Miss's Reviews > Faery Tales & Nightmares

Faery Tales & Nightmares by Melissa Marr
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's review
Apr 08, 2012

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Read in April, 2012

I finally worked out what it is about Melissa Marr's writing that keeps leaving me so unsatisfied! It's bland. She has characters who range from being calm and centered to fairies whose entire psychological make-up hinges on them being emotionally volatile but they all sound the same. The writing is terrible at actually invoking emotion, Marr uses the Dark Court's ability to taste emotion as a crutch far too often. Here, take a look:

”You remember telling me you could taste emotions?” Seth asked.
Nial nodded.
“Do I forgive you?”
“Don't know.” Niall took a drag off the cigarette. “You're conflicted about something. For the King of Order—”
“Not a king.” Seth winced. He didn't want to be in charge of anyone, and he didn't want to be the one who'd have to stand against Niall ever again either. He's agreed to it so as to help Niall in the middle of a war, but the past week, the reality of what it could mean weighed on him.
Niall turned and looked at him. “Whatever you call it Seth. The faery who balances me...you're not too orderly. Anger, worry, doubt, fear, and”—Niall inhaled—“hope.”

I'm glad you're here to tell me that Niall since Seth's POV seems incapable of transmitting that to me viscerally. It's a consistent problem with the Wicked Lovely stories, moments that ought to be emotionally fraught and leaving me taut with tension just don't. I'm happy for Marr's characters that they're emotionally self-aware and capable of analyzing and acting in the manner best for themselves but it leaves me bored. I acknowledge this could just be a personal problem; the popularity of the Wicked Lovely series would indicate very few others feel as I do.

There are stories here that aren't set in the Wicked Lovely verse as well. Many of them I'd read before in prior anthologies and found them just as mediocre on this second try. I'd say my favourite story out of this anthology is Winter's Kiss. The fairytale tone forces Marr to write outside of her usual voice and it was a refreshing change. The way Marr just says what people are feeling works much better in the compressed fairytale format. I'd happily read it as a longer novel if I didn't suspect the format would have Marr falling back into the same Wicked Lovely emotions issue. An overall decent collection that nonetheless leaves me concluding Melissa Marr doesn't work for me. 3 stars
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