Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review: Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

Author: Nancy Werlin
Publisher: Dial 
Series: N/A
Pages: 393
Genre: Fantasy
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? 

My Thoughts:
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.

Memorable Quotes:
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.

Rating: 3/5


Literature for Lunch said...

Booo! I had a really long comment that I had written and it was eaten. :( Well anyway, my comment consisted of...

1. You are awesome.
2. You write really great reviews that offer a balanced look at books.
3. I think that you successfully looked at the positives and negatives of this book.
4. I may give this book another try at some point to see if I can finish it.

Of course, my first comment was a lot better but it really boils down to I love your blog and your reviews!

Brooke T said...

AH! I had the Arc so I didn't see the pretty chapter fonts. I saw the vines but they're kind of plain. I'm going to have to check it out at the bookstore! I just put up my review for this book too. I actually agree with you that I wanted to know more about the faeries, but I liked the moral behind it.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the plot kind of fell short, but I liked the book. Great balanced review, and I like how you included a quote!

Felicity Grace Terry said...

A great review - I love the memorable quote at the end.

Danna (Bananas For Books) said...

"Frazzletastic" review! I really liked her other book Impossible. You should read it sometime. I like the block quote, I tried doing that...yeah, didn't work so well for me. Have a nice day!

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I agree, the cover is just beautiful. It does sound like an interesting read, it's a shame that it wasn't as good as you hoped it would be.

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

@Jennifer: Aw! Thank you! That comment was equally as awesome/nice. I was having a bad day yesterday and seeing that made me feel a LOT better!

@Brooke: Oh, I thought the vines were gorgeous. How many books do you see that in, you know? I enjoyed the morals in the story too, but I would have liked them even more if it was executed in a better way and I don't think they were.

@Danielle: Thank you! :) I actually usually include more than one quote, but I only wrote down one memorable quote for this book. There just weren't any others I found that memorable. =x

@Tracy: Aw, thank you! I tried being a little "teaser-ish" with it. ;)

@Danna: Hahaha! Aw, that made my day too! You definitely get brownie points for the "frazzletastic review" comment! xD I do intend to check out Impossible when I get the chance - I've heard it was definitely good! I can show you how to block quote if you like? :)

@Sam: I know - I honestly was hoping it would be better than it was. I've read Nancy Werlin's books before (I had no clue at the time, of course :P) and have loved them. Plus I heard some great reviews about Extraordinary. But the "hype" didn't live up. =x The cover is definitely an A+ though!

Ashlie Swainston said...

I have this book on my TBR list, so Im super glad I read your review. I love what you said about Werlin's style, because more often than not, that makes of breaks the book for me, sometimes regardless of contest. I can read tons of fluff if it sounds like the Mona Lisa looks (ha-I'm so cheesy!) That being said, here is my response to your comment to me today: I didn't use anyone as a referral (for Random Buzzers) cuz I didn't know Kare's username! Darn, I totes coulda used ya! Well you coulda told me about it too silly! I def woulda used ya then! Doh! So did you get Nightshade yet? I wanna post your & my reviews on it to give it some contrast. Then I wanna pick your brain about it. I gotta finish reading it though so I can find the right questions to ask you! Muah-ha-ha!

Ashlie Swainston said...

p.s. I still wanna know how you format your reviews that way...???

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