Book Reviews

Book Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Publication Date: January 1st, 2014

Publisher: Walter Books Ltd

Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Magical Realism

Series Status: Red Queen #1

Pages: 300

Format and Source: Paperback, Owned

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Love makes us such fools…

Pain in love appears to be a Roux family birthright, and for Ava Lavender, a girl born with the wings of a bird, it is key to her inheritance.

Longing to fit in with her peers, Ava ventures away from home, ill-prepared for what awaits her in a world that does not know whether to view her as girl or angel.

Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo until, on the summer solstice, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air and Ava’s fate is revealed.

A mesmerizing, lyrical tale of longing, desire and the nature of love.


If you are expecting some typical YA romance about fallen angels and where the guy gets the girl, then you could not be more wrong. This book is an utterly beautiful documentation of the journeys that Ava’s mother, grandmother, and great grandmother took and how they led to her, and what happens in her younger years.

This world that Leslye Walton created in The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was so realistic and brilliant, and filled with strangeness, but written in such away where all superstitions are obviously true. It made the real world, our world, seem a lot more magical, but in a way where it has always been there, and the coincidences that shape our existence are all created so that it and us were always meant to happen.

It is so hard to explain this book because there is so much to explain, but I can’t because I’m trying to keep this spoiler free. I’ll just dim it down to the basics now so you will hopefully understand me a bit better than my previous paragraphs of ramblings. The writing style was beautiful, thorough, and intricate. It is easy to tell that this book was obviously carefully thought out just by reading about each characters little idiosyncrasies. This is why this book reminds me of a much more whimsical version of The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling: several characters are met in this book, and each one is developed extraordinarily well. What sets The Strange and Beautiful Sorrow of Ava Lavender apart from The Casual Vacancy is that none of the characters were in anyway normal. Even the most normal of characters in different, and all are utterly important to how the book plays out.

Another thing I have noticed in this book is that there are hints throughout this book, whether it is by careful wording or foreshadowing, about what will happen later. It’s almost maddening because now I read it and feel like I missed so much when reading it.

If you want to read a book with a well-defined and clear ending, don’t read this one. But still do anyway because it is strange, and beautiful, and sorrowful, and worth it.

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