The writing in Extraordinary, in my opinion, is muddled and even awkward at times. I’m not entirely sure if this is due to the fact that I was reading an ARC or not, but I found myself stumbling through sentences, even paragraphs, hoping to understand what was happening. The awkwardness extends to the dialogue, too.
The character of Phoebe also baffled me. Until she meets Ryland, Phoebe is a pretty strong, smart, and independent person. I like that she is smart enough to realize her old friends aren’t healthy for her, which prompts her to befriend Mallory. Her willingness and happiness for helping others is endearing also, but all her likable characteristics die when she meets Ryland. Now, since Ryland is a faerie, he’s supposed to be able to influence Phoebe and trick her, but I found it hard to believe that such a strong character like Phoebe could lose herself so quickly to a faerie’s power. When Phoebe finally snaps out of it in the end, it’s still unbelievable because her realization also happens suddenly.
One of the things I did like, however, was Phoebe and Mallory’s relationship. Although Mallory isn’t who she claims to be, she is still likeable and retains a sense of caring and love for not only Phoebe, but for the few people in her life. In Ms. Werlin’s note at the end, she mentioned being inspired by Gregory Maguire’s novel, Wicked, and its musical adaptation. I really liked that she drew from Wicked since I love the book and adore the musical. The relationship between Phoebe and Mallory is different than Elphaba and Glinda’s, but their friendship is strong.
Overall, I didn’t love Extraordinary, but I didn’t hate it either. I simply liked it. Still, if you enjoyed reading Impossible, you should give Extraordinary a chance. For more information about Nancy Werlin and her writing, please check out her website: