By: Melanie | March 20, 2014 | (23) Comments

Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye WaltonThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, YA
Pages: 320
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.

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It looks like I am the tiny little dot of negative-ness amongst the sea of loving reviews. So yes, I am a black sheep. And yes, you should still consider this book because trust me, most of you will adore The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. There’s nothing much to hold distaste towards, the characters, idea and writing are all brilliant.

The main reason to why I did not like The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was simply just because of me. There’s no particular and convincing reason apart from the fact that I just could not get into this book. I guess I was just not interested in reading about a generation’s saga. Fine. So it mentions it in the synopsis but it was just too much for me. Moreover, the title is slightly misleading. It suggests that this is a story about Ava Lavender, but we end up reading about her entire ancestory, which at times I found boring, and at other times, just not really connecting with me. But that’s just me. Let me get to why you still should give this book a go.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender has the most beautiful writing. I am totally envious of this author, and in love with it simultaneously. Like the synopsis notes, the writing is lyrical and poetic, devastating and tragic. It feels very real, what the author is writing about. We basically have three main characters, Emilienne, Viviane and Ava. Emilienne is Ava’s maternal grandmother. Emilienne fell in love three times which all ended drastically. When she does get married off to a man, she gives birth to Viviane. Viviane’s love life is also a pretty unsucessful one, as her heart is broken by her childhood friend that she was absolutely in love with. We then go down the line to Ava, who is the narrator of the story, who was born with wings on her back and has a brother who cannot talk. The story is grim and rather miserable, so if you love tragic reads, this one is definitely for you.

All in all, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows was not for me. I wanted to love it for it’s writing and well-rounded characters however I felt detached from the book for a reason I still have no explanation before. Absolutely an it’s-me-not-you situation.

~Thank you Walker Books Australia for sending me this copy!~

2 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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23 Responses to Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

  1. Emily says:

    Ah… Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much as you wanted to, Mel! 🙁 It’s disappointing when that happens! You did point out that there was beautiful writing, so I still may want to have a scout around and see whether I want to pick this one up! 😀
    Lovely review, Mel! Thank you giving us your honest opinion! 😀
    Emily recently posted…Looking Forward…My Profile

  2. Oh goodie…(okay that sounds warped) but honestly, I hated this book. I feel SO bad about it because everyone else is saying how beautiful it is…and I’m like, “This is a bunch of weirdness.” It was like 15% about Ava Lavender anyway. And the WEIRDNESS that went on behind the scenes of her family history…um. How about no?
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Double Review: A Corner of White & The Cracks in the Kingdom (and Cait’s sanity goes POOF)My Profile

  3. Jasprit says:

    I’m quite a fan of tragic reads as you probably know, so I am willing to give this book a go and the fact the the author’s writing is gorgeous, is another added bonus! So sorry that you weren’t able to enjoy this book as much as you’d hoped. But thank you for the honest review! 🙂
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: Me Since You by Laura WiessMy Profile

  4. Nara says:

    Aw it’s always disappointing when you don’t like a book that everyone else seems to love! I haven’t actually read too many reviews of this (although I have seen it around), and I’m quite unsure as to whether I want to read the book. It sounds kinda weird, to be honest.
    Nara recently posted…Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley ArmstrongMy Profile

  5. I’m sorry this didn’t work for you, Mel, but I completely understand. I also go through that “It’s not you, it’s me” phase with books sometimes. To be honest, this doesn’t sound like my kind of book despite the cover being really pretty.
    Hopefully, your next book is better, Mel!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Review : Plus One by Elizabeth FamaMy Profile

  6. Siiri says:

    Eh, yes. I do understand why you didn’t like it. I mean, sometimes when you don’t really like anything in particular or aren’t that investen in anything except admire the beautiful writing then you can’t really enjoy it that much, yeah? I do think this sounds like an interesting story, but not one that’s for me in particular. I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you like you hoped it would.
    Siiri recently posted…Hothouse Flower Promo Tour: Character Interview and GiveawayMy Profile

  7. I would be all about the beautiful writing, but I will pass on the tragic and heart wrenching story. I am not in the mood fo that type of read these days. Hopefully she will write something more upbeat next time.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Review: A Death Struck Year by Makiia LucierMy Profile

