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Review: Fragile Eternity, Melissa Marr

Everything is getting harder for Aislinn, the Summer Queen.  She’s finding it harder and harder to resist Keenan, her king, who it seems she is naturally inclined to lust after.  Keenan loves Donia, the Winter Queen, and vice versa, but with such opposing natures, these two struggle to make any kind of relationship work.  Aislinn still loves Seth and wants to be with him, but he is a human in a faery world and it’s hard on both of them.  Aislinn has lost most of her human friends and finds it hard to separate herself from the faery world, making everything more awkward for Seth, who can feel her separation from him.  He determines to take drastic measures in an attempt to be with Aislinn forever, not realizing the potential consequences of his choice.

Much of Fragile Eternity is spent on the characters agonizing over one another.  A natural, and easy, pairing would have been Aislinn and Keenan, the Summer royalty, who are almost doomed to love one another given the eternity that they are forced to have.  Yet both Aislinn and Keenan love elsewhere, hurting both each other and their lovers equally.  They can’t stop being drawn together even though they don’t love one another.  It is a difficult time for all four people, and Marr explores the tough choices that they have to make with some finesse, even if it feels frustrating.  I know I had trouble returning to this book because the relationships were so well drawn and so painful.  It was hard to know where the book was going to end up.

Seth’s choice, about halfway through the book, made sense even though I wished it hadn’t come to that.  His journey into the world of Faerie was the best part for me.  He was finally at peace with his choice, becoming more than frustrated ball of love for Aislinn, and Sorcha is a great addition to the cast of characters.  She’s strong, interesting, and simply feels mythical.  She adds immeasurably to a book that is largely about tortured lovers by giving the story another outlet.  Besides, I always love great worldbuilding and Seth’s journey was a stellar opportunity for Marr to engage in it.  I was really looking forward to learning more about the world and I wasn’t at all disappointed.

Overall, I’m not sure this one lives up to Wicked Lovely or Ink Exchange. I think it’s telling that I had to put it aside and take a break from all the angst, and then I dreaded going back to it because I didn’t want the characters to be so unhappy or tortured anymore.  To some extent this has always been true of this series, but I really had a hard time here.  It also ends in a cliffhanger and the next book isn’t out until 2010.  So, I’ll be biting my nails until then!  I do plan to continue but next time, I’m going to approach Marr’s books with a totally open and relaxed mind, rather than one which didn’t really need more stress.

This was my first book for Carl’s RIP IV Challenge!  I’ve actually completed the challenge now.

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