Friday, March 5, 2010

Review - Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely, Book 4) by Melissa Marr (3/5 stars)

This is the fourth out of five planned novels in Marr's Wicked Lovely series; I got this book as an advance reading copy through the Amazon Vine program.  I will say right out that in general I have found this whole series to be kind of eh; just okay, nothing great.  This book was no exception to that rule.  If you loved the other books you will probably love this one; if you thought the other books were just so-so...well this one is the same.  You definitely need to read the previous books to understand what's going on in this one.

This book is told mainly from the point of view of Ani (half-fairy whose father is Gabriel, Leader of the Hounds/Hunt) and Devlin (The Fairy Queen's assassin).  Ani can feed off of mortal emotions which is unheard of in any fairy court.  Iriel is trying to figure out what makes Ani special; her ability to feed off of mortal emotion could save the whole Dark Fairy Court.  When the two main forces of Fairy, Sorcha (the Queen) and Bananach (Lady War), begin to suspect that Ani might be special they want her.  Devlin is forced to choose loyalties when Sorcha's wishes contradict for his love for Ani.  Sorcha is depressed at Seth leaving fairy and her inattention begins to unravel fairy.  Devlin must choose Ani or Sorcha.  Ani must choose if she will flee or fight.

There were a couple things I liked about this novel.  I liked the inclusion of Iriel.  I also liked that we finally get to learn more about Sorcha and Bananach; they are interesting characters.  I liked Ani's character.  Ani was a tough girl who could take care of herself; I liked her spunky attitude, she was one of the better heroines that Marr has written about.  I unfortunately didn't like Devlin.  I know he is supposed to be emotionless, but he was like cardboard through most of the book..mostly 2D with stilted language that sounded forced.  The plot is pretty interesting and revolved more around what was happening in fairy than the previous books have.  I liked the inclusion of the Hounds and their Steeds but wished that Marr had gone into deeper detail on the relationship between Hound and Steed. 

There were also many things I didn't like.  Marr's writing style is a bit too simplistic, she is light on description and the environment in the book suffers because of this...I always have trouble getting a good picture of both the characters and the surroundings.  The dialogue between characters never seems as natural as it should.  While there were some interesting differences in this story, much of it followed the general plotline of previous books...boy and girl fall suddenly deeply in love but their relationship just can't be for a number of reasons.  Towards the end of the book I was a bit confused about how Summer and Winter Courts interact with the Queen's Court and the Dark Court; that whole interaction could have been made clearer.

The ending was different and interesting; I am still trying to decide if it really makes sense with the way the fairy courts are constructed...either way it was an interesting solution to the problems the characters were having.

Overall this was another mediocre entry in this series.  These books are super quick reads, so I don't mind reading them too much.  I want to finish the series, but I am struggling because I have trouble really caring about any of these characters.  After this series is over I probably won't pick up an more books by Marr.  There are just too many other really great authors out there to read.  I would recommend Holly Black's Modern Fairy Tale, Aprilynne's Wings, Maggie Stievater's Lament, and Levingston's Wondrous Strange series over this book.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely)

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