Book Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Posted February 2, 2013 by Renae // 20 Comments

Book Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Title: Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely #1)
Author: Melissa Marr
Release Date: June 12, 2007
Publisher: HarperTeen

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.

Renae has written book reviews and other miscellany for Respiring Thoughts since 2012. She loves dogs, Mexican food, mountains, Shakespeare, and procrastinating. She's currently working on an undergrad degree in English/Spanish lit in the Midwest. Connect with Renae on Twitter, Goodreads, and Tumblr.

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20 responses to “Book Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

  1. I read this one awhile ago, and haven’t gotten around to finishing the series, but I really enjoyed this first book. Aislinn’s independence and her relationship with Seth are major strengths of the book and are what really stuck with me the most. I really do have to get around to the rest of the series one of these days…
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    • I’ve read the first two books so far, and I think that Wicked Lovely is probably better than Ink Exchange. I think it’s interesting how Aislinn isn’t the main protagonist in all 5 of the books, so I’ll be anxious to catch up with her again in book 3—hopefully she’ll still be as strong and proactive as she was here (though I’m honestly a little worried about the appearance of a love triangle…)

    • I do like the world-building that Marr has put into this series—it’s different than I was expecting and definitely keeps things interesting.

    • Right? I mean, even though I didn’t personally care for Aislinn as a person, I was totally able to respect her and root for her throughout the book. I’ve also read the second book in the series, Ink Exchange, and the protagonist, Leslie, proves herself equally strong in the end. Melissa Marr definitely knows how to write a female lead.

  2. I read this whole series before I started blogging (and liked one of the titles enough to name my blog after it!) and I do think (from what I remember) that Wicked Lovely was my favourite. I enjoyed the other ones, but Aislinn’s fear/respect of the Fey in Wicked Lovely added a level of suspense that was slightly missing in the rest of the series.
    Kelly recently posted…Keeping Up With the Blogosphere!My Profile

    • I think it was because of your blog that I first heard about the series. I was all “Radiant Shadows sounds super awesome! I wonder where she came up with it?” 😀

      I did get a chance to read the second book during the car trip I read this one, and while I definitely didn’t like it as much as Wicked Lovely, I really love Marr’s consistently strong female leads. And maybe I’ll be a bigger fan of book 3, when I catch up with Aislinn & Co again.

  3. GREAT review! I *still* haven’t read this one! I dragged my feet in even wanting to check this one out initially, though I can’t remember why. I have wanted to check it out for some time now, so I was glad to see this review! Coming from someone who doesn’t usually read this genre,I’m glad you enjoyed it overall! It made me want to check it out sooner 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    • I definitely wasn’t expecting to like this much at all. I thought to myself: “Bleh, fairies and chosen ones, going to be lame.” Totally surprised it wasn’t like that!

  4. This one has been on my to-read for the longest time! I keep seeing mixed reviews about the series, so I’m a little nervous. I love fae though, and it seems like this one had some awesome qualities other than just being paranormal. Perhaps I’ll move it up. 🙂
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    • I haven’t seen any reviews below 3 stars, personally, but all the reviews from my GR friends and such were from people who enjoy the genre normally, whereas I don’t tend to. I do think though, that the fact that Marr dealt with issues only seen inside contemporary/realistic fiction was the biggest part of the attraction. How many fairy books have you read where they seriously talk about protection and getting tested for STDs before having sex? (Well, how many books in general?) I was so happy about that part!

        • Oh…right. Whoops, my bad! 😉

          Confession: I didn’t like Ink Exchange nearly as much as Wicked Lovely. I haven’t read the other three, but I will eventually.

    • Actually, I rated this 4 stars. I never give a book 5 stars unless I had zero issues whatsoever with it. I do recommend this though, obviously.

  5. Oh yay! I thought you were going to dislike this, but I’m glad you didn’t. Your early statuses made me nervous, but I hoped it would turn around when Keenan didn’t end up being her love interest. How rarely does that happen?

    All of the next ones aren’t as good, but it’s a pretty solid series. I’m sure you’ll work through them in quick succession the way you do. :-p
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Review: The PreyMy Profile

    • When Keenan was introduced I was pretty much “oh shit, here comes the instalove and ridiculous nonsense and ohelp please.” Marr lived to ruin my expectations, obviously!

      I have already read Ink Exchange and I liked it better mostly, except that I didn’t like the second half AT ALL. Meh. We’ll see how I feel about the other 3 books.

      • Hmmm, I do not remember it well enough to make any comments about Ink Exchange. I never finished the series, so, at some point, I’ll need to reread the whole damn thing. Reading them a year or so apart, it was hard to keep straight the characters from the previous books, and I’m pretty certain that’s important, because they continue to make cameos.
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