Darkest Mercy – Melissa Marr
Release Date: 3rd March 2011
Other Titles in this Series: Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity, Radiant Shadows
Send the messengers for the Faery Courts. This is the end.
Aislinn took a steadying breath. “I need to find out where Keenan is. If he’s not home, I’m going to war without him...which is not ideal. Someone knows where he is.”
“I do not, my queen. I give you my word that I will find out, though.” Tavish’s restrained facade slipped, and she saw the faery-cruel expression as he asked, “Are there limits to the methods?”
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. Love, despair and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict some will win...and some will lose everything.
This review is in a very different style for me as I am also submitting it for a creative writing assessment. Let me know what you think!
Reading Darkest Mercy was like slipping into an old, comfy pair of jeans that I haven’t worn in a while; both familiar and new. As the final instalment in a five book series, lots of loose ends and story arcs needed to be tied up in Darkest Mercy because the series focused on the stories of Seth and Aislinn; Keenan and Donia; Leslie, Niall and Irial; Ani and Devlin; Sorcha and The Hunt with each one of the first four books dedicated to one or two of the couples until they all came together in Darkest Mercy without losing the originality and intricacy that I’ve come to expect from Melissa Marr’s writing. And then each of the pairings brought the Faery Courts and their politics, traditions and hierarchies that are associated with them.
The Courts are evoked so perfectly that I can envisage the vicious brutality of the Dark Court, the strict and controlled High Court, the harsh and uncompromising nature of Winter and Summer’s frivolity and passion. Each Court has particular types of fey that fit in with the motives and traditions of each Court, such as the thistle-fey who belong to the Dark Court and the Winter Queen’s ly-ergs. But what astounds me about the Faery Courts the most is how they fit seamlessly into our world.
Marr describes the clashing of Faery and the mortal town of Huntsdale, Pennsylvania so lyrically and vividly that when I feel unexpected gusts of wind on the streets, I find myself wondering, however illogically, that maybe, just maybe, there are faeries warring just beyond my sight...
As well as the magic of Marr’s enchanting prose, the characters are what have made me devour each book in the Wicked Lovely series. This goes as far as me feeling sad as I turned the last page of Darkest Mercy on the end of stories that I’ve followed for four years. Although Darkest Mercy is comprised of a cast of complex and exquisitely wrought characters, my strongest feelings laid with the ones we were introduced to first: Aislinn, Seth and Keenan. And reaching back to my memory of the first book, Wicked Lovely, I’m stunned by their development and growth. With some series’ characters grow stale; they do not develop and change along with the story but remain exactly the same. This cannot be said for Marr’s characters in the slightest.
The premise of the entire series is based on the curse of the Summer King, Keenan, so throughout the series we’ve been waiting for him to find his queen and hopefully reverse the damage done by his curse. And he did. But his 900 year long quest didn't turn out quite how I imagined, and yet now, I realise that there was really no other way. And then you have, Aislinn, the heroine of the Wicked Lovely saga. The shy, scared and lonely girl of Wicked Lovely has become the strong, powerful and rightful Summer Queen by overcoming loss and hurt and making decisions that would dictate the future of Faery for centuries. With Seth you have a truly remarkable person who has very little and yet would sacrifice it all for the people that he loves and cares for with very little thought. His loyalty and dedication is admirable and makes him an even more compelling character to the reader as well as to Aislinn.
Though Darkest Mercy is in no way a literary feat or likely to be in line for the Man Booker, it is the best type of fiction in my opinion. There is spellbinding writing, an ingeniously woven and intricate plot, complex characters that I can easily connect with and a mythology that’s both twisted and romantic and utterly mesmerising. In other words, Darkest Mercy is escapism in its purest and guiltiest form.