Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

I remember when I first read Wicked Lovely. I was so skeptical--a book about fey? A YA book? I thought neither of those things would be appealing to me. But I let the positive blurbs convince me. Oh how I loved it!

I've been a huge fan since then and I can't overstate what these books did for my reading life. They threw open the door to all of the YA I would grow to love. The best part, though, is that there were FOUR more books to come! I've loved them all, all of them. I adore the world of Huntsdale and it's fey, love the characters, love the themes. So it was not without a little sadness that I approached Darkest Mercy. First, can we all agree that the cover is stunning? It really gave me high hopes that the series would end well. And those hopes were well founded, the series ended brilliantly.


By this point, four books, two short stories, and two manga in we have a really well developed world and many characters. A lot has happened and I've always been impressed with the way Marr tells a single story while pushing forward the overarching tale. There's a lot of tension and drama that has built up and a lot of characters that need some sense of resolution to their stories. So Darkest Mercy really had a tall order to fill.

Thankfully we get to see most of the characters we've grown to love to some degree in Darkest Mercy. I would say that this book focuses primarily on Seth and Aislinn and Keenan and Donia, bringing us full circle which is incredibly appropriate for the way the series has been structured. There is, luckily for me, a fair bit of time spent in the Dark Court, as well, with Niall.

Things ended dramatically in Radiant Shadows as you may recall, with the formation of the Shadow Court and the closing of Faerie from the mortal world. Banananch attacked and Irial is in dire shape. Niall is overwhelmed with grief. Things are out of balance, Banananch is gaining power, and no one's happy in their love life!

The events unfold with a sense of dread..a new guy is in town and his name is Death. And that's all I'll say about that, but the lingering presence of doom, the gathering threat of war, gives the narrative a stronger sense of urgency than ever before. The same conflicts that have always existed are becoming so important as to force our characters into decision points that have permanent consequences. And yes, sacrifices will be made.

This is the kind of book you race through because you must know what will happen, and yet, when I finished I wished I could discover the series all over again for the first time. I love this world and always wish I could get more of it, which is the very best compliment I know to give a series of books. It sets my imagination on fire and I love the characters. And yes of course there's romance, the same strong romantic tension and conflict and angst that is part of the reason I adore these books so.

I loved Darkest Mercy, was sorry to see it end, but I'm so thankful it ended well. I have every one of these books in hardcover in my permanent collection. It was a smart investment--they are beautiful books and now I can revisit them whenever I want.

Rating: 5/5
Things You Might Want to Know: profanity, and a fair bit of sexual behavior though nothing explicit
Source of Book: Received ARC from publisher but also pre-ordered hardcover
Publisher: Harper

My reviews of Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity, Stopping Time and Old Habits, Radiant Shadows, and the first manga, Wicked Lovely: Desert Tales.


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