Darkest Mercy Hardcover – Jan 20 2011
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“Complex and involving.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Marr has created a world both harsh and lush, at once urban and natural.” (School Library Journal)
“Sexy, charming, sometimes harrowing fantasy.” (Locus)
“Impossible to put down.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“A fully imagined faery world which even non-fantasy (or faerie) lovers will want to delve into.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
About the Author
Melissa Marr is the author of the bestselling Wicked Lovely series as well as the adult fantasy novelsGraveminderandThe Arrivals. When not writing, editing, or traveling, Melissa is buried under a plethora of books, dogs, and children in Virginia or online at www.melissa-marr.com.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I'm a big fan of Melissa Marr, and I have loved this series, but this book was by far my least favorite :(
I think one of the biggest problems I had with Darkest Mercy was that it had way too many POV's! This book switched around from Naill's perspective, to Donia's, to Seth's, to Ash, Keenan, we even heard from Gabriel, Chela, and Far Dorcha. At times the POV changed so rapidly I felt like I was reading a soap opera. Right as something juicy was about to happen she would switch POV! It was highly frustrating. I felt as if she was trying really hard to pack everything in, and rather than getting the escapist tragic romance I look for in Melissa Marr's books I felt as if I was reading the rushed conclusion to a faery war epic!
Granted, many cool things happened in this book, so it wasn't a total loss. One of the things I really liked, without giving too much away, was that I felt as if I got some closure with the Leslie, Niall, Irial relationship (which has always been a favorite of mine). And I appreciate that she really did wrap the book up with an ending that left few, if any unanswered questions. However...
WARNING *SPOILERS* ABOUT THE ENDING******
I felt the ending was way too happy! I'm sorry. I like a happy ending as much as the next gal, but when everything works out for everyone (especially after there has been a major battle- and when the inside of the book says that some people lose everything) it just seems a little forced and unbelievable. I like a little bittersweetness. And yes, the book had it's bad and bittersweet moments, and I get why she ended it the way she did, it just wasn't the type of ending I was hoping for. It was perfect! Everyone got what they wanted, and that was hard for me to grasp. She tricked us a couple times into thinking it ended badly for some, but then it all worked out in the end! I hate it when people come back from the dead!
I guess overall I just didn't like this book as much as I had hoped. I had expected it would focus more on Ash, Seth, and Keenan, but it was all over the place with an ending that didn't fit the rest of the series.
That said, I did give it three stars because at times it was entertaining, and if you've read the rest of the series you should pick it up, just don't have super high hopes. I do however, think that people who are fans of Irial and Niall might be happy because they are in this book more than was expected, which at times was also very cool. Other times, not so much. At one point Nail goes insane and it is a little painful and confusing to read.
Wicked lovely is still one of my all time favorite books, but I will probably never re-read this book and I won't recommend it to others who haven't started to series.
Nobody is where they should be. Keenan is missing by his own choice. Aislinn is grasping at straws trying to keep the Summer Court afloat in his absence. Seth is floating between this world and that, courting disaster with his various alliances. Niall is losing is grip on the Dark Court with every ragged breath Irial draws. And Bananach is ranging free, inciting death and destruction wherever she goes. Too much discord, too much uncertainty haunts the courts of the fae as their regents struggle to retain power and protect their people. Donia and Aislinn have taken to meeting on a semi-regular basis to discuss their options, though summer and winter have never been pleasant bedfellows. Seth and Niall dance dangerously around their loyalties. And the Gabriel Hounds are out in force as Bananach's trail becomes more littered with bodies. Then a stranger shows up in Hunstdale, full of foreboding and guile. And he seems to know more about each of the main players than should be possible. But one thing is clear, he is just one more unknown quantity in the path toward conflagration they all seem to be walking.
I really had no clue as to how things were going to pan out. I had hopes. Of course I had hopes. For Irial/Niall/Leslie most of all. And Donia. I have always loved Donia. Though I'm pretty sure she deserves better than Keenan--she loves him. And I wanted her happy. And, as long as we're confessing, I may have been harboring a few leftover leanings with regards to Seth and Ash. Because they were great in Wicked Lovely, and what happened to them could not strictly have been avoided. Though there are always choices. And you can choose happiness. And those are my two favorite messages from this series. Ones I won't forget soon. But, overall, this last installment was a letdown in so many ways. Everything played out expediently and essentially along the lines of what I was expecting. But, somehow, it did so with an utter lack of the feeling and emotion that characterized the previous books in the series. There were scenes and particular moments which elicited a smile or a sigh from me, but they were just too few and far between to balance out the strange sense of rote apathy that pervaded the rest of the story. I ended it very puzzled by this, as the strongest emotion I felt at the close was gratitude that this character or that hadn't died. That was it. No joy or relish in the way it came about or in the sacrifices people made. I guess it just wasn't my book. And the ending doesn't taint my love for my favorites of the others. I'm not angry or even too sad. I closed it with a vague feeling of regret at its low impact, and I moved on. Mine is rather an unusual reaction, though, it should be stressed. By and large, I feel certain fans of the series will think this last book closes things out with a bang.
