Series: Wicked Lovely #1
Author: Melissa Marr
Release Date: June 12, 2007
Page Count: 328
Summary from Goodreads:
Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty - especially if they learn of her Sight - and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.
Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.
Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.
But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.
Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.
I definitely dragged my feet before finally starting Wicked Lovely. I’d hear a lot of great things about Melissa Marr, but paranormal fiction—especially with fairies—isn’t something I seek out on a regular basis, and as a YA contemporary kind of girl, I’m not sure if I’m this book’s target audience. And, I admit, that it took me a little while to get warmed up to this book. (I did read this on a car trip, though, so my focus wasn’t at its best.) I’d say, though, that the last 30-40% of the book definitely grabbed my attention, and in the end, pushed this from “Yeah, I like this.” to “Hey, Ms. Marr knows how to do it!” territory.
Wicked Lovely’s protagonist, Aislinn, can see fairies. So she runs around her town seeing fairies, pretending to ignore them and being more or less ignored by them. But then the fairies start pursuing her, and she meets the Summer King, Keenan, who tells her that she’s destined to be his queen, just as long as she steals the Summer Magic (or whatever) back from his evil mother, the Winter Queen.
From there, I honestly expected Aislinn to fall instantly in love with Keenan, (who is one of the biggest dicks around), swoon into his arms, become queen, and then live happily ever after with King Dick. Boy was I wrong! While Keenan’s going all 16th century on Aislinn, she (having been raised by a progressive women’s rights activist) tells him in no uncertain terms that she a) doesn’t belong to him, b) won’t become his girly-slave just because he’s super-gawguss, and c) has just as much right to free choice in a relationship as anyone else. And guess what? Aislinn’s top choice man-toy isn’t even Keenan.
Suck on that, King Dick!
Aislinn isn’t my favorite protagonist, and she did get on my nerves a bit—especially in the beginning. But she gets all the awards for being a solid-minded young woman who didn’t take crap from the hunky fairy dude. Winner!
Also, huge props to Melissa Marr for portraying sex realistically and objectively, which is pretty rare in YA fiction, especially outside realistic/contemporary fiction. The intelligent use of contraceptives and protection takes a big role here, and Aislinn’s love interest, who’s had previous sexual partners, gets screened for STDs when their relationship starts to get more intimate. Winner again!
I did have a few issues with Wicked Lovely, though: notably in relation to the bad guy and climax of the plot. So Keenan’s mother, the Winter Queen, is some big baddy, and the entire plot is hinged on this confrontation between her and Aislinn. Except it never really happens, and when Aislinn “becomes” the Summer Queen, it was kind of bleh. I felt Marr really built up for a big battle scene, but then gave readers a tweenager whinefest. Disappointing, certainly.
I was quite surprised by how much I liked this book. While Wicked Lovely does rely on a few genre tropes, it far exceeds most formulaic paranormal romances in many areas. It was nice to read a protagonist with a good head on her shoulders, and though I’m not anticipating on enjoying the next four books quite as much as this one, I still liked this a lot. Wicked Lovely thinks outside the box, which is always welcome.