In Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, much attention is given to the king and queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania. In fact, they are the cause of the mischief that happens within the play. The illicit affair magically affected by Oberon between a human named Bottom and Titania is the only relationship in this drama that E.D. Baker assesses for the storyline of her novel, Wings: A Fairy Tale.
What further consequences did Titania’s affair have for both the fey and humans other than those described by Shakespeare? The author of Wings answers by creating her new heroine, Tamisin. Tamisin is the daughter who was born to Titania and Bottom. In Wings, humans and magical beings live in separate, parallel worlds that can be traversed through “Gates.” Removed from her mother’s life for matters of state and safety, Tamisin has grown up in the human world without any knowledge of her true identity and heritage. However, there have been noticeable signs that Tamisin must be an extraordinary girl. She has sparkly skin, pointed ears, and a strong compulsion to dance in the light of the full moon. Tamisin becomes even more aware of her differences when she sees the fey after her eleventh birthday. Inexplicable events occurring throughout Tamisin’s life reach their peak four years later. A goblin seems to be following Tamisin everywhere; the new boy at school named Jak is not only acting secretive but he also shares Tamisin’s “gift” for seeing the fey; Tamisin’s parents have just revealed that she’s adopted; and now Tamisin is growing wings on her back! Jak’s Halloween party is only the beginning of a journey that results in Tamisin’s discovery of the truth about her origins, her powers, and the existence of a whole other world.
Fairies and goblins receive a thorough inspection by the author; both groups of magical beings have detailed appearances and magical characteristics. Witches are non-existent in the story, but magical creatures never introduced in any of Baker’s previous novels, e.g. hipporines, unicorns, and lamias, add their unique qualities to the unusual settings that the author has created for Wings. The parallel worlds are a new concept employed by Baker, but magic dominates the novel as well as its heroine. As a “halfling,” Tamisin endures prejudice from humans and magical creatures alike. Jak is a main character as important as Tamisin, and the author compares them by presenting Jak’s perspective of the story versus Tamisin’s. He becomes a friend who understands Tamisin’s situation, for he is also a halfling who feels like he belongs in neither world. Titania herself is given an in-depth character behind her beauty and pride. Romance appears in Jak’s and Tamisin’s relationship, while humor is evident among Jak’s goblin friends and other magical creatures. Tamisin’s self-esteem and happiness depend on her acceptance of herself, her family, and forgiving Titania for her choices. Another human story enfolded in magic and adventure,Wings is indeed a refreshingly new fairy tale.
Original review: E.D. Baker continues Titania’s story in her take on ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, Examiner.com