Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

wicked-lovely-coverWicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
328 Pages

So…Wicked Lovely. That’s kind of how I felt about this book. On two totally opposite ends of the spectrum. There were parts of the book that I absolutely loved and couldn’t tear myself away from and then there were those times where I just didn’t get it and was totally frustrated with the characters and the writing and wanted to throw it across the room :/ I’ll get into all that in a second though. First I’ll give you a very quick synopsis about what the book is all about.

Basically, the book centers around the fae world. But not happy, pretty little fairies, these are dark fairies that inhabit our own world and are invisible to the majority of us. There is a winter queen and a summer king. But the summer king is looking for his summer queen, a mortal girl, to be freed from his mother, the evil winter queen. Many mortal girls have tried to take the staff, but all have failed…and when they failed, they are doomed to become the winter girl, surrounded by cold and ice until the next girl is willing to leave her mortal life behind and take up the staff. The Summer King is Keenan and the newest girl that he has is eye on is Aislinn, a girl with “the sight”, a girl who is able to see the fairies that inhabit our world. But Aislinn is not eager to take up the staff and become Fae. She’s seen the evilness of many of their ways and she is in love with a mortal, Seth, a boy that she does not want to leave behind.

Ok…so now I’m going to just talk about the book a little bit and about the things that bugged me. Problem number 1, and what I think my whole problem boils down to, the book was too short. And because of that, there was no development. I felt like all of the action was jumped into right away without any of the characters being fully developed. Things were left unexplained frequently and half the time I was wondering WTF is going on or WTF is this person and where did they come from? Basically, I didn’t care enough about the characters.

I did care about Aislinn and that’s one of the reasons that I got pissed off. I felt like she was developed more than any of the other characters and I thought she was this wonderful, strong female lead at the beginning of the book…and then Marr turned her into this whimpering helpless girl and I thought WHY?? WHY DID YOU DO THAT??? Why can a female character never remain a strong female character in literature these days??? I just don’t get it! I mean, Aislinn comes back and becomes a strong character again, but then she goes back to being whiny and weak again. It’s like this back and forth game. I wish authors would realize that a character can go back in forth in their DECISION MAKING without going back and forth in their CHARACTER. There’s a big difference there.

I think Marr got this book right when she went into the fae world. I was totally captivated by that and got lost in the fairy scenes where the magic and the fantasy took over. The first scene in the book that honestly took me away was about 200 pages in when Aislinn goes to the Faire. That is until Keenan gave her the date rape drug…uh, I mean the summer wine….And then all of a sudden she was in love with Keenan and even though she kind of falls out of love with him, this is where things turn and she begins to consider becoming the summer queen…basically her decision making that affects the rest of her life starts because she was given a date rape drug….awesome….not.

And then there were the things that were just oh so convenient all the time. There were many of those things, but here’s my favorite: Fairies are weak to iron. Aislinn feels most safe when she’s with the boy that she loves, Seth. Guess where Seth happens to live? In a frickin train. Really? That’s convenient.

Ok…so even though I bashed this book completely in this review and am now being disowned by so so many people ( 😦 ) I have to admit something…overall, it entertained me. And I’ll probably read the rest of the books. Well, basically, I can promise you that I’ll at least read the next book. I just hope that it gets better and not so contrived. I did like the ending of this one…I’ll give Marr that. Now you may throw tomatoes at me :/


25 Responses

  1. Hmmm… You do make some interesting points, ones I’d not really thought when I listened to the audiobook, and I think that’s where the difference in our experiences lies, I was captivated by Alyssa Bresnahan’s narration.

  2. I didn’t have the problems you did, but the question is, can I explain why in less than 5300 words? πŸ˜‰

    About Aislinn: I never actually thought she was whiny, and I didn’t see her moments of vulnerability as weakness. I think that readers (and I’m of course including myself here) tend to demand more of female characters, and that in itself says something. Teen girl protagonists in particularly are easily seen as either incredibly strong, in an unrealistic sort of way, or, if they have failings, as weak. It’s tough to give them room to simply be people, and it’s hard to find a balance – I think Melissa Marr did a good job there, but I understand that not everyone will think the same.

    The scene with the summer wine was tricky, and it definitely gave me pause. For me, what made it work is that it never actually made Aislinn seen stupid (again, for me, I know others will see it differently). More importantly, there was no finger-pointing, no “If you get raped it will be YOUR FAULT” vibe. At least I don’t remember anything that would make me think that – it’s been a while and the details are hazy. I’ll bear what you said in mind when I read it again!

  3. It would be funny if people threw e-tomatoes at you for your opinions! I haven’t read any of Melissa Marr’s books yet, but I was thinking of reading the first one, Fragile Eternity – do you recommend it?

  4. I MIGHT try it, when I have nothing left to read. The sight, eh? Why does every hero girl in every paranormal book I’ve ever read have “the sight”? More importantly, after reading about all these heroines with ‘the sight,’ why don’t I have ‘the sight.’ This is bull plucky.

