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Review: Wildwing by Emily Whitman

by Emily Whitman

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Release Date: September 21, 2010
Publisher: Greenwillow
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Library Check-Out
Rating: Eye-Catcher
Good for YA Historical Fiction Challenge
About the Book:
When Addy is swept back in time, she couldn't be happier to leave her miserable life behind. Now she's mistaken for Lady Matilda, the pampered ward of the king. If Addy can play her part, she'll have glorious gowns, jewels, and something she's always longed for—the respect and admiration of others. But then she meets Will, the falconer's son with sky blue eyes, who unsettles all her plans.

From shipwrecks to castle dungeons, from betrothals to hidden conspiracies, Addy finds herself in a world where she's not the only one with a dangerous secret. When she discovers the truth, Addy must take matters into her own hands. The stakes? Her chance at true love . . . and the life she's meant to live.
It's the same old cobbled street through the same old town, but for once I barely smell the cakes from the tea shop, don't even pause to stare out the windows. I'm floating along another me, in a dreamworld...

What started out as a fun and engaging read, starring a heroine who's quick-tempered and provokes sympathy... at first, quickly morphs into something less than amazing and not as readable. With hints of the enigmatic, a wonderfully-told setting, but full of unlovable characters and unbelievable, decidedly unimpressive plot events, Wildwing failed to captivate me and keep me firmly engrossed in the story. Although the writing style is vivid and beautifully simple, the second half of the novel overwhelms the good in the first half, which left me with an overall bad impression of the book.

There are some elements that are simply fascinating. Being in Addy's time period was probably my favorite part of the book. The world-building created a picture that put me there, in the early 1900s. The clothes, the shops, the customs. Even the way the people spoke. But Whitman didn't bore me with long and obnoxious descriptions; she did a fantastic job painting a picture for me. Even Addy herself - again, in the beginning - fueled my attraction to the book. She's hungry to live and learn, a tad resentful, and willing to defend herself. Any girl who swings at the pack-leader of horrible girls is a friend of mine... until she gets to be too willful and irritatingly selfish. After which I stopped liking her and distanced myself from the story.

The second half of the book is wild, yes, but it felt unnecessary. I don't know, getting sucked back to a different time to fall into a dangerous power struggle didn't feel very pressing when all Addy thinks about is the falcon dude. I mean, I get it, to my mind he's smoking hot. And a guy who can handle beastly and potentially harmful birds strikes me as sexy. But Whitman got sucked into the trap of writing a romance that falls flat and failed for me. It gave me instaluv vibes which instantly put me off, but then Addy goes on to acting stupidly and making uber-selfish decisions because of this "whirlwind romance" that I lost all love for this relationship.

Then, the resolution came too swiftly and too easily for my tastes, so that I couldn't even savor their victory. What's worse is that I couldn't even be happy for these characters, simply because I didn't like any of them. Frankly, I didn't know any of them. And there isn't that great of a selection of characters to like to begin with, believe me. In that, I was disappointed. I was really hoping for more than an overly attentive nursemaid, a meat-handed brute, or a falcon-boy who has a weird, utterly hypocritical sense of honor. The only character that intrigued me was probably the villain, but who isn't that memorable because, forgive me, I can't even recall his name.

Wildwing starts out as something fun, well-written, and engaging, but quickly becomes something that ultimately served me up disappointment so that I couldn't even enjoy it. The historical aspect in regards to Addy's time period is really well-done, but from then on the world-building suffers and eventually bored me. I felt like this story had sooo much potential, but that light of possibly got snuffed out by the focus on the romance that did nothing for me. Wildwing could have been good, maybe even great, but ended up being just a book I wouldn't want to pick up again.

ECs start out as pleasant, the cover and synopsis draws the eye, but are ultimately deceiving. They keep your attention absorbed for a certain amount of chapters before you realize, sadly, that they're not the books for you... (My Rating System In-Depth)


Anonymous said...

I hadn’t heard of Wildwing before, and it sounded completely intriguing, until I read the remainder of the review! Haha. I think I’ll give this one a miss, but I love the ratings you give books!

Little Miss Becky said...

I had checked this one out once before, but never got around to reading it. I'd heard some mixed things about it already, but I think I will probably end up skipping it all together. Thanks for the honest review!

Marathon said...

Lux- Thanks! It feels more fitting this way. I enjoy sticking on the ratings. I'm happy be receiving positive feedback :)

And, yeah, sorry if I spoiled your desire to read it but it wasn't the book for me.

Little Miss Becky- It's so funny because I almost passed up the chance to read this, too. I've got pretty good intuition when it comes to reading material, and I should've followed my instincts. I'm happy you enjoyed the review, as honest as it was :)