The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
First impression: Intrigued; beautiful cover
Last impression: THIS IS FINALLY OVER
Format: Audiobook / 8.5 hours
Publishing Info: March 25th 2014 / Goodreads
Other books read by author: None – and I probably won’t even try to
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.
Review: I finally finished this one and I couldn’t be happier. This book was depressing as shit. Clearly, you can kind of tell that will be the case from the title and the description, but I was still hoping it would be a little uplifting in some way. It TRULY baffles me that so many people loved this book and it has such a glowing rating on Goodreads. I could barely make it through. First of all, I couldn’t deal with the narrator’s voice in the audiobook. I tried to look past it but I just really couldn’t. Then, the first 50% of the book was spent giving a complete play by play of the MISERABLE lives of Ava’s great-grandparents, her grandparents (and their siblings), her mother and father, then finally Ava. She showed up literally over halfway through the book. I guess the description saying it’s a “generational saga” hinted at that, but seriously I wasn’t expecting to not even really meet the main character until that far into the book. Then, once we finally meet her, the story does not improve at all. The description reads: “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” …..this just didn’t happen. To some extent, sure, but I was expecting a full-blown exciting quest out into the actual wider world. This book was so exceedingly boring and depressing; I genuinely have no idea why I finished it. The book FINALLY came to some kind of a climax, which was also sad as fuck, when there was like an hour left in the audiobook. I spent 7 hours bored to tears JUST to be depressed yet again/still. One positive thing I can say is that this author is very good with creating imagery. I give her props on her writing style; this just was so not the story for me. I hate to say the book was pointless, because clearly all books have some kind of bigger purpose, but I couldn’t find it. I think the author did a really nice job of creating the scene and allowing me to imagine the setting, but beyond that I was so frustrated. I give it a 1.5 because the writing style was good and full of imagery, but otherwise this was the closest I’ve come to a DNF in my life.