After finishing the book, a few things stuck out for me.
1. After reading and enjoying Radiant Shadows as much as I did, I expected this book to be fabulous. I expected the action to carry over. I expected a huge climax. I expected a revolutionary plot twist. I was disappointed.
2. Why include details if they do not contribute much to the story? At the start of the book, Keenan had been away from the Summer Court for six months, looking for allies. A whole chapter is devoted to this, so I expected it to be important. I was excited to read about a different king of faery. Sadly, it is mentioned again only briefly at the very end of the book.
3. Happy endings are good; I love them. But...really? A bit unbelievable. I caught myself rolling my eyes.
4. Maybe there were just too many characters that were developed in the last four books - some of them were sadly missed or just briefly mentioned. Or, as in the case with Seth (in my opinion), they seemed to just be plugged in as an after thought without any development whatsoever.
I remind myself that this book is written for young adults, and to be fair, the plot probably does play well to their thinking and my criticisms may be too harsh. It was written nicely, and gave closure to the story so I would recommend this for those readers who have been following the series, but not necessarily for readers who want a stand-alone story.
I have made no secret that the Wicked Lovely Series has been my favorite of all time. Wicked Lovely is my number one favorite book. It was the first novel I had ever read where the faeires were dark and mean and twisted and I loved it! No other book I've read has come close to capturing their world the way she has created it. That being said, there were some books in the series I liked better than others.
Wicked Lovely was my favorite, but it might be replaced by Darkest Mercy. This was a beautiful story that wove all the threads left behind from all the other books and tied the knot. Old characters came back, some new characters were added and the old battle with War final came to a showdown. The twists and turns while you saw them coming had twists and turns you could never see coming because you didn't know they could happen. But this is a faery tale and all things are possible. Even Keenan returning. (Grrr)! But he is a little more likable in this story. Seth is there in a predicament of his own. And Aislinn trying to keep things together.
The final showdown is so chaotic that I had to keep rereading to make sure I knew what was going on. Who was where and what had happened if anything to my beloved characters. The aftermath is bittersweet and surprising. This is where the stranger especially comes in to play. And that's it. It's all I'm going to say because I'm not going to ruin the story for anyone. It's amazing and very complete and must have been very difficult for Melissa to write. But she did such a great job and I am so happy that I didn't have to wait for my preordered copy to come. I will reread it because I got it yesterday and read it in one night. No way was I going to bed without knowing the ending. And the final pages were a huge surprise and so befitting who they were about I almost laughed except they were done out of love. I will say there is a lot more romance in this final book, but there would have to be because of the conflicts between Seth, Ash, Keenan and Donia. But it's not detailed, just very fitting.
I am such a huge fan of Melissa Marr's work. I know Graveminder comes out in June and I believe she has another trilogy she's writing totally unrelated to this series. I'd love to have her creativity and imagination. But, instead, I will settle for reading the worlds and characters she creates and the stories she weaves so magically. If you like faeries and haven't read this series, what are you waiting for? I think it sets the standard by which I measure all other stories about faeries. Oh, and the cover is much better when you see it in person!
I read an ARC of Darkest Mercy in January that was on a tour thanks to Melissa Marr getting extra copies. My review is based on the ARC.
The story covered a lot, and the reader barely had time to take a breath. All around though it was a fantastic ending. For some it might be anti climatic, for others, just right. The only thing I would have asked for is a novel in between Radiant Shadows and Darkest Mercy that focuses on Niall and Irial. Those two are my favorite characters and their dynamics are so complicated and dangerous that I thoroughly would have enjoyed and entire book about them and the dark court's politics. My only hope is that Marr doesn't close this world down with the ending of the Wicked Lovely series. There are too many characters, too many plotlets that she could take and flesh out. Enjoy!