Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Standalone
320p.
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Published: 3/25/14
Source: From publisher and NetGalley for review
Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga. 
Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.
My thoughts:
This book is magical realism, but it takes that magic a bit further. The prose can be seen as literal or metaphorical or really both together. The book starts with Lavender telling the story, but really goes back to her great grandmother where all the strange things start to happen. All the stories seem to flow around the theme of love and what fools humans are for that feeling. The biggest theme is when it isn't true love, the things we do to try to force it and make it true... and the consequences of that making. It does take some dark turns, but it ends in hope and true love.

This book probably won't be for everyone. The strangeness of the family and what is seen as magic come to life might put off some people. The prose also takes some time to tell the tale. Both of these things may delight or irritate you depending on what you take from the book. For me, it delighted me and gave me something different than I was used to in the telling. It goes much further in the magical realism than Sarah Addison Allen does but the unusual parts to it enchanted me instead of distanced me from the story. It really comes down to a matter of what you are drawn to in books.

I give this book 4 stars. It's lyrical, metaphorical, and quite unusual. It may not be for everyone, but I encourage those of you willing to try something different. I think you may enjoy yourself within the pages.

27 comments:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Melissa! I'm not entirely sure whether or not it's for me, personally, regarding the prose and oddness of this family, but I'm certainly willing to give it a try. Lovely review, dear!

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    1. Oh if you try it, I'd love to know what you think!

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  2. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm going to love this. I heart strange ;) I'm glad you liked it too!

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

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  3. I want to give this a try Melissa, I love magical realism and the idea of the generations of this family. Yep, I am adding to my list.

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    1. Oh cool! I'd love to know what you think of this one.

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  4. I would usually say that this is probably not my thing, but I can't help but be fascinated! :) Great review.

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    1. I don't think this one would be for everyone. :)

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  5. I can't tell you how many times I waffled about requesting this one from NG. I ended up not to because I just couldn't fit in my schedule but I'm thrilled to find out that there's much more magical realism in it than the blurb implied. I'll have to check this one out when I'm at the library.

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  6. Not sure if it would be for me...maybe. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Maybe, but I think you'd like the romance at the end. :)

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  7. Sometimes a little something different is exactly what I'm looking for Melissa, and you have me curious about this one. It's nice to try something outside of my normal comfort zone every once in a while, so I'm adding this to the list:)

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    1. I know! I didn't think I'd like it as much as I did. :)

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  8. I like magical realism, especially when the writing is spot on, as this sounds like it is. Love the cover, too. That always helps!

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    1. Yea... the cover and the title caught my attention. :)

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  9. Glad you liked it; I don't think this would be a great fit for me though.

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    1. Well, I don't think this one would be for everyone. :)

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  10. Sigh.. I don't know what to think. I read a review that was rather negative for this one, but I adore magical realism and prose so I would like that aspect. I will think on it some more.

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    1. Yea... I know not everyone will enjoy this one. I think it may end up you either enjoy it or not. :)

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  11. I used to read more books like this many years ago, but haven't read any (that I can think of) in quite awhile. Strange? Then yeah, it's up my alley.

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  12. I just can't imagine what happens when the summer solstice comes. I am sufficiently intrigued. Wonder how it would be on audio if it's out. Thanks for the review. I haven't seen this one anywhere! I haven't read any prose. Maybe I should read it. Hmm. Not sure. Maybe both. LOL

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  13. I do have this one but I'm not sure if I'll like it. Hopefully I can pick up soon and see what I think. I'm much more interested now that I've read your review though!

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  14. oh it sounds original, complex and beautiful, I'm curious. It's so interesting to have something different.

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