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Book Review: Dark Days of the Supernatural – Aprilynne Pike’s ‘Illusions’

“Illusions” is the third book in the Wing series by New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike and part of HarperTeen’s summer Dark Days of the Supernatural series. Released May 3, 2011, the story follows Laurel Sewell, a faerie attempting to return to a normal life among humans in Crescent City, Calif. with her human boyfriend, David, and human parents after time away in Avalon, aka faerie-land.

The book opens with Laurel’s first day of 12th grade, as life becomes not-so-normal again with the return of her guardian/former love interest, faerie Tamani, who is posing as a transfer student from Scotland. Tamani returns to protect Laurel from trolls, an enemy of faeries, who came to Crescent City to torture Laurel for access into Avalon, where they will wreak havoc of epic proportions. Well, this is speculation since, although evidence of trolls was found, i.e. footprints and bloody animal corpses, the usual tracking serums and traps are not working. A new magic is afoot.

Further complicating the dire situation is Yuki, an unknown type of faerie posing as a Japanese exchange student under the watchful eye of troll hunter Klea. Tamani and Laurel aren’t sure if Yuki and Klea are working for good or evil so they must secretly learn more.

With the addition of a love triangle between Tamani, Laurel and David — reminiscent of Jacob, Edward and Bella in “Twilight” — this story is full of faerie lore, menacing trolls and big life decisions involving true love and choosing between two worlds.

I’ve never read “Wings” or “Spells” so by page 21 I put the book down and turned to Google searching some background because I was beyond lost. I recommend starting at the beginning of the series because Laurel’s plight gets confusing without the background — especially since Laurel, David, Tamini and Laurel’s best friend Chelsea are well developed returning characters — and the storyline is interesting and fun. It’s a welcome change from typical teen supernatural stories featuring vampires, werewolves and angels with ancient folklore, magic, trolls and faeries.

Even though I didn’t have the whole picture without the background provided in previous novels, the story is fun and intriguing. I looked forwarded to reading on and digging deeper into who is after Laurel, whether Yuki and Klea are bad news, why the faerie magic doesn’t work, and if Laurel was going to choose Tamani or David. I found myself wishing I’d read the previous novels so I would fully understand the drama. It was like Pike was speaking in a different language, a language I wasn’t fully fluent in but one I understood enough to get by. The faerie heirachy alone is enough to confuse.

Although I prefer a sparkly vampire with a dark side, aka Edward Cullen, for my fantasies, Tamani brings a romantic edge that even got my ole cynical self saying, “wow.” The story is void of any adult sexual situations, making it appropriate for teens of all ages.

At times I found some of it not entirely believable in regards to the main characters’ responses to drama with trolls and Yuki and Klea’s plans, but then again I don’t know what teeanger-me would have done in this situation. Tamani is guarding Laurel from danger with the help of other trained faeries so he’s doing his job and, since they didn’t have a full picture of the trolls, Yuki and Klea’s plans, they couldn’t do much because their magic wouldn’t work… obviously this book has me interested enough to defend the characters so it did its job.

My favorite part of the story is the tension and doubt Laurel expresses as she attempts to choose between David and Tamani — I won’t spoil it, let’s just say Laurel doesn’t run away with the idea of happily ever after forever. She struggles with her feelings, which is so authentic, feelings of love as well as wondering whether she wants to return to Avalon or go to college among humans. Life isn’t easy – faerie or not!

So, for teens looking for a unique supernatural series for fun summer reading (or adults needing a quick escape) check out Aprilynne Pike’s Wings series by HarperTeen as well as other books in the Dark Days of the Supernatural series. When I think summer, I think summer reading!
Check out www.harperteen.com/feature/darkdays/summer — Kate Vendetta