Wicked Lovely, by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely, Melissa Marr’s debut novel, is a YA gothic fantasy that falls somewhere between Holly Black’s gritty, atmospheric fairy tales and Stephenie Meyer’s angst-filled Twilight series. Marr’s book has its weak spots, but this modern Tam Lin adaptation is more than entertaining enough to overcome them.

Seventeen-year-old Aislinn was born with the ability to see faeries, and she’s learned that the only way to avoid these terrifying, casually vicious creatures is to pretend to be as oblivious as the rest of humankind. Her “ignore them and hope they go away” policy has served Aislinn well for years, but it’s no match for Keenan, the Summer King of Faerie, who's just decided that Aislinn would make the perfect Summer Queen. Unfortunately for Keenan, there are a few problems with this plan:

A) His evil, power-hungry mother, the Winter Queen, who’ll stop at nothing to thwart him.

B) Donia, the previous (unsuccessful) Summer Queen candidate, who’s under a curse until the next Summer Queen is found.

C) Seth, Aislinn’s hot, over-protective, male best friend, and…

D) Aislinn herself, who’s really not interested in becoming his Queen—or having anything else to do with him. Ever.

Marr’s villain falls a little flat (the Winter Queen’s chosen form is an evil Donna Reed-style housewife, but she’s not quite grotesque enough to be threatening) and her male characters could have used more work—Keenan is too self-indulgent to be appealing, while Seth is too idealized to be plausible. Wicked Lovely’s heroines are much more interesting: Aislinn is quietly resourceful, while Donia is a powerful, lonely figure with strength and willpower to burn.

While Wicked Lovely isn’t exactly an installment effort, Marr leaves enough untold story to justify a sequel or two. There will definitely be an audience out there for the ongoing adventures of Donia and Aislinn, and it’s possible that Seth and Keenan might improve upon further acquaintance. We look forward to seeing more of Marr’s work, whether it’s set in this world or a different one.
Posted by: Julia, Last edit by: Julianka


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