Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Magical Realism/Historical Fantasy
Size: 320 pages
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC from Amazon Vine
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. I was initially drawn to the beautiful title and the synopsis which talked about a girl born with wings. This book was nothing like I expected, it ended up being much more beautiful and much more strange (so it is aptly named).
This is the strangely beautiful tale about a girl, Ava, who was born with wings. She takes us back through the odd history of her family in search of an explanation of why she was born with wings. This includes the tales of many female relatives that do slightly magical things or have slightly magical things happen to them. The whole thing has a feel more of magical realism than flat-out magic.
The writing is beautiful and lyrical but a bit dense at times. It’s definitely a book that takes some concentration and time to read. I think the whole story is best defined as tragedy entwined with magical realism. There are sisters that turn into canaries, mothers that can see the future, and a grandmother that can make bread that makes people weep.
I ended up enjoying the story, it was very different from anything I have read before. As mentioned above, while the story is magical and fascinating, it is definitely not uplifting. This is a tragedy plain and simple. The whole book has a sense of dread hanging over it. Ava (and her ancestors) are dealt one horrible tragedy after another and you just know things aren’t going to end well…although you are really hoping and pulling for these characters the whole story.
Much of the story focuses on Ava’s mother and grandmother, the story doesn’t really start to feature Ava until the second half. Ava leads a very isolated life because of her wings, her mother wants to keep her safe. As she gets into her teens, her best friend (a girl whose mother works at Ava’s grandma’s bakery) convinces her to mingle in society more. It is tough for Ava to have wings, people expect her to do holy things…to be their redemption…but she is just a girl.
Ava’s grandmother runs a bakery and there is a lot of description of baked goods in here. They sounded soooo good all I wanted to do was run out and visit a pastry shop! So beware of getting hungry while reading about these delicious baked goods…
The ending is much more predictable than I was hoping for, I knew how it would end pretty early on (although I was hoping for something else). Still this book was more about the journey of Ava and her ancestors than anything else.
Overall this was a slightly bizarre yet beautiful read. I would recommend to those who like historical fantasy with some magical realism in it and a somewhat gothic overtone. I really liked how beautifully written and completely different it was. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for future works from this author.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge