Tell Me More: Selkie folklore is, bar none, my favourite sea myth, so it won’t come asYou can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!
Tell Me More: Selkie folklore is, bar none, my favourite sea myth, so it won’t come as a shock to anyone that as soon as I found out about Tides, I knew I had to pick it up.
From the first melodic line in the prologue, Betsy Cornwell sets up a story that doesn’t guarantee a happy ending. And how could it, when so much of selkie mythology talks about how they are fleeting visitors in one’s life? Unlike many mermaids in popular culture, selkies may be enchanted by land, may need it, but they never stay for long. Cornwell does an excellent job of capturing the ephemeral nature of the selkie and her writing style fits very well with the way Noah begins to learn about them.
Interestingly enough, Tides employs a few different points-of-view within the story, a technique I also encountered in The Brides of Rollrock Island. I actually enjoyed the use of multiple narrators–it contributed well to the idea of dualism and differences within the story. The same theme is reflected in the cover: both the seal and woman move in different directions. Noah also finds himself facing conflicts between what he believes to be true, and what he has begun to see as fact, and Cornwell handles this uncertainty and confusion with a gentle hand.
If there was one thing I was dissatisfied with, it would be the way social issues seemed to pop up every few chapters. Merged seamlessly with the story, these aspects would not have been as distracting as they were, though I understood that the contemporary setting might have lent itself to that opportunity. That said, if a little more time had been spent elaborating on Lo’s bulimia, I think that conflict would have been an excellent addition to the story, as it fits with the theme of shedding a part of oneself to take on another form.
The Final Say: Tides is not a story to be read quickly–it is best consumed in pieces, to let the prose sink in and work its magic. Betsy Cornwell is an author to watch for her subtle and captivating writing style....more
Release Date:February 21, 2012 Publisher: Harper Teen Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 432 ForYou can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!
Release Date: February 21, 2012 Publisher: Harper Teen Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 432 Format: Hardcover Source: ARC received from publisher
Tell Me More: Melissa Marr is one of the reasons for my great appreciation of young adult fiction. Before reading Wicked Lovely, I had never really found a faery story that could capture my imagination. Faery Tales & Nightmares is an intimate visit into the intricate fantasy worlds of Marr's canon.
As this book is a short story collection, I'd like to discuss each story using a scale of 1-10 (according to how well the story was constructed, its organic unity, and enjoyability).
"Where Nightmares Walk" - 5: This is probably one of the weakest stories in the anthology because it doesn't really make much sense. I feel like this was a part cut out from a longer story or novella. The characters were vaguely sketched out, and the plot was a little perturbing, but the reader isn't given a satisfying conclusion.
"Winter's Kiss" (Fairy Tales) - 7: The familiar setting is a plus for this story about the Wicked Lovely faeries. I personally enjoyed seeing this universe again after DarkestMercy, though it wasn't as involved as I would have liked it to be.
"Transition" (Vampires) - 9: Utterly chilling, this story originally appeared in the anthology Teeth: Vampire Tales. While I didn't love the story, it is one of the best examples of Marr's writing talents. The reader won't know what to expect and the conclusion is well-earned.
"Love Struck" (Selchies) - 8: Between this story and The Secret of Roan Inish, is it any surprise that I fell in love with selkies? This story was previously published in Love is Hell, and is my favourite piece from that collection. Marr's deft control over Alaina and Murrin's romance is something both teens and adults will appreciate.
"Stopping Time" (WL World) - 7: Leslie from Ink Exchange makes her first appearance in this collection. Niall and Irial's struggles to deal with Leslie's decision at the end of that novel are portrayed in an interesting manner. While I can't discuss much of the story because of spoilers, I will say that this was one of my guilty pleasure stories.
"Old Habits" (WL World) - 8.5: I was surprised by the length of this story and consider it more of a novella. Again, Niall and Irial take center stage and their relationship, while hinted at in the Wicked Lovely series, is revealed in all its gritty glory. I definitely think they deserve a whole other book.
"The Art of Waiting" - 4: Interesting concept, not enough page time. Marr's penchant for vaguely named/unnamed characters is a blow against this story because it doesn't actually give readers a character to invest in.
"Flesh for Comfort" - 9: Perfect flash fiction to counter the weaker stories in the collection. I was very creeped out by this piece, and the social commentary is unsettling in its accuracy.
"The Sleeping Girl and the Summer King" (WL World-ish, the short story that started the series) - 6: I'm not sure what to think of this story. Fans of WL will recognize the characters and conflicts, but I'm not sure that it was necessary to include this piece. After reading WL, seeing the background of the story seems a little redundant and contrived.
"Cotton Candy Skies" (WL World) - 7: Another story that's got me on the fence. Rabbit was a great character and while I liked seeing more of him especially after Radiant Shadows, the way Marr brings him back is strange. Again, this story could have benefited from length.
"Unexpected Family" (WL World) - 8: Seth! As many of my friends know, I adore Seth unconditionally. That said, the first few pages felt a little repetitive, I did enjoy seeing him strike out on his own. Out of all the characters in the story, I was most interested in Seth's development and this story brings him full circle.
"Merely Mortal" (WL World) - 7: A cutesy piece about Donia and Keenan. As I'm not invested in them, I wasn't too interested in their story, but the writing itself was much more enjoyable than I remembered when it came to those two.
The Final Say: Melissa Marr fans will enjoy rediscovering their favourite characters and universes, but new readers may not be as satisfied with Marr's first and rather uneven collection of stories....more
Ugh my heart hurts so much. I am not coherent enough to write a proper review right now, but I LOVED IT.My original post:
I can't believe it's over.
Ugh my heart hurts so much. I am not coherent enough to write a proper review right now, but I LOVED IT. Thank you, Melissa, for such a wonderful, thought-provoking series.
A proper review:
Discovery: I’ve been patiently waiting for this novel, the final book in the Wicked Lovely/Tattoo Faeries (depending on who you ask) series, for years. I first read Wicked Lovely in November 2007 and it remains one of the best birthday presents I ever bought myself.
+ Ensemble/world. One of the things I love most about this series is the vibrant cast of characters. Only Fragile Eternity (Book 3) served as a real sequel–Ink Exchange and Radiant Shadows opened different curtains on the WL stage. Darkest Mercy brings all the fey and humans together for one final satisfying stand. I really enjoyed the character development, especially in Niall, Irial, Donia and Keenan.
On a related note, I will be forever in awe of the world that Melissa Marr created. It’s creepy and passionate and so very alive that I’m scared the translation from text to screen (Wicked Lovely is going to be a movie!) will either take it too far or not far enough. The fey and their courts are perfectly nuanced in their presentation and it’s not hard to imagine this other world surrounding us.
+ Seth. It’s no secret that for the last four years, the teenager in me has harboured a tendre for Seth Morgan. This is a point for Melissa Marr’s characterization because I’ve never really found tattooed and pierced guys attractive. His attitude and actions speak far more than his appearance, though, and of all the characters in the series, he undergoes the most startling transformation.
I suppose what I like most about Seth is his determination. Wicked Lovely introduced him as Aislinn’s friend-who-wants-something-more, but didn’t stop there and that’s the best thing about it. The five books have seen him grow and experience pain and make decisions that speak of his maturity and acceptance of the faerie world around him. More than anything, his devotion to Aislinn isn’t blind: he pursues her and her world actively, making sure that when it all ends and whether either or both of them die, they see each other as equals.
+ Conclusion. I will argue with anyone on this, because I feel like it was the one of the most satisfying series endings I’ve ever read. I can’t say much without spoiling anyone, but I loved the simplicity and integrity of it. One of the themes in WL is the importance of compromise. These days, so much of the world is coloured gray and it isn’t easy to live a black-and-white existence. Marr’s faeries reflect our own on-the-fence choices and in the course of the series, they are each faced with decisions they don’t want to make. How they deal with it brings about conclusions none of them can foresee and the sheer bravery they display in return is commendable.
- Action scenes. In the course of reading this novel, I couldn’t help but compare it to Radiant Shadows, the previous book which I’ve read maybe 20 times. At times, it felt as though I was watching the action scenes happen through a blurry glass window. They didn’t feel real enough and I found myself wishing it would end so I would know who survived. In Radiant Shadows, I could barely keep myself from whimpering as my favourite characters took hits.
Recommendations: A stellar conclusion to a gorgeous series, this chapter will satisfy young adult readers, and provide lots of discussion, especially for faerie lovers.
Discovery: I’m working my way through a list of faery YA novels.
+ Mythology. To be honest, I didn’t see anything that I haven’t encountered in the othDiscovery: I’m working my way through a list of faery YA novels.
+ Mythology. To be honest, I didn’t see anything that I haven’t encountered in the other faery novels I’ve read, but I liked seeing the nods to the wide variety of fae. Being able to recognize kelpies, redcaps and bean sidhe before Meghan is told what they are? It feels amazing. I am a little sick of Titania and Oberon, so the new enemy was a refreshing change. (I can’t talk too much about them because it’ll spoil the story.)
- Predictability. A lot of the same problems that I saw in City of Bones also popped up in The Iron King. Meghan is just as naive and reckless as Clary and I did find myself frustrated with her actions more than once. The dreaded love triangle reared its head and I’ll tell you right now that I’m not on Team Ash. I don’t see any reason for that relationship. There was practically no build-up, beyond Ash wanting to kill her and can I just talk about all the problems I have with that trope? Really, thin line between love and hate, I know, but that’s just not a healthy relationship to present to teenagers.
I also thought that the big conflict in the novel could be seen through heavy fog from thousands of miles away. Nothing really surprised me or made me want to know more. I feel let down by this novel and I didn’t particularly want to finish it.
- Special Snowflake Syndrome. The majority of YA novels revolve around characters who discover hidden powers or abilities and must learn to use them against ancient enemies. The Iron King‘s Meghan Chase is no exception, but unlike a lot of these characters, Meghan Chase is not that likeable. I first started to dislike Meghan on page 17, when she rails at “inflate-a-boob” Angie: “Ms. Perfect Cheerleader, who’d flip out if she saw a caged gerbil or a speck of dirt on her Hollister jeans. I’ve pitched hay and killed rats and driven pigs through knee-deep mud. Wild animals don’t scare me.” This passage bothers me. A lot. For one, I don’t think Meghan has to compare herself to a cheerleader to get her point across. She grew up on a farm and it’s not necessary to sling aforementioned mud at Angie just because Angie didn’t grow up that way too.
I’ve run into this kind of negative characterization time and time again and not just in YA novels. I understand that books are often written from one perspective and that that perspective is almost always skewed. But I’ve always seen it as a sign of weak writing to resort to saying “I can do things cheerleaders can’t” as a way of proving that you’re a better person. I’ve found that characters who do this can be just as petty and shallow as the people they profess to hate. They may think that they’re better people, but when you sum up a person based solely on what they wear, listen to or read, you do yourself a disservice too.
Recommendations: I know that this series has many fans, but it just wasn’t for me. I wouldn’t personally recommend The Iron King, though in the interest of fairness, I’ll be reading the next two books.