Jillian -always aspiring-'s Reviews > Radiant Shadows

Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
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I do not believe I am exaggerating when I say that, in my opinion, Melissa Marr has finally reached her stride with this fourth installment to the Wicked Lovely series. This book holds all the allure of the ones that proceeded it while introducing new ideas and plot threads that make me brim with anticipation as a reader. Radiant Shadows holds the alluring power of Wicked Lovely, the seductive darkness of Ink Exchange, and the undeniable conflict of Fragile Eternity. The story has expanded so much past the Summer Court and Winter Court roots of Wicked Lovely -- and, for that, I am very glad since Melissa Marr positively shines when her writing is focusing on the lovely, sinister Dark Court in all its vicious, violent, and nightmarish tendencies. (The High Court, also a focus of this novel, is very intriguing as well. What can I say, though, when I'm a Dark Court girl at heart?)

Lest you think Radiant Shadows is a rehash of Ink Exchange in any respect, let me start off by saying that Ani, the halfling offspring of Gabriel of the Dark Court‘s Hounds, is a rather refreshing heroine compared to Aislinn (a character I love/hate) and Leslie (a character I also love/hate -- though for vastly different reasons than Ash). She is someone who does not let others’ rules or standards define her -- though she does abide them when it means protecting others, especially her family and her court.

Devlin, the High Queen‘s “Bloodied Hands,” is a hero who is also quite different from any of the other WL males such as Seth, Irial, Keenan, Niall, etc. He is one bound by both order and chaos, and that conflict of dichotomy is a recurring theme throughout the novel. The war in his own self eventually leads him to a decision that will affect Faerie and the balance of the courts forever . . .

Don’t be led astray, however, since this is not JUST the story of Ani and Devlin. Almost everyone makes an appearance here -- though Ash is left to a small cameo with no words (via a vision of High Queen Sorcha‘s), Keenan is MIA in both appearance and speech (supposedly he is missing -- can‘t wait to find out the story there), and Donia is left to be mentioned by name alone -- and Irial fans (myself included among their number) will not be disappointed (especially by some nice Irial/Niall developments along the way). Seth fans (I’m among their number too) will also not be left to the wayside since the High Queen’s “son” is becoming a bit of a main player in the matters of the courts. Let’s just say that everything, even the seemingly inconsequential things, has a purpose in this novel and will come to affect the battleground surely to come in the final book as well.

A big kudos to this book is that I finally got the feeling of age from these fey characters. During all these books, I never really had the “ancient” feel from any of the regents of the courts -- but -- with Sorcha, Bananach, and Devlin being such a big focus of this novel -- I felt that the origins of the fey and the centuries (actually millenia) they have lived were finally addressed to satisfaction. The fey world (especially the land of Faerie itself) is actually starting to make a bit more sense in its frame and lore, in my opinion, and that’s always a good thing.

As to what happened in particular -- well, I will give no outright spoilers. There were a few instances where I was gasping or saying (i.e. trying not to shout) character names (especially during the final Bananach confrontation scene), so this book didn’t fail to draw me in at all. The last sentence of the book in particular made me want to scream -- it was a good last line, in my opinion, however much it made me think, “Foreboding?!” -- and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s a bit of a cliffhanger. Melissa Marr, you are learning how to string us along so very well indeed.

In the end, I only had one big gripe with this book: the love triangle aspect with Ani/Devlin/Rae, however subtle, was rather unnecessary. All throughout the book, there was a feeling of platonic affection between Devlin and Rae -- but now I’m really confused on that one. All I have to say is that there better be some form of resolution in store since I cannot stand unsettled love triangles even IF everyone involved is somehow all right with it. (Keenan and Seth wouldn't settle for Ash keeping them both. Why should Ani and Rae settle to share Devlin?)

Personally, flaws (there are always some even with the best books) and lone gripe aside, I cannot wait for Darkest Mercy, the final book in the series. The parting will be bittersweet, I’m sure, and the story will likely keep tugging me along to the very end and beyond.
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Quotes Jillian -always aspiring- Liked

Melissa Marr
“In all of eternity, no faery born has overcome me in anything.'

Aaah. Pride goeth before the fall, my friend"--Irial stood and clasped Devlin's hand--"but you've already fallen, haven't you?'

And to that, Devlin had no answer.”
Melissa Marr, Radiant Shadows

Reading Progress

04/20/2010 page 128
37.65% "I'm loving: Irial's "cameos"; the mix-up there is to the Ani/Dev match; and Seth's pivotal role in this book. :)" 7 comments
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Taylor (new)

Taylor Lol, know how much of a geek I am? That reminded me of Macbeth's "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" speech in Macbeth.

I think the Annie song is a little more normal. ;)

Jillian -always aspiring- Not a geek at all. That might have reminded me of Macbeth if I actually had REMEMBERED that part. Shame on me since that's one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. ;)

message 3: by Taylor (new)

Taylor I read it pretty recently... And watched the Simpsons episode. It's a great play. :)

message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy Great review! I can't wait to read it :)

Jillian -always aspiring- Thank you, Amy. I very much appreciate it. Hope you get to read it soon. ;)

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