I just finished the fourth book in the Wicked Lovely series, just in time for the fifth and last book, Darkest Mercy, which officially comes out in two days but is likely already available because it's probably not a Strict On Sale. I'm still in awe, so it's probably not the best time to write a review. I can't decide if it beats out Ink Exchange for my favorite of the series, but it would still be a close second.
The Good: I love the maturity of Melissa Marr's writing. It's not just the OMG- doeshelikeme?- doeshenot? of high school, but life or death situations and realistic reactions for characters so young. Adults and teens can love this book because the characters are accessible to the teens, but the conflicts are mature. I'm sick of walking through the teen section and seeing books about spoiled, shallow, self absorbed, idiotic bimbos for characters. And we wonder why girls are so horrible... Books (and tv) should not be encouraging the petty games that girls play, they should encourage strength and confidence and intelligence. Melissa Marr makes me proud to be female.
I saw MM speak at my bookstore for the release of this book (yes, before I had read it) and she just struck me as the most interesting person ever. Normally, feminists succeed in nothing other than pissing me off. It's not that I disagree with their views, as a matter of fact I agree, but it's that they are so pushy and demanding. I don't appreciate anyone pushing their views on me. At all. Even if I have the same views, my annoyance blinds me to my own opinions. I must have just attracted the crazy ones, but I had never met a self declared "feminist" who didn't make me turn right around. Then again, maybe the stamp should have warned me in the first place. I don't appreciate people who wear their opinions on their foreheads. I guess I'm not a people person. (Who am I kidding, I know I'm not.) Melissa Marr made me realize that it's not girls I hate, it's the petty games. I'm actually all about strong females. Rock on, Melissa. I think you will change lives.
But I'm distracting myself from the view. Moral of the story, I love strong characters who protect the people and ideas around them they care about, and I love characters who don't put up with bullshit. Read: Melissa Marr = Awesome. I can't wait for Graveminder to come out this summer, and I'm sad there is only one more book left in the Wicked Lovely series.
The Bad: It was hard to get into Ani and Devlin's relationship until you were far into the book. It was there, I new the characters were connected, but because the connection was mysterious to the characters it was mysterious to me as the reader. And the fact that they were both trying to stay away from each other didn't help. They were separated for too long, and there was too much running away that didn't seem to have any consequenses until late in the book, when everything got rolling at once. When their connection finally becomes clear, when we found out why they were connected, it was just all kinds of awesome. The plot, the characters, and the relationship all exploded at the same time. It was awesome when it happened, but I thought it happened too late in the book. Everything was wrapped up too quickly.
I'm am making that sound like a bigger deal than it actually was. It just took me a while to explain it properly. The book rocked. Ani was such a strong character, and she tried so hard to keep herself from everything she wanted for the safety of those around her. It struck a chord with me. There are a few things around me that I will always protect, and it makes you think about how far you will go in the face of a threat. Plus, since Ani is a Hound she was just plain fun. I was a little disappointed that the crew didn't face Bananach after Tish's death. Yes, B showed up at the house, but it felt like an empty battle. I wanted to see revenge. It makes me even more excited for the next book. But evidently (and this is just hearsay) Ani and Devlin are left out of the last book. I can understand, because their plot threads were resolved, but hopefully their conflicts are resolved too.
Don't let any of this turn you off. The book rocked. If you haven't read the books, definitely start with Wicked Lovely, but I think it's okay to read them in order or to read Fragile Eternity next. That's how I read them. There will be a bit given away at the ending of IE if you read FE, but it's not the main thread of the book so I think it's okay. But you should try to read them in the order the author intended. IE and RS should definitely be read after another, though.
Conclusion: read the whole series, and support a kick-ass author.