  5. I read the second book, Ink Exchange, first. And I remember really liking Marr. Then I went back to read this one so I could read the third book, Fragile Eternity. I remember liking Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity better than this one. I’m not sure if it was a timing thing for me or not. I think there is much more character development–the finally getting somewhere kind–in Fragile Eternity.

    One thing that confused me about reading this, and this could be completely me, but I was confused about Aislinn’s mother. And her involvement with the fae. Because didn’t she choose to die rather than to become one of the summer girls??? Or did I make that up completely?! I was trying to figure out if Aislinn’s father was ever named. And what the implications of that might be. The reason I *might* think it’s just me is that I read so many fantasy books it’s possible I’m blending two different series into one.

  6. I really hope i like this book, especially after buying it the other day! I have an on-off thing with fairies. They have to be done right or I can’t stand it. I’ve heard better things about this than the Tithe books, though. Which is good, because I couldn’t stand Tithe. Or Wings for that matter…

  7. I don’t think anyone should throw tomatoes at you for not liking a book! πŸ˜€ I think you raise some interesting points especially because they weren’t problems I had with the book. I felt like Aislinn did the best she could and grew into her confidence as the story progressed. I also really liked Ink Exchange, possibly more than Wicked Lovely, though I didn’t much like Aislinn’s character in it. Have yet to read Fragile Eternity though.

  8. Bart, I’m definitely going to have to try out the audiobook of these…I remember your review of that now and I think that’s what ultimately put it on my wishlist come to think of it!

    Nymeth, :p I’m disappointed at the shortness of your debate :p I just emailed Eva about this topic…about female characters in literature…and what it boils down to is this..you’re right :/ But here’s my thing. Working in my profession, I’ve sort of become a feminist as odd as that sounds. I see all of these young girls come in who think it’s ok to be beaten by a guy or to do whatever a guy tells them or whatever society thinks is right regardless of how THEY feel. They’re not true to themselves when they truly want to be deep down inside. So I guess I’m just looking for a book that shows an unrealistically strong female character to set an example for young teens. Someone who’s NOT Bella!! And Aislinn is by no means Bella…I think she actually was strong for most of the novel. But I wanted her to say that if she didn’t want to become the damn summer queen and give up her mortal life she wasn’t! She wasn’t going to make any compromises to appease Keenan and she wasn’t going to fall in love with him after he slipped her summer wine against her will when she had no idea what it was in the first place. So you’re right Ana…Aislinn is actually a very realistic girl and I guess we do expect too much of women in literature these days, but for me that’s only because I want to see a radical change from the way girls are presented so often these days. Perfect example that comes to mind is Frankie in Disreputable History…now she rocked!!

    Sharry, Actually I think this is the first one in the series. If it’s not then I messed up! Unfortunately, I just bought Fragile Eternity thinking it was the sequel, but alas, it’s not 😦 Ink Exchange is…Yeah, go ahead and read this one…I hear they get better!

    T.Y., Sigh…yep, that’s another one…the sight….everyone has the damn sight. It’s another convenience, but I guess that there has to be conveniences to a point to have a story. Though I kept wondering the whole time I was reading this one what the story would be like if she didn’t have the sight! I think it would’ve been cool!

    Becky, I’m glad you told me Ink Exchange was the second book because I just bought Fragile Eternity thinking IT was! I really would’ve been confused!! Her mom, from what I gathered ended her own life…but at the same time it seemed like she may have been killed??? That was another confusion that I had. So many confusing things!! And they just kind of brush off the topic of her dad like “oh, I never knew him” I was assuming that would come up in later books…does it not? Those are the kind of things I’m talking about that I wish would’ve been expanded on!

    Amanda, I hope you like it too 😦 I hope you have better luck with it than I did!! I actually have Tithe on my reading pile too. So I hope I have better luck with that one than you did πŸ˜‰

    Meghan, It sounds like lots of people didn’t have the same issues as me! LOL..maybe it was just a personal thing. Aislinn did do the best she could, I gues…I really just wanted a different outcome and I felt like Marr had the power to take it in a different direction if she wanted to. I’m going to keep continuing with the series though!

  9. lulz. Oh, this review makes me laugh, Chris. And while I did really like this book, I can TOTALLY see where you’re coming from. The lack of strong female characters in modern books is one of my biggest pet peeves too – it’s so hard to find an awesome one these days in the more modern stuff…. 😦

  10. The good thing about this series is that the books are a bit different each time, so you might not love Wicked Lovely, but you could feel entirely different about Ink Exchange. So, I do hope you carry on with the series.

  11. I wasn’t too crazy about this one either. I mean, I enjoyed it, and I do intend to read at least INK EXCHANGE in the future, but I was expecting it to be mindblowing and I was a little put out when it wasn’t. I think you’ve raised a lot of interesting points in your review.

