Thursday, October 26, 2017

Book Review: Wild Beauty

Title: Wild Beauty
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Genre: Young Adult | Magical Realism | Romance
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Format: ARC
Source: ALA


For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.
The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family (goodreads).


Wild Beauty was a beautiful book, but it was also boring. 
Plot: Anna-Marie LcMemore's writing is beautiful, that is no contest, but I think I fell a bit for the hype with Wild Beauty. I loved the idea of the book: five girls who lived in a beautiful garden with their five mothers, and five grandmothers. They were cursed to live on this land and tend to the garden, and if they were to fall in love with any man, then the man would disappear. This proved to be a conundrum with all five girls fell in love with Bay Briar. In order to save the beautiful and fierce Bay, each girl gave their most prized possession back to the earth, and out came a boy with no memory. 

It sounds like a beautiful fairytale right? It was, except nothing happened. There were clear conflicts but each of the characters seemed to skirt around it. There would be chapters and chapters of dialogue along with vivid descriptions with just very little action. After a while, the beautiful writing wasn't enough to hold my attention.

Characters: The entire family was like something out of a Studio Ghibli movie. They were all so animated and had very strong personalities. I loved how they interacted and how wholly they trusted each other. Wild Beauty was told from two perspectives, Estrella and Fel - the mysterious boy the girls found. Fel's perspective was a bit difficult to follow at times because he truly had no idea where he was, who he was, or how to act in a society different from his. The book was very romantic by nature, but I found Estrella and Fel's relationship very shallow and didn't think they showed chemistry when they were together.

Worldbuliding: I am unsure of the exact location of La Pradera, but I will safely assume it's the southwest. This was a place where brown people were told that their land wasn't their property anymore and that they were now forced to care for the wealthy ( and usually white). The city, while we don't see any of it outside of La Pradera, was also something out of a fairytale. Bray Briar's family invested in most of the town's businesses and held balls at the manor to create community and help businesses. It was all just very magical and I loved all of McLemore's descriptions, especially of food!

Short N Sweet: Wild Beauty was a beautiful piece of work, I just wish it had more movement instead of focusing on the whimsical language.  

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