Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Spotlight: DARKEST MERCY

Mondays are a winner around the Alleyway. WE have some swag and book winners to announce. But that will come at the end of this post. So without further delay, read on my dear Alleywalkers and enjoy.

Title: Darkest Mercy
Author: Melissa Marr
Genre: YA
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 336

Favorite line or passage: "She couldn't stop herself; she reached up and ran her fingers through Keenan's hair. It felt different, not sharp enough to hurt, but soft. There was no pain, no steam, no clash--so Donia continued trailing her fingers over his changed body."

Description: The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.
Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.

The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless.

I am a huge Wicked Lovely fan. As the series has progressed, I've been in the minority of approval when it came to the direction Melissa Marr chose to take the books at times. I loved how she explored different characters from altered angles and views. She gave them background voices, when they weren't playing front-and-center as main characters. I found that very interesting.

Wicked Lovely was a beautifully written introduction into this world hidden among mortals. Ink Exchange veered from the main characters, Aislinn and Keenan, focusing on another character and important avenue, broadening this amazing world. Fragile Eternity turned back to Aislinn and Keenan, and their internal struggles to be who they are meant to be. And of course, love and all its balance, sacrifice, and effort plays a huge roll in those decisions.

Radiant Shadows was another drift from the main characters, but, in my opinion, it did the story justice. As a reader, I was able to see more of the world-building Marr is so gifted at creating. Focusing on two different characters, allowed me to watch others at a distance and how they reacted to being background characters.

The climactic ending to the Wicked Lovely saga is strong, enticing, and yes--fulfilling. Darkest Mercy threads together the first four books and their diversity. The main plot, which remained intact throughout the series, grows in strength and angst with the flip of each page. Despite personal gripes or past misgivings between characters of each Court, the fact remains that their beloved Faerie and their futures are in trouble. Will they rise above their differences to have a future?

The voices are as bold as ever, even with a few twists that could have made reading complicated. But Marr does a marvelous and clear job in communicating the character's needs and desires. I also found some of their self-examinations to be deeper - two in particular, but I won't name them not wanting to give any of the story away. The action scenes are poetically descriptive and plausible. I really enjoyed watching certain characters dig deep within themselves, while others sadly faded. As one would say, "It's all in the script, for the love of the story."

The threat War creates builds consistently throughout the story until the climatic ending moves every character--those we've grown to love, be annoyed with, or hate--beyond his/her self to invest in something more. Something real. True internal growth. It was a thing of beauty to watch characters sacrifice more than they thought they were capable of. And it was an enchanting contradiction to menace that had been lurking through each book.

In the end, the story is a journey of love. Whether it be love of another faery, love of home and a place to belong, or love of honor and dedication to one's responsibility, love and what it takes is the ultimate message. It's at the forefront of every character thread and motivation. 

Before I announce the winners, I have a special surprise for you. Over on Oasis for YA, we're giving away an ARC of DARKEST MERCY. For details, head over and ENTER. The winner will be announced this Friday. I'm also exploring the Ugly Doubt Monster and the Sanctuary of Self-Belief in my post over on Oasis, today!

NOW for the WINNERS of both my giveaways.

You are the WINNERS of the Elana Johnson signed bookmarks!
You are the WINNERS of Elana Johnson signed book plates!

In random order, here are the WINNERS of my 4 book giveaway.

Llehn - Specials
Sarah Bibi Setar - The Lonely Bones
SiNn - The Van Alen Legacy
Christine - Betrayed

CONGRATS to all the winners. I'll be in contact soon. 
Thank you to everyone who entered. It means a ton to me. 


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