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Melissa Marr – Radiant Shadows

May 24, 2010

53. Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr (2010)
Wicked Lovely, Book 4

Read my review of:
– Book 1: Wicked Lovely
– Book 2: Ink Exchange
– Book 3: Fragile Eternity

Length: 340 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Started: 09 May 2010
Finished: 12 May 2010

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Newly-released book in a series I’ve been enjoying.

Being half fairy
sucks, especially if you
get the nasty half.

Summary: Ani is not quite like anyone else, even within the hidden world of faeries. She’s half faery and half-mortal, born the daughter of the Gabriel, the enforcer of the Dark King’s will and the leader of the Wild Hunt. Not nearly fully human, but not fully accepted by the faeries, either, Ani wants desperately to belong… and that’s not even the worst of her problems. Because Ani’s not like other halflings, either; she needs to feed on both the emotion and touch of others to survive, and if she’s not restrained, she can quickly drain a faery to the point of death. This power is known only to a very few, but it is dangerous enough that it has made her a pawn in the games of two of the most powerful faeries in existence. But she won’t have to face it alone after she meets Devlin, a powerful faery born of both Order and Chaos, who has acted for millennia as the High Queen’s Bloodied Hands, and whose fate is somehow inextricably bound to Ani’s.

Review: I was initially kind of disappointed that this story was another “side” story like Ink Exchange. I became hooked on the Wicked Lovely series thanks to the story of Aislinn, Keenan, Donia, and Seth, and the first three of them don’t even make cameo appearances in this book other than an occasional name-check. But, if Marr just *had* to tell a story some non-them characters, I’m certainly glad she picked the characters she did. I found both Ani and Devlin to be interesting and sympathetic, if not quite as compelling as Aislinn or Donia in Wicked Lovely. I particularly liked they way Marr used her characters to play with the idea of balance, of order and disorder, of containing two opposing truths within one person (or one faery). Those same themes are also addressed within the story itself, making this on the whole a very neatly crafted piece of fiction.

Another thing Marr does well is write Dark. Even when she’s writing about the Summer Court, there’s a darkness and a danger that pervades her world, and it’s showing in full force in Radiant Shadows. It’s strong enough that I would almost call it grim… if not for the equally strong part of the story that deals with love and loyalty. Balance, I guess, huh? In that spirit, I must point out that there were a few things about Radiant Shadows that didn’t work so well for me. There were a few things that weren’t fleshed out enough, or entirely explained to my satisfaction, including a few sizeable plot points. (For example, I was never entirely clear how getting hold of Ani’s blood would result in increased power for those who were seeking it.) There were also a few parts that I felt happened unrealistically fast, or where the characters were being willfully disingenuous, or things were a bit predictable. On the whole, though, I quite enjoyed this book; enough so that by the end, I barely missed Donia’s presence… and that’s saying something. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Fans of the series will enjoy the new installment for sure; newcomers to Marr’s work shouldn’t start here, but should definitely check out the series as a whole if they like urban fantasy with a seriously dark side.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Links: Melissa Marr’s webpage

Other Reviews: Angieville, Boy With Books, I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read, In Bed With Books, Literary Escapism, My Favourite Books, My Friend Amy, The Story Siren, Tales of a Capricious Reader, YA Reads
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: Devlin stood immobile as the spectral girl approached.

Cover Thoughts: The girl’s a little bit older than I pictured Ani, but that might be due to all of the makeup, which is also in character.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2010 10:26 am

    I’ll admit that I only partly read your review since I have yet to read the previous books, but I’m glad to know this one is good too. I’m looking forward to reading the series!

    • June 9, 2010 11:38 am

      kay – I was surprised how much I enjoyed the first book in the series, and the rest have also been really good. Hope you enjoy them too!

  2. vic permalink
    May 25, 2010 3:32 am

    Interesting read. I love the curse/power the main character has, somehow resembles a unique form of vampirism.

    • June 9, 2010 11:39 am

      vic – Definitely! There are other characters who actually do feed off of bloodshed, but it’s a very similar concept.

  3. May 25, 2010 8:37 pm

    Ohmygosh! Your library already has this book? I don’t know if ours has even managed to acquire Fragile Eternity, yet. Holy budget constraints!! Where you do live? I’m moving there.

    • June 9, 2010 11:40 am

      Nancy – I am extremely lucky to live in a place with such a wonderful public library system. Don’t think I don’t know how lucky I am!

  4. May 29, 2010 1:36 pm

    I really need to read this! I bought it when it came out and still haven’t taken time to read it!

  5. June 1, 2010 7:39 pm

    I loved it and tend to love the side stories and the way they aren’t really side stories but rather pieces of a whole story. :P

    • June 9, 2010 11:41 am

      Amy – That’s true, and is probably a better way of looking at the series, but I just fell so much in love with the characters in the first one that when the other books didn’t focus on them so much, I felt a little bit cheated.

  6. August 18, 2010 8:43 pm

    I felt the same way you did initially – I get attached to the main characters of previous books and am reluctant to move on to new ones – but of course I quickly came to care a lot about Ani and her group of friends/family. I hear there is only one more to go in the series – I’m not sure how I feel about that!

  7. Lauren permalink
    November 25, 2010 12:57 am

    I just finished the first three books and am completely hooked on the Aislinn/Seth/Keenan story. The end of Fragile Eternity was such a cliff-hanger I immediately went to the bookstore to buy the next one, but I am very disappointed to find that they are not the main characters of this book. I enjoyed Ink Exchange, but I still like the main characters the most.

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