  8. thanks for your honest thoughts! I don’t this this would be a good fit for me either. Like you, I’m not entirely interested in books that detail a whole family’s ‘life’ as I’ve read a few and they were never my favorite.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Theming Thursday: Frozen PartyMy Profile

  9. Oh, no, I’m so sorry this disappointed you, Melanie! But the way you describe the writing sounds so very perfect to me that I’ll have to give this a try at some point. I am a huge fan of beautiful prose so I’m very curious about that part.
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Review: Murder of Crows (The Others, #2)My Profile

  10. Rashika says:

    Black sheep Mel is a black sheep. Tut tut. I am actually looking forward to this one. I don’t even care if I won’t like it. It has such a pretty cover. Like seriously. I bet it’ll love gorgeous on my shelves.

    My random mutterings aside, this kind of sounds like Looking for Alibrandi but more divided? Looking for Alibrandi IS one of my all time favorites so I think I might like this but at the same time it sounds so ‘literaturey’ that I am not completely sure.

    Lovely Review, Mel!!

    (that was a pun.. or an attempt anyway :P)
    (no hate please)
    Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley ArmstrongMy Profile

  11. This has magical realism in it? When I read “Everybody Sees The Ants” by A.S. King, I’ve decided that I liked that genre, but this sounds kind of depressing, although the gorgeous writing might lure me in. This book just needs a good mood so I can dive into it. Great review, Mel!
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Book Review 144 : All Our Yesterdays by Cristin TerrillMy Profile

  12. Awwww, sorry you didn’t love this one. I’ve been considering reading this, I just haven’t made up my mind yet. Great honest review, Melanie! 🙂
    Lisa (Lost in Literature) recently posted…Audiobook Review: Cinder by Marissa MeyerMy Profile

  13. Kelly says:

    Awesome honest review, sorry that you didn’t click with it. It sounds like a book that you need to really be in the right frame of mind to read, more likely when you’re a bit weepy and sooky. I love how you’ve been able to separate how great the book actually is, even without being able to invest in the storyline. I’m planning on giving this one a go soon, I’m hoping I have a little more luck 🙂
    Kelly recently posted…The Firebird Mystery: A Jack Mason Adventure by Darrell PittMy Profile

  14. I’ve never heard anyone absolutely love this one, to be honest. I don’t think this one will be for me, simply because I doubt I can overlook those flaws. Thanks for your honest, girl.

  15. Megan says:

    Too bad this book didn’t work for you. I hate it when you can’t put your finger on an exact reason for not loving a book. It sounds like a really different sort of read.
    Megan recently posted…Life of a Blogger: TravelMy Profile

  16. I’ve read a couple generational sagas, and I haven’t been impressed by them. Everyone’s raving about this, and it looks beautiful, but like you said I don’t think it’s one I would enjoy.
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…Little Women and when classics are awesomeMy Profile

  17. I can see why you didn’t like the story as much as you’d hope. Stories about tragic love lives generally do appeal to me so I’ll be keeping an eye out for this one. But I like your honest review – thanks, Mel!
    Henrietta @ Leisure Reads recently posted…Sweet Reckoning – Wendy HigginsMy Profile

  18. Melliane says:

    I’m sorry it wasn’t for you darling. It’s always sad when so many wonderful reviews are out there and you realize it’s not the same for you. I confess I didn’t know this one but I agreee the synopsis and the cover are really intriguing.
    Melliane recently posted…Earth Girl by Janet EdwardsMy Profile

  19. Thanks for making it clear that you just weren’t feeling it personally, but others may like it. I’ve read another book before that was about the generation and found that boring too, I think I ended up DNFing. I’m hoping I like this one because it’s YA. Lovely review Mel!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Why I’m Picky with Blog Tours & Promo PostsMy Profile

  20. Hah! I’ve been a black sheep before so I’m totally feeling you, dear. It has happened more than once that we get that little book that everyone else loves but we just don’t. You can’t force yourself to connect with the narrator if it can’t happen naturally. I’m not sure if I’ll read this one, but I probably will since this seems to be more of a “not you, it’s me” kinda thing. Great review!
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…ARC Review: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen — Are Teens Really Like This!?My Profile

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