A brief recap; in case you haven’t read the first three in this series. The first book, Wicked Lovely, introduces us to the invisible world of the faeries. We learn the rules of being a faery, about the faery courts, and what happens when the mortal and faery worlds mix. The second book, Ink Exchange, brings the Dark Court and its players into sharper focus. Fragile Eternity shifts back to the Summer and Winter Courts and bring the threat of war between the all the courts; Summer, Winter, Dark and the all powerful High Court.
Radiant Shadows brings it all to a hilt and sets up one heck of an ending for the last book.
I can tell you right now, this review is going to assume you’ve read the first three books in this series, but try very, very hard not to give much away of what happens in Radiant Shadows. It would be impossible to review it without giving away spoilers of the first three. So proceed at your own risk. Also…go read the first three if you haven’t. They are seriously excellent. If you have, they are worth a reread and *hint, hint* the audio productions of all three are fantastic. Okay? Thanks.
Radiant Shadows picks up pretty much where Fragile Eternity left off. Seth is out in the mortal world as a faery. Ashlinn is still struggling to be happy and Keenan is missing. That’s about all you see of Ash and Keenan, Radiant Shadows follows a different set of characters. Ani, Rabbit and Tish’s sister (from Pins & Needles?), is a halfling. Half faery and half mortal, she has been struggling to find her place in this world. She’s too human to participant in her father, Gabriel’s, hunt and too faery to live as a mortal as her siblings do. She is unique to her court in that she takes nourishment from both faeries and mortals through touch and emotion. She knows where she wants to be, part of the hunt, but her father won’t allow her to do that and to say she’s frustrated is putting it mildly.
Once Bananach, the embodiment of War becomes aware of her existence and demands that she kill Seth, Niall and give her the blood in her (Ani’s) blood, Ani’s confusion becomes unbearable. Not knowing what to do, she chooses to run.
Devlin, Sorcha and Bananach’s brother, is sent to the mortal world to find Seth and make sure he is well. Sorcha has become obsessed with Seth, what he is doing, and worries constantly for his safety and well-being. Devlin finds Seth at the Crow’s Nest, but he gets an unexpected surprise. Ani is there. Devlin and Ani are connected, I will let you read the book to find out why, and Devlin cannot resist her. When she is forced to fell Huntsdale, Devlin goes with her for he quickly comes to recognize that he will do anything for her. Anything.
I’ve read where some think that Radiant Shadows is the weakest book in the series. They miss Ashlinn and Keenan. “Nothing happens.” I admit, there are a few questions I want answered there, but I trust Marr implicitly to answer them in the forthcoming last book in the series. But the’ nothing happens’ comments? Please! So MUCH happens! Not all books have to be a race to the finish. I like that Marr takes her time here, building the world, establishing the characters and making everything MAKE SENSE, yet the writing is still tight. There are twists and turns and of course, plenty of danger. She setting so much up here for the finale, if she hadn’t done that, it would be poor writing indeed. I think her writing just gets stronger with each book. Her themes of finding yourself, the of love, friendship, loyalty and honor are brilliantly displayed. We get to meet characters who have been behind the scenes and get to know them more, a plot that finishes up somethings yet starts up new ones that I can’t wait to learn more about. I love Marr’s Wicked world and in my opinion, it’s one of her strongest books yet. And wow, that ending left me will chills. The hairs on my arm were standing straight up, I was so surprised and delighted. All in all, I think Radiant Shadows is more than worthy to join the canon and I cannot wait for the next book.
Things you should know: There is quite a bit of violence (even death) and sexual situations. I think they are definitely for older teenagers.
By Melissa Marr
Published by Harper Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
On sale: April 20, 2010
See my reviews of Wicked Lovely, Wicked Lovely (audio), Ink Exchange, and Fragile Eternity
Source: the Publisher and Traveling to Teens (Thank you guys!)
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