10.12.2011

Book Review: Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Krispy downloaded this for free on her Kindle and like the masochistic fool that I am, I read it. Pressing my eyes to a belt-sander would not be enough to cleanse them of this travesty of a book.

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Pros: Reading it is a cheap alternative to undergoing lobotomy.
Cons: You probably don't want to be lobotomized.

Intellectual Rating: 0 out of 10 stars
Emotional Grade: F

Book Blurb: (from Goodreads) Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

Alz's Take: I cannot describe how bad this book is. The writing is puerile, the story is 100% teenage wish-fulfillment, Laurel is Mary Sue to the max, and I honestly cannot believe this book got published. This is the level of writing and story I expected from Twilight, which ended up exceeding my expectations; Wings undercut my expectations exponentially.

Even other books that I've rated F (Nightshade and Crescendo) were better-written than Wings. At least they more or less adhered to the old show-don't-tell adage, whereas Wings is bent on doing the opposite: Tell, don't show! Showing is boring and requires more thought and actual work! Just tell! Also symmetry is key to goodness and if you are asymmetrical you are ugly and therefore evil because evolution screwed up on you! Haha!

I paraphrase but do not exaggerate. That is something that comes up in the book.

Being that it is now quite late because Krispy and I didn't have a blog planned for today, and I just don't have it in me to write up an in-depth review, I'll just give you a partial summary of what happens in the book. Be warned that there are SPOILERS of a sort forthcoming—in the vein of it's a spoiler for Twilight that Edward is a vampire and vampires sparkle in the sun.

Meet Laurel: She's your average fifteen-and-a-half-year-old girl who's been homeschooled by her doctor-phobic hippie parents all her life and is now attending public high school. She literally lives on Sprite and fruit and vegetables.
One day Laurel discovers a tiny bump between her shoulder blades. She is horrified that it is a zit since she is beautiful and perfect and looks like a teenage model on TV and has never had a zit before in her life on her translucent skin and also her hair is magically delicious and doesn't require washing with shampoo because it just takes care of itrself and Laurel moves with the grace of a dancer despite never having taken lessons.

Where was I? Oh yes. The zit.
Laurel decides to wear her hair down and cover the hideous bump up with a shirt. But over the course of the next two or three days, the zit grows to the size of a golf ball.
Laurel does not show her parents because she knows that most things in the human body take care of themselves and go away on their own if you ignore them. When the weekend arrives (so by this point it's been three or four days) and the thing is now the size of a softball, she decides that if the bump's not gone by Monday, she'll tell her parents!

Sunday dawns and the bump is gone. But what is this that has taken its place?

Laurel naturally is horrified and decides that the first and most important thing to do is…hide the fact that she has a flower growing out of her back from her parents.


After stupid incredibly clich├ęd stuff occurs (i.e. chopping off the tip of a petal—eek! ow! hurty!—and taking it to her new boyfriend David because he has a microscope and is therefore a science nerd and can tell her what's going on, and he tells her it's a bit of flower because it has plant cells, and my brain is beginning to disintegrate right now from the horror of trying to coherently remember this), Laurel returns to the cabin in the woods where her family originally lived, frolics in the forest while her sweet-smelling blossom blows in the breeze, and runs into Tamani, who is a guy who we later find out has been stalking her ever since she was born.

Green-haired and generically hot Tamani tells Laurel the shocking, shocking truth:
Which incidentally is supposed to explain why she lives on Sprite and fruit and vegetables, because flowers in a vase of water with a spoonful of sugar added live longer, although I like to think that eating exclusively fruits and veggies makes Laurel a cannibal.

To explain the pollen thing, we have to jump ahead to Laurel's second meeting with Tamani. See, she was so shocked to find out she was a plant that first time that she ran off, and afterward noticed some gold dust on her wrist from where Tamani grabbed her. Next time she asks him about it—oooh, faerie dust!—only for him to explain no, that's not faerie dust, it's pollen.

Pollen.

Because males only produce pollen when they are around a female in bloom, and yes, he could have pollinated her—not that he would have, of course, oh no, which is why he told her that first time that he knew whose blossom his hands could get into and whose not. That wasn't just a disturbing metaphor. It was a literal description because faeries are plants and therefore reproduce by pollination. He could have pollinated her bloom, which would have produced a seed, which could be planted in the ground to grow into a baby faerie.

But don't worry, Tam tells Laurel, pollination is for reproduction but sex is for fun!


…okay, that's it. I didn't even get into the trainwreck of how David is super hot and super in love with Laurel for no particular reason and the "plot" concerning the faerie world of Avalon and how my medical student friend went LOLWHUT over the description of Laurel's father's treatment when he ends up in the hospital due to the nefarious never-explained scheming of the asymmetrically evil trolls and—

I can't stand it anymore.

