I picked up Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr after a recommendation from a friend who seems to have read practically everything. She thought I would like the supernatural elements with a dark, contemporary twist, telling me it was hard to put down, so when I found a signed, tattered copy in Powell’s for $4 I snatched it up! The fact that I was in the midst of a 10 day long family vacation may have contributed to my rapid engrossment with the novel, but it could definitely stand alone, too.
Wicked Lovely follows the story of Aislinn, a goth-inclined teen who lives with her grandmother, and who happens to be able to see faeries. Not tiny sprites with glittery wings a la Tinkerbell, but breathtakingly beautiful humanesque faeries, along with more twisted creatures and terrifying demons that exist hidden in plain sight to anyone else. The one promise her grandmother has made her swear to, is to never let on that she can see these supernatural beings. Of course this becomes rather difficult for Aislinn when she is stalked by the Summer King, Keenan, who is convinced that she is meant to be his queen.
Naturally, Keenan doesn’t think about Aislinn’s wishes, or what would happen to her life if she joined him, and it’s this clash of modern and traditional expectations that piqued my interest with this story. I also found Marr’s dark and threatening faerie world compelling, as I’ve always been in the camp of “anything that beautiful shouldn’t be trusted”. It reminded me of Cassandra Clare’s vivid, dangerous other world in The Mortal Instruments series.
One of my favorite aspects was the secondary character of the Winter Girl, Donia, a young woman who Keenan had previously tried to convince was his destined queen, only to find out that she wasn’t and instead was trapped in a life of freezing cold where she could no longer touch the man she loved. It was haunting following this character as she was forced to help Keenan lure in Aislinn, and added a more interesting dimension to the classic love triangle.
I respected Aislinn for not instantaneously ripping off her clothes and throwing herself at Keenan. In fact, she seems to have other plans that involve a mortal boyfriend, and college, that certainly don’t include becoming a love slave to a seductive, overpowering faerie. It’s sort of what I always fantasized about seeing happen with Bella and Edward in Twilight. I mean, can you imagine if she’d thought Edward was creepy, and fought to hold on to all that was complicated and bright about her humanity? If so, then you should read Wicked Lovely.