Goodreads: Wicked Lovely
Series: Wicked Lovely #1
Published: January 1, 2007
Aislinn has always been able to see faeries. And Aislinn’s grandmother has always taught her to ignore them, to fear the attention they would give her if they knew. Her time for hiding is up, however. The Summer King himself is interested in her, and will not give up pursuing her until she becomes his Summer Queen–or risks becoming something worse, if she fails.
Wicked Lovely is a compelling romance woven into faerie lore. Aislinn has spent her whole life cursed with the ability to see faeries, but she believed that if she ignored them, they would ignore her, and she would be safe. Now, however, she has attracted the attention of the Summer King—and he will not stop pursuing her until she agrees to be his. Beyond the fact that Aislinn hates fairies, she has another problem: she is already in love with a mortal.
Thus Marr sets up a complicated love knot—but it not simply a triangle. Other players have stakes in this game, and it is not always clear who is fighting for love, who is fighting for power, or who is dreaming of a chance at both. Readers will have to read a long way into the novel before they can make a good guess at how this might all come untangled, and before they can hope that anyone might have a chance of being happy at all. Wicked Lovely incorporates the darkness of its faerie source material wonderfully, creating a story that is seductive but always dangerous, always uncertain.
Aislinn is the perfect protagonist for this type of tale, strong enough to take the faeries head-on at their own game, vulnerable enough one never knows if she will finally be drawn in by their charms, or their threats. Some readers might find her a little dependent, as she does a lot of running back to her love interest, but I think this is partially a device to fulfill the romantic plot elements. Seth is created as the ultimate swoon-worthy protector, always ready with a patient ear and open arms. A lot of readers will fall in love with him just as Aislinn does. Although I occasionally found him a little too wonderful, a little unrealistic, I was rooting for him all the way. And for readers who do not find Seth to be their type, Marr presents the Summer King: golden, moody, laughing, unsure, a volatile mix of emotions guaranteed to keep characters and readers alike on their toes.
Wicked Lovely does have a few flaws, the standout being the writing. The perspective shifts around unexpectedly, switching abruptly from character to character, and frequently inserting first-person thoughts into what is otherwise a third-person chapter. There are also some awkwardly worded sentences and occasional instances of bad grammar. At times, I felt as if I were reading an ARC that still needed a round of copyediting, instead of a finished copy. Ultimately, however, the plot is absorbing enough that even poor wording could not draw me out of it.
Wicked Lovely is the perfect read for those who want a swoon-worthy romance featuring complex characters and a bit of magic. I enjoyed reading it as a standalone, though it is a tad open-ended and, of course, is the first in a series. Aislinn and her friends end up in a good place, however, with just enough closure that readers will be satisfied and just enough ambiguity that readers can either pursue the series, or imagine their own endings for the characters. Recommended for fans of The Iron King and The Treachery of Beautiful Things.
Content Note: Drugs, sexual content, minor swearing