Laurel has an abundance of problems idiosyncrasies. She doesn't like meat. At all. She craves outdoors and sunlight more than is necessary; she never gets cold; she has never been ill (as far as she can remember); she has never hurt herself (as far as she can remember); and she doesn't menstruate (as far as ... hey!).
She also has hippie parents who abhor doctors and shun orthodox medicine for herbal concoction. The federal government has embedded strange devices in every single tablet, and once ingested your DNA is copied and recorded in a government database. Should the United States government choose to body-snatch you ... Oh, sorry, that's not part of the plot.
Laurel and her parents move to a new home, and in a surprising twist her parents kick their home-schooling tradition to the curb and enrol Laurel in a public school. Public school means sitting indoors, thus Laurel isn't pleased with this turn of events. Remember, she loves outdoors and sunlight.
Her irritation at everything public school soon dampens when she meets David, a cute, charming, understanding boy armed with a dashing smile that can evaporate the ozone layer. (God forbid he gets pissed at the world).
As the months go by, David and Laurel grow closer, a character journey that is both refreshing and engaging. The romance isn't forced. It flows and ebbs with effortless fluidity.
One morning Laurel wakes up to the discovery of bumps on her shoulder blades. She dismisses them as zits. But the bumps keep swelling, and after days of panicking and fussing, they disappear. In their stead are wings ... or petals ... or wings that look like petals. Beautiful wings. Laurel is both amazed and distraught.
With David's help, a visit to the forest at her old house, and Google searches, Laurel discovers she's a fairy. With a twist. I won't tell you what that twist is, but I will say it's a rather good twist.
Wings is not a complicated read and Aprilynne Pike is not a complicated writer. The plot is simple and flows from A to Z with hardly any hitch. Pike's prose does wobble a bit in some areas, and her tendency to over-rely on adverbs will grate on some readers. However, as many will tell you, Aprilynne Pike's mission is to provide entertainment, not literary tediousness, and she accomplishes that.
A statement of fact: Laurel is the only almost-three-dimensional character in Wings. She's smart, vulnerable, confident, brave, reckless, understanding and a lot of things. These traits don't just burst out at once. As the book progresses, one misadventure after another, she picks up a new self-attribute, embraces it, and flaunts it.
David starts out great. He is tailor-made for the role as Laurel's love interest, hence his glorified characteristics. But in spite of his tendency to be perfect most of the time (devoted, sympathetic to Laurel's plight, always says the right thing at the right time), Laurel does not allow herself to be ruled by her emotions. She takes things one step at a time, and in the end theirs is a relationship that is very, very real and cute.
For a while.
Enter Tamani, super hot Edward lookalike fairy boy, and Wings tumbles into mediocre terrain, along with my respect and love for it. It takes Laurel more than half the entire book to fall for David. It takes her two paragraphs to fall head-over-heels for Tamani.
Tamani's role is to serve as the third side of a ridiculous love triangle Wings could have done without. It's the same cheap plot device we've seen female YA authors use time and again. Laurel is kissing David today. Tomorrow she's eating Tamani's face. And the weird thing: David doesn't mind. He doesn't react. Tamani touches Laurel in front of him and he does nothing. His devotion to Laurel never wavers. It's so sad, because in the end David looks less like a teenage boy and more like Laurel's obedient poodle.
World building: 7/10
Until Wings I had never read a book about fairies. I have to say I found Aprilynne's mythology unique and very interesting.
A very easy read. The adverbs in the dialogue tags, however, were a constant annoyance for me.
Wings' plot is linear, very easy to follow. But it's not perfect. There's something like this:
MASTER: Your phone will ring at 3pm every day. You must make sure your mum never answers it.
MASTER: Dude, do as you're told.
[Hero screws up at some point and Mum answers phone]
HERO: Master, I ... I failed.
MASTER: Your mum answered the phone?
MASTER: Dude! For fuck's sake. Now the world is going to end.
HERO: Well, you could have told me that in the first place and I'd have done something more drastic, like, I don't know – unplugging the phone.
Then there's the main villain, who we know is the main villain the instant he makes an appearance, but Laurel doesn't know until the very end. Tut. Poor.
Final Score: 7/10