Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review: Small Persons With Wings

When I saw reviews/blurbs about this book a lot of people were comparing the general feel of the book to a Diana Wynne Jones book (fantasy and magic in an everyday setting with everyday problems as well as magical ones) and, since that’s the exact reason I loved her works, I was intrigued and entered a contest on Deva Fagan's blog for the book and lo and behold I won!* So I zipped through that recently (have I mentioned how nice it is to be reading fiction again? I’ve just had too much to read in my classes lately) but I’m not quite sure where I stand on it.

Small Persons With Wings by Ellen Booraem


Summary: Mellie once had a fairy friend (they hate to be called fairies though, they prefer “small persons with wings”) but after he vanished one day she became convinced he was a fragment of her imagination, the resulting teasing from her classmates over her "imaginary friend" didn't help either. As a result, she threw herself into only reading and being interested in “the real world.” But with the death of her grandfather Mellie is moving to a new town and into his old inn where she finds that she was right all along, her friend wasn’t imaginary at all.

The Good: Lately there has been an overabundance of books that try to mess with the norm, in this particular case by writing "edgy fairy tales" that occupy an odd place between the original Grimms fairy tales and the lighter and softer versions for children these days. SPWW does not follow that format however and manages to have a story with somewhat friendly yet dangerous fairies without being pseudo-edgy, a good choice especially since this is a middle grade book (where being edgy would seem out of place).  Mellie by and large acts her age and has age appropriate problems (or, as age appropriate as one will find in a fantasy book) and the ending of the book was fairly satisfying, if a bit predictable.

The Bad: I think my main problem with the book can be summed up in that it is just aimed at a younger audience than me (Mellie is 13 so the book is aimed at the middle school audience, more at sixth graders than eighth graders at that). I didn’t like how the adults were so dumb (to the point where the author has to create a plot device for why they can’t be useful to the story), which sadly is common in MG fiction and I think I just like my protagonists to be closer to my age so I can sympathize with them more. However, that was also one thing that DWJ did very well in her books so that was something I was expecting to be handled well here and was simply disappointed. I think the story would have been richer and more interesting if the adults were given real roles to play, it may have made the villain reveal at the end less painfully predictable too, so I’m curious to see if this author will continue writing MG or if she will also write YA in the future. 


Sorry this is so late folks, I know it's not even Friday anymore, I just had a crazy busy day and, since I know tomorrow will be even crazier (going to an all day mini-con) so no post tomorrow. There will be one Sunday but I know I just won't have time tomorrow so I'm not going to even try, see you then!



*Sorry to say I thought the email was spam first but opened it anyway, glad to know that I’m willing to give my computer a virus if it means I get a free book.

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