Title: Wicked Lovely
Author: Melissa Marr
Publication Year: 2007
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library
From the cover:
Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in 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.
My last year of teaching in Canada, one of my students asked if I had read any Melissa Marr. I had heard of her, but didn’t even know what kind of books she wrote. I told him I would look into it, and then promptly forgot.
So when I got more into reading YA fantasy series this year, and found the Wicked Lovely books in my library’s online collection, I had to pick them up. And after reading the Iron Fey series, I had already realized that I liked books about the fae more than I had thought I would. So I went into this series with fairly high hopes.
Wicked Lovely did not disappoint. Marr does a great job with the characters, the writing style, and the overall premise. I loved the intricacies of the both Aislinn’ and Keenan’s backstories. There was so much there to unpack, including the conflicts and relationships with other characters like Donia and Leslie. Every one of them played an important part in the narrative, and were fleshed out to my satisfaction, unlike a lot of YA series where any characters who aren’t in the main romantic relationship are kind of just skeletons.
One of the things that I really wanted to draw attention to in this book was the relationship between Aislinn and Seth. In some ways, it’s a lot like many other romantic relationships in YA books. On the other, though, Marr has made a choice to subvert some of the expectations the reader might have for a book geared towards teenagers. There isn’t any explicit sex going on in the book, and Aislinn decides at one point that she isn’t ready for intercourse with Seth … but they go on to do other things. In face, it’s explicitly mentioned that Seth … well … it’s implied rather strongly that he performs oral sex on her. This is basically unheard of in any other YA book I’ve ever read. It’s just not something that’s ever mentioned as an option. When I read this in the book, a part of me was jumping for joy at the awesomeness of someone actually suggesting that a man might want to pleasure his girlfriend even if she wasn’t ready to do other things with him. And this wasn’t the only way that Seth was supportive of Aislinn, but it was definitely one of the most subversive.
If you’re going to pick up any YA or fantasy series, make it Wicked Lovely. It’s seriously fantastic in a lot of ways.