HarperCollins Canada, 2010
Hunger for nourishment.
Hunger for touch.
Hunger to belong.
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?
From HarperCollins Canada website
When discussing works by certain authors, I find it very hard not to gush like the fan girl that I am. Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series definintely falls into that Oh-my-God-I-love-it-so-much-squee! category.
I was so happy when this review copy came to me via HarperCollins Canada and I was so excited to see what the gang was up to. But I should have known that Melissa would change things up like she always does. See, while Radiant Shadows is part of the Wicked Lovely series (as is Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity) this is a companion series. So the main characters that we saw last time in Fragile Eternity weren’t the main characters in Radiant Shadows. In fact, we hardly saw some of them at all.
That’s one of the things that’s so great about Radiant Shadows: it could be the first Melissa Marr book you pick up and you won’t be totally confused because it’s the fourth book written in the series. The main characters, Ani and Devlin were, at best, secondary characters up until this point. Their story really starts in this book.
And what a story! While all of Marr’s couplings have their issues (no perfectly happy ending for most) these two are, perhaps, the angstiest, at least at the start. Then they kinda hit their groove and that’s that. I think some readers are going to bitch at the lack of heavy duty romance in this one, but for me, it made sense. Or maybe it was full of heavy duty romance and in my old age it doesn’t make me gag as much as it used to. Either way, Melissa achieved the right balance. The main story was Ani’s journey of self-discovery. And watching her come into her own was great. Sure Devlin was a part of that, but he wasn’t the be all and end all. While Ani isn’t a 100% good character (she is of the Dark Court, after all) she is a likeable character.
Devlin I’m kinda meh about. I mean, he was interesting enough and all, but when compared to the other men in the series (Niall, Irial, Seth, Keenan) I’m not sure he stood up. I’m hoping that once I get to know him better in other books he’ll grow on me.
I’m not a fan of traditional fantasy novels, and while Radiant Shadows is, technically, an urban fantasy, there was a heck of a lot of time spent in Faerie, and I was fascinated by it. As I was by all the dealings and politicking between the courts and the individuals within each court. I enjoyed it so much, that I’m thinking of delving into the world of straight fantasy books, with no urban in sight.
Melissa’s writing, as always, was captivating and detailed. Honestly, I applaud her for being able to keep everything and everybody straight. There are some new characters in Radiant Shadows, some old characters that don’t make it to the end and other characters remain missing. This isn’t a happy book, but then none in the series are.
Towards the end there are some major shake-ups in the Wicked Lovely world, and while Radiant Shadows didn’t necessarily end in an Holy crap cliff-hanger, it still left me with my jaw open, wanting more.
Fans of Melissa Marr should be more than happy with Radiant Shadows. And new readers will definitely be sucked into the Wicked Lovely world.
Browse inside Radiant Shadows.
Big thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the review copy.