Author: Nancy Werlin
Release Date: September 7, 2010
How Received: Library
Summary: Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters... until Mallory’s magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself.
Soon she’ll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Will she be strong enough to resist? Will she be special enough to save herself?
The statement “Don’t judge a book by its cover” can definitely be applied here. While Extraordinary was a quick, nice read, it didn’t meet my expectations for it.
I do have to start out by applauding Werlin’s writing – it’s unbelievably gorgeous and elegant. I haven’t been that impressed by someone’s writing style for ages.
As for Extraordinary itself, it fell short for me. It started off great – we’re introduced to the faeries and Phoebe, and we’re intensely curious about this big plan the faeries need Phoebe for. But then the plan actually succeeds (sort of), and I just thought... They made a huge, huge deal about breaking someone’s spirit just for... well, pretty much nothing. I assumed, with all the fuss the faeries were making, that something monumental was going to happen. It doesn’t.
The faerie folklore in this novel was quite interesting, and I wish we had more of a chance to experience it. I found myself more interested in Mallory’s final role rather than Phoebe’s story. I also wanted to know what types of faeries there were, their “history”, rituals, etc. It was all so fascinating and aside from the glamour, it was also new (from other faerie stories I’ve read). But we never go deeper than touching the slightest basics of this books folklore.
The characters were well-written. Phoebe was... well, she was annoying at times, but she was glamoured so I couldn’t fault her. I just wished she could have used her wits more than just at the end. Mallory... now there’s a character I loved. Torn between her people/duty and her best friend. I enjoyed that she wasn’t completely heartless and that she eventually came to love Phoebe. Unlike Ryland, who was pretty much the definition of heartless. Even towards the end, I was holding on to the hope that he developed some sort of feelings (even brotherly) towards Phoebe but I was seriously stopped short.
While the plot was unique (this story is based off a real family, but the characters in the book are fictional), I thought it could have been better. I wasn’t too impressed with the plot. The only thing that kept me reading this novel was the constant question: what did the faeries want Phoebe for? I mean, sure, we get the gist of it through conversations with the Queen, but we don’t really know what is going on until the end.
Also, I have to mention... The conversations with the faerie queen are stunning. Why? On the pages where we have conversations with the faerie queen, there are vines coming down the pages. It’s really pretty. And the chapter titles? Such a pretty font. I’m a nut for aesthetics.
Cover Musings: Oh my goodness, this cover is gorgeous. I’m not exactly sure what but it just really appeals to me. The foliage, the girls’ dress and the way her hair sways, her calves, the fact she can run in heels. My list is endless – this is just a beautiful cover all around.
He opened his arms.
She never remembered going to him. She was simply there, standing before him, reaching out her own arms, moving—awkward, untried—onto his lap. His arms wrapped around her, a dragon whipping its muscular tail around a small prey—no, what a weird vision! Another stupid hallucination. Phoebe closed her eyes— (pg. 137)
Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: Extraordinary had a lot of promise, but it wasn’t exactly an extraordinary novel. While it was well-written and had some decent characters, the plot wasn’t all that interesting and the read was rather slow. Still, I liked it – it was a decent read. But I’d recommend checking this one out at a library rather than buying it.