Ever since Leslie’s life spiralled out of control and she was raped by her brother’s friend, with his permission, she is desperate to reclaim control of herself and her body. She sees a tattoo as the way to do that, laying a mark on her skin that is for her benefit alone. But the tattoo design she chooses is not that simple and instead links her to the king of the Dark Court of the faerie, Irial. Isolated from her friends, especially Aislinn who cannot tell Leslie about the world she now inhabits, Leslie finds herself in a dark place which harbors the unlikeliest heroes.
While this book is definitely considerably darker than Wicked Lovely, I found myself enjoying it just as much if not more. I like darker stories and I completely admired Leslie, who sometimes makes wrong decisions but certainly has her heart in the right place. After what happened to her, almost anyone would be damaged, and I thought that she was for the most part on the right track, strong enough to attempt to save herself but still vulnerable enough to also inspire the best in others. This creates for some fascinating character dynamics revolving around Leslie and her friends.
Many of the characters from Wicked Lovely return, like Seth, Keenan, and Aislinn; Niall returns for a very important role, which I was happy to see since I hadn’t learned much of his character before. I love when books take minor characters and flesh them out in such ways. This is definitely more of a sequel to Wicked Lovely than I had initially expected. It’s very interesting to see the characters from the first book through the eyes of others who don’t know about the world they inhabit or the deals they’ve made to continue the status quo. Leslie discovers the faerie world for herself but in a completely different way from Aislinn for obvious reasons. Her journey is more painful but more affecting as a result.
I’ve also come to really appreciate the world that Melissa Marr has created. The faerie court is fascinating and multi-faceted. Seeing another of the courts in close detail like this has really broadened the perspective that Marr has given to the series and I can’t wait for it to expand even further. I’m really looking forward to going back for more with Fragile Eternity to see how these characters develop and interact in their future.
These books are wonderful. I definitely think they can be appreciated by adults as well as their target YA audience. If you want to spend some time in a faerie world, look no further.