Sunday, October 25, 2009

Melissa Marr’s WICKED LOVELY is Pumped Full of Heroines

In searching for my next high, I kept hearing great things about this book, Wicked Lovely. The title is hecka tight and the cover grabbed me, so I snatched it off the library shelves without even reading the flap copy. When I got home, I settled into my recliner and prepared to lose myself in the sweet stuff.

I cracked open the book and at about page 2, I stopped and thought, “Wait! Fairies? This book is about faeries?”

See, normally, I don’t do fairies.

The fey are similar to werewolves, vampires, and zombies in that they are well known mythical creatures. But the similarities end there, because unlike vampires who have a set of simple well known rules (except when a certain writer earns millions by making them sparkle, don’t even get me started), faeries are freakin’ complicated.

I didn’t read fairy stories as a little girl, so the difference between a brownie, a pixie, a sprite, and a nymph were not part of my prior knowledge. I didn’t grow up knowing that iron can kill faeries and that one should never, ever, ever, ever, ever eat or drink fairy food. If you haven’t noticed, I’m still having trouble spelling the word (I can’t decide if I’m British or not).

But luckily, I didn’t let this deter me from reading Wicked Lovely, because then I would have missed out on a fabulous book. Marr beautifully weaves fairy folklore with her modern, edgy story. I love that the teenagers in this story act like real teens, they’re into piercings and tattoos, they drink and smoke, they talk about sex, they have sex, and they are all imperfect.

Oh Junkies, don’t worry, this is all artfully alluded to, it’s not like Wicked Lovely is pages of debauchery, it’s just refreshingly realistic.

By my estimation there are 2.73 heroines in Marr’s first three books, Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, and Fragile Eternity.

In Wicked Lovely, we are introduced to Aislinn, a mortal teenage girl who has The Sight, she can see faeries. Growing up witnessing the horrible things they do to each other and to humans, Aislinn is terrified of the fey. She freaks out when Keenan, the fairy Summer King, and Donia, his Winter Girl, start following her.

Now this is where I started to love faeries. You see, they can’t lie, which makes every fairy essentially a lawyer. They’re thousands of years old and their world is split into these kingdoms with ever-changing alliances. The fey are constantly watching what they say and twisting each other’s words.

What’s great about Wicked Lovely is that Marr elaborately sets up a very tough situation for her heroine. Aislinn is left with two bad choices, and must choose the lesser evil. Lots of books do this, we spend a hundred pages watching the protagonist choose between a rock and a hard place.

Wicked Lovely breaks the mold when Aislinn chooses neither. She becomes a kick-ass heroine when she sets her own terms, and makes her own rules.

Now, Ink Exchange ranks lower on the bad-ass-heroine scale for me. Leslie, the protagonist, is a broken girl who spends the book learning her self-worth and gaining her strength to become a heroine. This book did, however, make me fall in love with Niall, the so-bad-he’s-good fairy. And I hope Leslie returns (stronger and ready to bust some heads) in Marr’s fourth or fifth book.

Fragile Eternity is a sequel to Wicked Lovely (but read Ink Exchange first. Pay attention, Junkies).

SPOILER ALERT: the ending of Wicked Lovely is implied by my comments about its sequel. Go read Wicked Lovely!

Aislinn loses some bad-ass points in Fragile Eternity. Yes, she is actually way more powerful than she was in the first book, but she doesn’t seem to realize this. She’s pushed around throughout the whole book. I get it, there will be 5 books in the series, and she’s just getting her footing in her new world, but it was disappointing to see her torn apart by the two men in her life.

Ok Melissa Marr (if by some miracle you’re reading this) I’m warning you. By book five, Aislinn better open-up-a-can-of-whoop-ass on the kingling and set all those boys straight as to who has the power, or else…I’ll be disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, Junkies, Fragile Eternity has no shortage of heroines. Donia comes into her own and leaves behind her sulky self from the first book and asserts her dominance. She is a tough chick not to be messed with. The third book also gives us more of brooding Niall, very sexy. And we’re introduced to another fairy queen. I haven’t decided if she’s a heroine or a villain yet. (Note to self: someday write a blog about bad-ass female villains. These books have at least 2 great ones).

Ok this post is looong, so let’s sum up:

Read Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, and Fragile Eternity (in that order)

Melissa Marr, here are my requests:

1) Leslie should come back, bigger and badder
2) Aislinn needs to open-up-a-can-of-whoop-ass
3) I love Donia (don’t kill her off, please!)
4) Introduce me to Niall.

I can't wait for Radiant Shadows!

OK Junkies, what do you think? Should I do separate posts for books in a series? Or can you suffer through these mega-posts about 3 books at a time?

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