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Melissa Marr – Faery Tales & Nightmares

April 11, 2012

35. Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr (2012)
Wicked Lovely, related

Read By: Mia Barron & Kaleo Griffith
Length: 9h 27m (432 pages)

Genre: Short Stories, YA Fantasy

Started: 26 March 2012
Finished: 29 March 2012

Where did it come from? From Harper Audio for review.
Why do I have it? I enjoyed the Wicked Lovely books, and had been eyeing the kindle versions of “Old Habits” and “Stopping Time” for a while.

Don’t trust the Faeries…
or any other creature
that you chance to meet.

**Spoilers for the Wicked Lovely series, ahoy!**

Summary: Faery Tales & Nightmares is a collection of Melissa Marr’s short stories, slightly more than half from the Wicked Lovely Universe, and the rest in different worlds, but all with a host of magical, dangerous creatures, and a dark perspective on magic and its costs.

Individual Summaries and Reviews: – “Where Nightmares Walk” (1:39) is not a story per se – less than a full page of printed text – but it does give a hint of proper nightmare feeling.

– “Winter’s Kiss” (16:44) is a fable of a girl who carries winter inside her, and the bear who is capable of withstanding even that chill. This was a short piece, and I feel like the enchanted bear thing has been done before, but it nicely captured the rhythm and tone of a fairy tale or myth.

– “Transition” (58:58) is a vampire story, but it’s not one of *those* vampire stories. Rather, it’s a dark story about love and hate and obligation, and about how a vampire can and can’t go about ridding itself of the one that sired it. This story grew on me as it went along, and wound up reminding me of some of the more dark and twisted parts of Buffy.

– “Love Struck” (1:20:38) is a selkie story, only in Marr’s version, it’s not a fisherman who traps the selkie, but a male selkie who tricks a human girl into taking his skin and thus becoming his mate. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this one; it ended okay, but for a large part in the middle there was a sizable whiff of Stockholm Syndrome about the whole thing that was really putting me off.

– “Old Habits” (2:13:50) is the first Wicked Lovely-related story in this collection; it takes place after the events of Ink Exchange. Niall is the new Dark King, but he’s still adjusting to the position. Irial, the former Dark King and now Niall’s advisor, only wants what’s best for the Dark Court and for Niall, but those aren’t always the same thing, and Irial has got centuries of secrets to keep. I didn’t like Irial much at all after Ink Exchange, but this story provided an interesting look at things from his point of view, and I wound up finding him pretty sympathetic.

– “Stopping Time” (1:33:19) is also a Niall and Irial story, although it also features Leslie, the mortal girl that both faeries love, and neither one can have. Leslie has done her best to stay away from the world of the Dark Court, but with two powerful faeries that love her, she’s never truly alone. But when she’s really in danger, can either of them save her in time? This story also takes place at some point after Ink Exchange, but it wasn’t clear to me how it related in time to “Old Habits” – the order of the stories in this collection suggest that “Stopping Time” occurs later, but if that’s the case, Niall & Irial’s interactions didn’t always reflect what had happened in the previous story. (Ditto if “Stopping Time” was supposed to be chronologically first.) Other than that, though, I liked this one too, and it had some nicely sweet moments.

– “The Art of Walking” (9:17) is a short piece about an idyllic mountain valley, and what it takes to keep it so idyllic. This was an interesting idea, but I think it was a little too short – I found the ending to be pretty abrupt.

– “Flesh for Comfort” (10:06) is the story of a girl who just wants to be pretty, and the extreme measures she will go to in order to achieve that goal. The whole “price of beauty” message was not particularly subtle, but this story had a high enough gross-out factor to make it effective.

– “The Sleeping Girl and the Summer King” (21:09) is the story of a girl caught between remaining a member of the Summer King’s court, or taking Winter’s chill into herself. This story confused the hell out of me, since the girl in question is named Aislinn, but the rest of the world doesn’t fit into the established Wicked Lovely mythology, so I spent the entire time trying to figure out if this was in some far future, or if it was a different Aislinn, or what. In the introduction to the printed version (which is not included in the audio version), it says that this story was written first, and provided the basis for what would eventually become Wicked Lovely. That makes sense, but ye gods I wish I’d known that when I listened to the story the first time.

– “Cotton Candy Skies” (24:58) is another story in the proper Wicked Lovely universe, taking place after Radiant Shadows. Rabbit, the tattoo artist, is stuck in Faerie, and feeling somewhat at loose ends without his art or his sisters to take care of. This was an okay story, although since Rabbit is a pretty minor character, and never one I was attached to, I never got particularly involved.

– “Unexpected Family” (59:11) also takes place after Radiant Shadows, and involve Seth dealing not only with his new status, but also the mortal life he left behind. When his parents contact him, Seth (accompanied by Niall, his opposite number) must travel to find out if they’re in danger, and what can be done to save them. I liked this story quite a bit, although how much of that is due to just plain liking Seth as a character, I’m not sure. It probably had the most humorous bits of any story in this anthology, though, so it provided a nice touch amidst all the dark and twisty parts. Also: road trip!

– “Merely Mortal” (54:31) takes place after Darkest Mercy, and involves Keenan and Donia trying to find a balance in with their new roles in their relationship. Donia was less awesome and more hand-wring-y than I remember, but giddy, ebullient Keenan is a sight to see, and no mistake.

Recommendation: There are so many stories in this collection in the Wicked Lovely universe that I can’t imagine it appealing (or being understandable) to anyone who isn’t already a fan of Marr’s novels. But if you’ve read the Wicked Lovely books – ALL the Wicked Lovely books, else beware major spoilers – then these stories are a nice way to spend some more time in that world. 3.5 out of 5.

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

Other Reviews: Bewitched Bookworms, Dark Faerie Tales and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
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First Line: It’s not always easy to see the path when you’re on it, but looking back is often much clearer.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2012 11:57 am

    I have been considering this, but I want to finish the series first. I know that my interest in her books fluctuates with each edition: Some I love and some are just okay. I am sure this will be a similar experience…

    • April 18, 2012 5:45 pm

      Kailana – DEFINITELY finish the series first. I know what you mean about the uneven nature of the series; I don’t know where you got stopped, but I thought Ink Exchange was my least favorite, and things went uphill from there, although none were quite as good as the first.

      • Elsie permalink
        July 21, 2012 1:32 pm

        exactly fyrefly, I fell that after wicked lovely it became more abouty the politics of faery and less about the characters and their thoughts, loves, and feelings. I am in the middle of “darkest mercy” which thankfully is better than ink exchange. The other one I liked was fragile eternity. But none grabbed me more than wicked lovely. I felt then like I cared allot about the characters. But now I spend most of the books confused on whats going on becauses everything happens too fast! I mean there is fast paced and then theres so much action the book feels like a summary! The first book was character driven while the rest feel like the characters are merely being dragged by the events.

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