Howdy all! Khadija @ Black Fingernailed Reviews, one of my most favorite people in the blogosphere, has graciously decided to extend to me (and of course you!) her review of Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr! Thanks so much, Khadija!
Title: Radiant Shadows
Series: Wicked Lovely
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: Harper Teen
Teaser: Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers. Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries' coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death. Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?
My Review: The Wicked Lovely series is a favorite of mine. It's not just an interesting and unique fairy series, it's not just an unbelievably awesome character series, and it's not just an amazingly written series; it is all those things and so much more. What Melissa Marr does to me when I start reading one of her books is hard to explain but it's a mix of those three things the idea, the characters, and the writing and when those three things blend together so effortlessly its bound to make for an amazing book.
I had no doubts reading Radiant Shadows that Marr would let me down and I love that! I love when I get so invested in an author and their writing that I never doubt what I'm about to read will blow my mind. Of course there is always a completely unpredictable element with Melissa Marr because you never know what she'll pull out of her bag of tricks next with all the character story mashing.
I don't think I expected to fall so head over heels in love with Ani. But since I'm all about the honesty let me just start off by saying that none of Marr's previous characters in the series (and I've loved all of them) have been as relatable to me as Ani. There was just something there and when I was reading her story I was so far into her mind that I was her.
Devlin. It's not that I have mixed feelings about this guy it's just that he baffled me in so many ways. He was a combination of a lot of things, he was sort of like the embodiment of feelings every person on this planet can relate to: the struggle of belonging, being yourself, trusting. He's that puzzle that's always missing a few pieces. And in the end when he finally made a decision to be himself it was like breathing fresh air after being underground on the subway for too long, a bit dizzying but completely refreshing.
Melissa Marr's characters have the potential to mean something to everyone. They are just so layered and complex.
The uniqueness of Melissa Marr fey is simple enough to explain: No matter how hard you try to compare her faeries to other YA fairies, you'll never find ones that are quite the same. You'll never find War and Reason, Dark and Light, Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Love and Death, all represented in her fey.
Now here comes the hard part: The story-line, the writing. In all the YA books I've read (and I've read quite a few) the hardest to explain are Melissa Marr's. She is a true storyteller, she weaves emotions so powerful into her words that at times they'll take your breath away. Her story-lines might not be everyone's cup of tea; At first look they might seem simple or familiar but the great thing about stories like Radiant Shadows is that they are vast and endless wells. You can always dig deeper and find more.
A good story has one of three elements: great characters, great writing, great story. But an unforgettable story has all three and for me Radiant Shadows was unforgettable. It doesn't make me sad to think that Darkest Mercy will be the last book in this amazing series because I know that Melissa Marr is one of those authors who's writing I'll be addicted to for as long as she writes.