Monday, October 9, 2017

ARC Review: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Title: Wild Beauty
Written by: Anna-Marie McLemor
Published: October 3, 2017 by Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Love grows such strange things.

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.

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. *****

I have been really enjoying Magical Realism lately and thoroughly enjoyed both of Anna-Maria McLemore's previous books so I was really excited to read her next ones. And while this was not my favorite of her books but it was still a really good read.

One thing I loved about this book was the world. Magical Realism is so interesting because it has this great subtle magic to it, typically tied to the land or the family and their culture. This was a little bit of both. I loved seeing magic at work. First of all the stuff with flowers was really cool. Watching the Nomeolvides girls use their powers was really fascinating. So much so that I wanted more. But the magic of this series was more than just the flower magic. I don't want to give too much away because it's tied more to the plot of the book.

Speaking of the plot, that was one of the points that I wish would have been a little more complex. The synopsis of this book led me to believe that this had a pretty interesting mystery and it really didn't. There was a twist and reveal later in the book but it really was not the focus of this book. I wish it had been. A lot more of the plot revolved around the romance for my taste and I wanted more mystery. I'm such a plot driven reader that I just really need a super engaging plot and unfortunately I didn't find that here.

Either that or the pacing was slow. It definitely took me awhile to get into this book. This may have just been because it is a really busy time for me and I haven't had much of an opportunity to read, but it could also be this book. Much of what is explained in the synopsis doesn't even happen until much later in the book. It's one of those books that slowly develops into an exciting ending but it's also one of those books that really takes its time to get there. I wish the beginning had been a little more engaging but I am glad it got there in the end.

But much of this book was redeemed by the characters. The real heart of this book was the story of family. First of all we had the Nomeolvides girls. Despite being cousins they had this really great sisters feel to it. I love books about sisters and I really enjoyed the relationship between the characters. Most of them were a Amal part of the book but the main character was Estrella. She was definitely sympathetic and likable. The best thing about this book is the fact that there are so many diverse characters. Anna-Marie does these characters so well. There was great use of LGBTQ characters and I enjoyed them and how diverse this book was.

All in all this was a good read but not totally amazing. It had a fantastic and engaging world, and likable and complex characters but the plot wasn't as complex as I hoped and the pacing was pretty slow.

I give Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you are a fan of magical realism, especially YA magical realism definitely check this book out, or this author on the whole. She's got some great reads. And if you do like Anna-Marie's work and haven't read this one then definitely check it out.

Have you read Wild Beauty? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I love magical realism, so I need to get a copy of this book. Great review. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. The cover was so gorgeous I had to stop by and read your review ;) It sounds like an interesting book-- I'm also a fan of plot driven books so I'm sure it would be a bit difficult for me to get into this book.

  3. Great review! Just say the words magical realism and I want to read a book right away. Luckily enough everything else abot the book sounds pretty good so I hope I'll like this book when I read it.