Alz's Conclusion: Don't read Wings. Just—just don't. Please. Spare yourself. It's badly written stylistically and narratively, with a heroine who has all the pluck and strength and character of single sheet of bargain-brand tissue, and, and, and if you, like Krispy, downloaded this for free onto your Kindle, you might as well delete it and download something more worthwhile. Or even if you don't download anything else, that's fine. A lobotomy is preferable to Wings. At least then you'd be unable to read it.

13 comments:

Tere Kirkland said...

Yeah, this stayed on my e-reader for about two days. Long enough for me to realize I had made a huge mistake. Obviously, I'm not the target audience, butI don't think my 13-16 yr old self would have appreciated it, either.

The thing that pissed me off the most (aside from the writing style, and Laurel's "hippie" parents. my dad was at woodstock, okay, and he's 64) was that Laurel knew she might have some healing power, yet she just cried about her dad in the hospital dying and didn't do anything about it. WTF? Drawing out the tension is one thing, but too stupid to live is another thing all together.

Yet this is a best-selling series.

Obviously, wish-fulfillment books sell. Time for me to crack into the market. *rubs hands together*

I'm going to need an mc who's so gorgeous, woodland animals start knitting (or crocheting, if they can't manage the knitting needles, whatevs) when she's in their vicinity. She doesn't need anything else to make her special, just her amazing looks. Add to that a painfully handsome, sigh-inducing bad-boy, the complete opposite of mc's childhood buddy, but of course, Buddy's still cute if he takes off his glasses.

Then be sure to completely turn their lives upside-down due to some preternatural force that almost, but not quite, manages to make everyone seem like they're in danger. The important thing isn't the external conflict, anyway.

As long as the mc realizes she's just too hot to date her buddy, and just enough of a doormat to put up with the asshole shenanigans that bad-boy is bound to put her through for the rest of their short lives together, that's all the plot the story needs.

Yet another reason I want to cringe when I tell people I write paranormal romance.

Icy Roses said...

Omg, thank you for this review. I occasionally thought about picking it up because the cover looked cool, but was deterred because Stephenie Meyer blurbed it.

Now, I see why Stephenie Meyer blurbed it. At least your review was entertaining.

Gennia said...

Why do you do these things to yourself?!!!

Sophia Chang said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA

That awesomest thing is that you write exactly how you talk, which is one of the best parts about this post. Your illustrations are spot-on, as usual. "Her hair is magically delicious" omg I died reading this whole thing. It's worth it to start reading Wings just to read this review.

Lydia Kang said...

I downloaded this for free (maybe we did at the same time) but haven't read it yet. The first page didn't do it for me.

If she wanted to be biologically correct, she'd eat rotten fish and horse manure and rancid seaweed instead--you know, the real stuff of plant fertilizer.

Ashley Nixon said...

THIS WAS THE BEST REVIEW EVER!
Her agent is Jodi Reamer, who is Stephenie Meyers agent...(No surprise!) Cause this is twilight in Fairie? form. Also, Aprilynne Pike LOVES Twilight.

Yep.

ali cross said...

Okay. That's it. I now officially CHALLENGE you to review my book in all your goried stick figure glory. It would be my crowning achievement. Who knew writing lame books just to piss Alz off (and reap the reward of an awesome post about it) would be on my to-do list? I shall now commence writing additional sucky books so they can be reviewed by Alz. :D

I have WINGS, but have never been able to bring myself to read it. Now I want to just because your review was so funny. It's like Mystery Science Theater 3000; the books are so bad you just gotta love 'em. Or not. But we can have fun laughing at them!

Sherrie Petersen said...

This has to be the most hilarious review I have EVER read! Maybe more so because I actually read this whole book. (Don't ask!) And the drawings, oh man...too funny!!

Danyelle L. said...

*hearts your reviews*

Che said...

hahaha :)

J.C. Martin said...

I LOVE your stick figure drawings! What a review! I never read the book because the blurb just didn't do it for me. So she's staring at pretty petals -- so what? And it mentioned her eyes twice (staring at the pale things -- really, *things*? You couldn't find a better word? -- with wide eyes, eyes on the hovering petals), making this short blurb repetitive and tedious, plus "too beautfiul for words" sounds like such a lazy way to describe beauty. So yeah, didn't hook me.

J.C.

Join me in the Trick or Treat Spooktacular! Could you help make the Grand Prize a brand new Kindle Touch?

Wanton Redhead Writing said...

OMG I'm spitting coke, not that kind, across the room. Love this review and you just saved my bleeding eyeballs. That's actually in my Nook to-read.

Found you Lydia Kane's bloghop and am so happy I did.

Tillysnow1 said...

I stumbled across this while reasearching my book report on Wings, and i am so glad i did. I don't find it that bad, but every single one of your points are exactly right. Anyway, consider this:
Laurel is a plant, yes?
Laurel's mum is a master naturopath, yes?
As proved by David, Laurel is also a plant, yes?
Master naturopaths turns plants in to medicene!
It's like:
"Mum, please don't! Thats my cousin your crushing!!" LOL