  12. I’m not going to disown you!! You’re entitled to your opinion and honestly I loved what you said about Aslinn’s character being strong and then she turns into a wet noodle!!! I’ve got to say Book 2 and 3 are wayyyy better just in case you do finish the series!!! Oh, and BTW…I had a lot of those WTF moments while reading this one too!! I experienced that with Tithe by Holly Black…I think these books need to come with a fae world primer!! πŸ˜‰

  13. You are definitely entitled to your opinion and parts of this book obviously wound you up more than they did other people. Personally, I really enjoyed it. I understand what you mean about Aislynn and I know she was not a popular character with a lot of bloggers. I thought she basically represented a lot of normal women, who including me, struggle to make decisions and worry about the situations in their life. We can’t all be strong.
    I hope you enjoy Fragile Eternity better. I haven’t read it yet, but I am aware it is a lot darker than this one and from what I gather Melissa has drawn on a personal experience for this one. ( Don’t quote me on that though, I might be getting mixed up with another book). Thanks for being honest though and giving me other points to think about with this book.

  14. oh my.. i have this book on the tbr pile.. but I am sure by the time I get to it I won’t remember this review lol.. heck, by the time I get thru Drood I won’t remember ANY reviews! lol

  15. Whew…so many mixed opinions here…guess I’m just going to have to read it for myself, huh?

  16. I understand your concerns, Chris. And in case I haven’t told you before, I think the work you do is awesome and I love you for it. Well, I love you for other reasons too, but you know what I mean πŸ˜› Teen girls can definitely do with MUCH BETTER role models than Bella, but I worry that the emphasis on strength will end up replacing a limiting sort of model with another which is, if more desirable, equally limiting, you know? Basically, while I definitely don’t want teen girls to be told, “You have to be submissive and obey YOUR MAN!111”, I also don’t want them to be told, “You have to ALWAYS be strong.”

    What I want is for authors to write female characters who are complex and fully human, who are people with inner lives and motivations. I want them to be able to think for themselves and make their own decisions, as all people can. As long as they feel real to me, I don’t necessarily worry about strength. Anyway, let me shut up before I write another essay πŸ˜› This explains what I’m trying to say better than I could anyway.

  17. Great review!
    I have this one on my TBR pile, but every time I go to pick it up and read it, I hesitate. Now I’m very curious to see how I’ll feel about it; I’ve heard so much praise about it that I was scared to be disappointed, so it’s good to see another side of it!

  18. First off, no, you’re absolutely right. This is the first in a series. You didn’t mess up. ^-^

    Second, I repeat that I am so glad to have reminders that I am not the only person in the world who didn’t think this book was The Next Best Thing. (Conversationally, this does not stop me from recommending it to girls who liked “Twilight”. I think it contains much of the same reasons that book is liked and those reasons are handled better.)

    What Marr did absolutely right for me was her idea of the winter and summer girls. I love that idea. I also appreciate that she does try to stick to more traditional folklore when it comes to the fair folk, but like in most YA novels the tendency to ‘humanise’ them is too strong to resist and that makes me sad.

    I wish I remembered more of this book, but I really liked your review. Very clear and raising some interesting points on it. (Me = face-value person/naΓ―ve, so reviews like yours are a great source of information and thought-provoking material for me. ^-^)

  19. Great review, and great comments here! I’ve been waffling on picking this series up myself, although it’s very popular at our library and I do try to read some of the things our patrons read so that I can understand what tweaks their interest. And I find your thoughts on strong->weak and particularly the summer wine thing very thought-provoking indeed, because that’s the sort of thing that would annoy me if not downright anger me. That said, I was able to enjoy Twilight somehow despite Bella, and the worldbuilding of this series sounds really interesting, so maybe I will give it a try.

  20. *splat*

    Oh wait…I agree with you. Sorry, the temptation to throw the tomato got the best of me.

    You should read book 2. Like right now. Because that’s the one that disturbed me the most, and given what you think of the date rape wine, I’d love to know what you think about where Marr went with book 2.

  21. I didn’t love this one either for some of the same reasons. Aislinn’s whiny and helpless too much. Also, the shifts in point of view throughout made it hard for me to settle into one character and so I didn’t much care about any of them.

  22. Well I loved it. But I don’t think I thought about any of this thought I’m totally intrigued by Ana’s train of thought there. Always food for thought on your blogs, always! πŸ™‚

  23. No tomatoes. I loved Wicked Lovely, primarily because it was such a departure for me and I liked escaping into that strange world. But, I can see your points. This is one I didn’t get around to reviewing and I think part of the reason is that there were things I disliked but I wasn’t sure how to express them. Aislinn was certainly a better character than Bella, but the summer wine scene did bug me. I loved the ending because I thought she managed a decent compromise.

  24. You should read book 2. Like right now. Because that’s the one that disturbed me the most, and given what you think of the date rape wine, I’d love to know what you think about where Marr went with book 2.

    What he/she said. Seriously; it’s wallbanger-worthy disturbing. I actually liked #3, Fragile Eternity, the best of the bunch. But I’m sorry to say Aislinn doesn’t get any better–probably more wishy-washy than ever.

  25. I didn’t have the same issues you had with this one, but I think you make a lot of good points. It makes me want to reread the book. Thanks for your insightful review!

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