Thursday, March 17, 2011

Halfway Point: Darkest Mercy

By: Melissa Marr
Genre: YA, romance, urban fantasy
# of Pages: 327
Current Page: 147
Rating: 5 out of 5

I am terribly sad to see this series come to an end. I've been there since Wicked Lovely was released in 2007, fawning over the beautifully intricate story since the very beginning. There is just something so musical in the way Melissa Marr weaves her tales and plays with her characters. There is a reason she's my favorite author, after all. Heheh.

I would love to do a summary of Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity, and Radiant Shadows in order to give a good idea of the plot leading up to this particular book, but I'm too afraid of giving away spoilers. T__T What I can sum up without throwing spoilers left and right, however, is that the Wicked Lovely series is the story of the courts of fey (Summer, Winter, High, and Dark -- the Shadow Court added in Radiant Shadows) and the struggles that lie between them. By this point in the story, the world of Faerie (in which reside the High and Shadow Courts) has been sealed, leaving the Summer, Winter, and Dark Courts alone to decide how to handle the oncoming war against Bananach, the faery embodiment of War and Chaos, and the many fey she has managed to draw to her from all courts. A large part of the story is also Aislinn's internal battle between her feelings for Seth, her best friend, and Keenan, the Summer King. Ink Exchange and Radiant Shadows are two "sister novels" to the WL series. Some say that they don't need to be read in order to understand the goings-on of the rest of the story, but I disagree. Radiant Shadows is actually my favorite of the novels to date, and a lot of integral plot occurs in there that is necessary to understand the magnitude of what is going to happen/happening in Darkest Mercy.

I have been very pleased with Darkest Mercy so far. Niall's delicate state of mind after Bananach's fatal attack on Irial at the end of Radiant Shadows is handled very well. Chapter 16 is my favorite of the book so far. It's only 3 pages, but it describes the fragile line that Niall is balancing on so well. He has always been my favorite character of the series, and reading chapter 16 made my heart break. My arms itched to reach out and hug him. Even though I knew it would have been a lie, I wanted to tell him that everything was going to be okay.

But, of course, I can't comment on this without commenting on my annoyance. I am very disappointed that Niall wasn't able to completely forgive Irial for his betrayal until somewhere near the end of Radiant Shadows, leaving absolutely no room for their relationship to grow within Darkest Mercy because of what happens at the end of Radiant Shadows. It was easy to hope that things would end up differently while I waited for DM to be released, but the prologue of the novel crushed those hopes beneath its steel-toed boots. With those hopes went a lot of beauty in the plot that I had been looking forward to since the end of Ink Exchange. Now, don't jump the gun. This annoyance isn't completely based on the fact that I'm a BL fangirl. While that was what opened my eyes to the beauty of Irial and Niall, the creative fiction writer and die-hard fan of this series in me are disappointed in the fact that such a beautiful and intricate relationship is going to be left unexplored. At this point in time, at least. I guess there is still hope that Ms Marr will delve into this relationship at a later point in time, but unfortunately, I can't say that I'm going to hold my breath.

The wonderful enigma of Far Dorcha (and Ankou, his sister) is introduced in Darkest Mercy. I fell in love with him the moment he showed up. His lack of discernable form (unless he wills himself an appearance) as well as his cryptic nature of speech draws the reader in. Not only that, but he is the only fey in existence who can cause the death of another fey without rhyme or reason. Little to nothing has been revealed about what his role in the story is, however. It's obvious that his appearance in Huntsdale can only mean A) an important fey is going to die or B) a lot of fey are going to die, but the way he presents himself makes it impossible to see his motives. And while he doesn't particularly like any of the fey he's come into contact with so far (Aislinn, Gabriel and the Hounds, and Donia), he doesn't seem to particularly dislike them either. Rather, he seems to enjoy playing games with them. He throws out his cryptic little riddles and says things that tend to rub who he's speaking with the wrong way, but doesn't outwardly seem to show any ill will towards anyone. I'm very interested to see how his role develops as the story progresses!

And now I've reached my stopping point. Once I post this I'll be headed off to start chapter 20, and I wouldn't be surprised if I had the book finished before the weekend is over. I was supposed to be reading The Return of the King for my Tolkien class, but...yeah.... I had Darkest Mercy in my hands and I lacked the restraint to leave it alone until Spring Break starts next week, heheh.

I don't even have to finish this book to know that I would recommend it--and the entire series, of course--to anyone who is interested in young adult fiction, especially that of the urban fantasy genre. The overall story is dark and the language can be heavy at times (the F-bomb is dropped at least once in each book), and it all blends together to create a fully realized world that is easy to form in the mind while reading. Every character is completely round and lovable in their own ways (even Bananach, strangely enough). I can't gush about this series enough and think that everyone should give it a try!

I'll see you again again soon! 

Happy reading!

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