a movie the entire time I was reading. I had to know what happened next... just one more page.... This book is beautiful and the emotion is contagious.
kannraley More than 1 year ago
I enjoy all fantasy books...vampires, werewolves, zombies, faerie! Although this is no where near the best faerie book I've read, it was an enjoyable read! It was fun & I really like Sonny. I will read the rest of the series & can't wait to find out what will happen next.
rachelFTW More than 1 year ago
This book is up there with my top favorites of all time (Harry Potter, Tithe, A Great and Terrible Beauty series). The combination of romance, fantasy, and action was PERFECT, and the main characters are very believable. Livingston did a great job with choosing a narrator that most people can relate to (unlike some other books, that will remain nameless, because I don't want to be attacked by rampaging fan girls), and she wrote the book beautifully. The details were vivid, but not overly so, and her style of writing is wonderful! It all seemed very real, and boy, do I wish it were!

I'm hoping and praying for the second book to come out soon, because I don't know if I can wait a year or two to find out what happens! I definitely recommend this book to everyone who loves suspense, romance, and fantasy.
Maryo More than 1 year ago
This is a book for those who have read and enjoyed books like the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. This book takes you dierctly into the world of Fae. The intelligent and tricky creatures are captivating. The story is of a young girl trying to make it on her own in New York City. When she happens to fall into a power struggle between the most powerful Fae. Her crazy boss, and high maitenence room mate quickly become the least of her problems.
Janae More than 1 year ago
This book was the type that was hard to put down. I loved the main Characters. This book had many fun twists and turns which made you anxious for more of the enriched details of the story. There is also enough romance to fill the hearts of teenages girls. The romance feels real and and goes at a good pace. If you are a fan of a good fairy book than totally pick this up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the best book but not the worst
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an enjoyable book with a good plot and well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started this book to make sure it was appropriate for my middle school child. After 5 pages in, I couldn't put it down. Well written and exciting for ages 10 @ up. Truly enjoyable for those who love mythology.