So, what happens after the happily-ever-after? Often we wonder, we imagine - particularly when a novel has an ending like Wicked Lovely - how the characters manage to live out their lives in the wake of what has happened to them. Did the ends tie up a little too neatly? One might think so - but in this direct sequel (but third book in the series) to Wicked Lovely, we see that happiness is a long way off for these characters.
I highly recommend that anyone interested in this series read the first too books first - otherwise this third one is bound to be very confusing. Possible spoilers for those who haven't read them follow, so be forewarned!
Aislinn, once a mortal teenager, is queen of the summer court. Her consort is Keenan, a handsome faery who cares for her, but is in love with Donia, queen of the winter court. Aislinn is in love with her mortal boyfriend, Seth. It would be an impossibly difficult situation simply on a personal level, but the fact is that the prosperity of the summer court is dependent on the relationship between Aislinn and Keenan. The fact that they are not true consorts weakens their court, and as high summer draws near, Aislinn finds herself being drawn more and more to Keenan, despite the fact that she knows that she really does not love him. Seth tries to understand, but he knows that his time is limited, and eventually Keenan is going to be the only one left. He comes to realize that his mortal weakness when compared with the faeries makes him a huge liability to Aislinn, and he despairs of ever being able to meet her on an even footing. Donia, who loves Keenan, must do what is best for her people, even if it means turning against her friends in order to maintain the winter court's strength.
The first part of the book is a slow unfolding of everyone's feelings for everyone else, complete with anger, betrayals, and angst. If I hadn't read and loved the first two books so much, I might have been less patient with the characters, although I often wished I could reach into the pages and shake some sense into them. Then, about halfway into the book, certain elements click into place, and the rest of the tale gathers momentum and is soon hurtling down steep paths and haring around breakneck curves. One of my favorite things about this series is that each character, even relatively minor ones, is a fully rendered, completely believable individual. These books are very character driven, and this depth of characterization makes the stories incredibly compelling. I would have been happier with a more conclusive ending, but I enjoyed this installment in the series and will be waiting anxiously for next one. Fans of Holly Black's Modern Faerie series would likely enjoy this series, too (and for those who are waiting for the next installment in this series, I suggest giving the Modern Faerie series a try).
Books in the Wicked Lovely series:
1. Wicked Lovely
2. Ink Exchange
3. Fragile Eternity
Fragile Eternity (#3 in the Wicked Lovely series) by Melissa Marr (Bowen Press, 2009)
Also reviewed at:
Fuzzy Cricket: "While this is a love story, to its core, it is also a story about balance. Finding balance in ourselves and with the people we live with, care for. Giving and taking in relationships."
In Bed with Books: "Suddenly I wasn't angry with these characters for blundering toward their own doom, but worried they would meet a doom no one wanted but no one could prevent because of misunderstanding."
My Friend Amy: "I seriously fell into this book and did not want to come out. It seems so rare these days to be transported completely away by a book and so I'm thankful when it happens!"
NineSevenEight: "Approximately halfway through things started happening. Exciting/cool/interesting things that kept me hooked until the highly frustrating and rather ambiguous cliffhanger-type end."