Mandy Reviews: Melissa Marr—"Darkest Mercy"

The fifth and final book of Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, Darkest Mercy doesn’t disappoint. I’ve been a fan of the intricate world Marr created since book one, and although sometimes confusing, by the end of the series it’s obvious she had a grand plan all along.

Darkest Mercy begins where Radiant Shadows (number 4) left off. The Faerie realm is in turmoil; The Summer King is missing; The Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen is about to make a mistake that could end his life.

This has been an unusual series to follow; Book one, three and five concentrate on Aislinn and the royal courts of the fey – The Summer, Winter, Dark, Shadow and High Courts. Books two and four are from the points of view of other characters – in Ink Exchange (bk 2), it’s all about Leslie and her role in the fey world. Book four, Radiant Shadows, was the story of Ani, Devlin, Rae and the Hunt. But in the final instalment of the Wicked Lovely world, Marr takes us full circle back to the warring royal courts. This can be a little confusing at times, and therefore I’d suggest the best way to get the most of this series is to read the books in order, although they do also stand alone.

Darkest Mercy is all about war. It is bloody, violent and at times delves deep into the depths of one king’s madness. It is a story of betrayal and sacrifice, but also of trust, love and can actually be a bit weepy (for this sook, anyway!) with tenderness at times. Most of the lead up to the final battle concentrates on politics and strategy within the faery realms, and we learn more about each and every character. There is a brand new bad guy in town to watch out for, as if dealing Bananach wasn’t bad enough. Bananach – she who embodies discord itself – has to be one of the most ruthless, crazy-arsed psychos in YA fiction today. In fact, she’s easily my favourite character in the entire series. It’s very difficult to go into more plot detail here; I don’t want to ruin the first four books for those of you who haven’t read them yet. What I will say, is that Marr isn’t afraid to write the hard words, to hurt (or even kill) her beloved characters. Every character in Darkest Mercy is somehow forced to make a sacrifice for the good of the Feary realm, every character is somehow broken. And still, by the final pages, Melissa Marr manages to surprise her loyal readers with even more shocks, twists and turns.

There were some storylines from earlier books that were not tied up, and this is my only complaint against Darkest Mercy. Some characters who were important in the development of the entire story arc were forgotten about, or didn’t even make an appearance in the final instalment. But we can keep our fingers crossed for a spin-off series (maybe?) that is rumoured to be in the making.

Wicked Lovely Series

Book One – Wicked Lovely (see Amy’s review here)

Book Two – Ink Exchange (see Cels’ review here)

Book Three – Fragile Eternity

Book Four – Radiant Shadows

Book Five – Darkest Mercy

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
Published by Harper Collins
Paperback, 327 pages

ISBN: 978-0-00-736357-5

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