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Melissa Marr – Darkest Mercy

March 31, 2011

43. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr (2011)
Wicked Lovely, Book 5

Read my review of book:
1. Wicked Lovely
2. Ink Exchange
3. Fragile Eternity
4. Radiant Shadows

Read By: Nick Landrum
Length: 8h 38m (336 pages)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Started: 11 March 2011
Finished: 20 March 2011

Where did it come from? From Harper Audio for review.
Why do I have it? I had to find out how the series ended.

War is coming. Can
the faerie regents get their
acts together first?

Summary: War is coming to the Faerie courts, and the Death Fae already walk the streets of Huntsdale. The regents and their courts are in turmoil; Bannanach has alread killed some of her bretheren and mortally wounded others. The former Dark King lies on the edge of death, sending Niall into a spiral of grief and madness. Sorcha has sealed the walls of Faerie, isolating the High Court and creating imbalance in the real world. Summer King Keenan is still torn Donia between the fairy he loves but cannot have, and Aislinn, his Queen, who is herself torn between her duty to her court and Seth, the mortal-turned-fae that she loves. No one is best pleased, but they must learn to work together if they are to have any hope of defeating Bannanach and restoring a sense of order to the faerie world.

Review: In Darkest Mercy, Melissa Marr does the impossible: she manages to resolve all of the main plot points from the previous four books, in particular the love triangle (well, square) that seemed impossible to untangle, and she managed to do so in a way that was both surprising and satisfying. The various characters’ choices were frequently unexpected yet organic to the story, and that led to a lot of very interesting moments. Marr writes grim and dark very well, but she’s good about always infusing just a little bit of hope into the darkness… and conversely, of making sure even happy moments have a tinge of pain to them. I suppose that’s fitting for an author whose worldbuilding is concerned primarily with balance among the various faerie forces, and it makes the Wicked Lovely books a bit more complex than the fluffy teen paranormal romance that they appear to be at first glance.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t ever as involved with the story as I wanted to be. Perhaps it’s because over the previous four books I got just a skotch tired of everybody (*ahem* Keenan) bitching about how unfair their situation was, without doing anything constructive to fix things, so when they finally started taking action in Darkest Mercy, it was too late. Or maybe it’s because Marr was busily tying up everyone’s threads, which meant that there was a lot of bouncing back and forth between various POVs, with no real focal character. In any case, while I certainly appreciated the ending from the perspective of the series-long story arc, it just wasn’t as emotionally resonant for me as I could have wished.

I was also not crazy about the narration. I realize that Mr. Landrum has also been the narrator for the previous three books, but I read those rather than listened to them, so I hadn’t grown accustomed to him as the voice of Marr’s faeries. He was fine for the boys’ parts, but his voices for the girls tended to get a little lispy, which made it hard to take them seriously. In a book with this many POVs, it would have made sense to get a second (female) narrator; Alyssa Bresnahan did an excellent job with Wicked Lovely, and I found myself missing her contribution.

Overall, I liked but didn’t love this book, and thought it was a satisfying conclusion to a very enjoyable series, if not a particular stand-out on its own. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: This book will make absolutely no sense if you haven’t read the previous books… and if you have read the previous books, you’ll already want to read this one, too. I’d recommend the series as a whole to people who like paranormal teen romance but also like their heroines to have a brain and a spine, and those who prefer their fairies to exude power and menace rather than glittery fairy dust.

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

Other Reviews: Angieville, The Book Bind, Buried in Books, I Just Want to Sit Here and Read, Killin’ Time Reading, My Favorite Author, My Favourite Books, My Friend Amy, Read My Mind, Sarah’s Random Musings, The Story Siren
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: Niall walked through the ruins of the tattoo shop.

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