Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Faery King Meets Liberated Woman: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Like her mother and grandmother before her, Aislinn (whose Celtic name means "vision") has the "Sight," the ability to see faeries invisible to other mortals in her daily life as high school junior. Because her mother died because of her involvement with a powerful faery, Aislinn has lived by rules which require her to keep her special gift secret from mortals and unknown by the faery folk.

When she realizes that she is being stalked by a gloriously handsome faery king named Keenan and his pale, thin follower Donia, Aislinn fearfully keeps this threat secret from her grandmother and her boyfriend Seth. Then Keenan, assuming a "glamour," an attractive form visible to mortals, actually enrolls at her school and asks her out. Terrified of the faery's intentions, Aislinn turns to Seth and finally confides her secret power and her fear of Keenan and his followers, who are shadowing her every move. At last, believing that she must know Keenan's intentions, she agrees to meet him at a street carnival. As she strolls and dances with him and allows him to buy her a strangely irresistible drink, Aislinn realizes that she has compromised her mortality. Intoxicated by the faery wine and almost swooning at his beauty, by an act of will Aislinn manages to break away and hide herself in Seth's apartment, surrounded by its steel frame, where only the most powerful faeries may enter.

Despite her growing love for Seth and his determination to protect her, however, Aislinn realizes that her body is already changing, her mortality slipping away. When she confronts Keenan, she learns that he believes her to be the "Summer Queen" he has sought for centuries, and that she as Summer Queen and he as Summer King will be able to defeat the Winter Queen whose icy evil dominance threatens the world's survival. Aislinn reluctantly recognizes that she indeed possesses the powers of the Summer Queen, but her love for Seth requires that she renounce a marriage with Keenan and the irrevocable loss of her remaining mortality. Realizing that Keenan needs her desperately to retain his own magic, Aislinn bravely negotiates a way to live in both worlds.

In Wicked Lovely, Aislinn, like Bella in Stephenie Meyers' Twilight saga, is an intelligent modern heroine who must choose between a mortal and an immortal lover while remaining true to her own human values. Like Bella's story, on the level of a teenage romance Aislinn's story is every girl's dream--two very handsome and devoted suitors, each offering love and happiness; but on the philosophical level Aislinn's dilemma is every young woman's task--to make the life choice which leads toward the greater good. Author Melissa Marr manages to sustain two fully realized worlds, one modern and mortal, one ancient and supernatural, and merges these worlds with a fair degree of credibility. As the latest example of the "Urban Faery" genre, Wicked Lovely has much to offer mature teen readers.

Note: Although there is no overt sexual content in this book, there are oblique references and situations which make this book suitable for mature young adult readers.

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