Radiant Shadows

As a child with red hair and a Scotch-Irish surname how could I not believe in fairies?  My fairy world was people by tiny pretty things, mostly female, with shiny wings and they lived in a forest sleeping under toadstools.  My fairy world came straight from Disney.

Disney fairy tales have been cleaned up as the older oral fairy tales were intended for adult audiences and they can be quite scary.  Still children love them and as a kindergarten teacher I started my students out with nursery rhymes.  Georgie Porgie pudding and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry, or Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty dumpty had a great fall.  Someone who scares girls and someone who falls off a wall and can’t be put together again might be a little frightening too.  We read fairy tales like The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood with scary wolves.  We even did a play with the Big Bad Wolf.  The kids loved the nursery rhymes and stories. When I changed grade levels to junior high I had my students work with their own favorite fairy tales and rewrite the endings or put two different fairy tales together, like Hansel and Gretel meet the Three Little Pigs.  I continued to use all these lessons when I started teaching at the university, so I have lesson plans for fairy tales from kindergarten to the university, reading lessons and writing lessons for fairy tales.

My family reads fantasy literature so when I found Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely I was excited to find a new book about faeries.  Marr uses the old spelling of faery.  Wicked Lovely is about the Summer King, Keenan, Aislinn, who becomes the Summer Queen, Donia, a winter girl, and Seth.  Aislinn has been taught by her Grandmother, who raised her, not to attract the attention of faeries and not to let faeries know that she can see them.  Seth, Aislinn’s human boyfriend, lives in a railway yard so the faeries can’t come in because of the iron.  Keenan is determined to make Aislinn the Summer Queen and Donia, a winter girl because she tried to become the Summer Queen and failed is just as determined to keep her from Keenan.  There are other minor characters in this one that Marr writes about in her next books expanding the faery world of Wicked Lovely.

Marr’s faery world is nothing like mine.  Her faeries live in the cities dancing in the parks and visiting places like nightclubs, and tattoo shops, but it is fun and current!  The second book Ink Exchange explains more about Leslie, Aislinn’s best friend, Rabbit the tattoo artist, and Irial, King if the Dark Court.  Fragile Eternity is the third book and it extends the story of Aislinn, as Queen of the Summer Court, who should be in love with Keenan but still loves human Seth.  Keenan finds that he truly loves Donia, the winter girl who defeated his mother Beira to become Winter Queen.  So we have two sets of star-crossed lovers.  Seth unable to imagine growing older as Aislinn never ages finds a way to become a faery, but always in the land of Faerie there are consequences.

I follow Melissa Marr on Twitter, so when I realized that there was a possibility of reading an advance reader copy of Radiant Shadows, book four of the series; I immediately followed the instructions.  How excited I was the day the book arrived in the mail!  Not my first advanced reading copy, but the first that I was familiar with the previous book and have the release date marked on my calendar.   So as soon as possible that day I sat right down and started reading.

I think Radiant Shadows is my favorite.  It is the story of Devlin, keeper of order in Faerie and Ani, halfling daughter of Gabriel, Hound keeper of order of the Dark Court.  As a young child Ani, Tish and Rabbit were hidden safely as their mother was killed in the mortal world.  They were taken in and protected by the previous Dark Court King, Irial.  Ani is now beginning to change, but she needs both the emotions of the Dark Court and skin touch like the Hounds for nourishment, so she is a danger both to mortals and faerie.

Devlin follows the wishes of his High Court Queen Sorcha.  He is her assassin, except when the Queen asked him to kill Ani when she was a young child he spared her life.  Now Sorcha is concerned only with Seth, her mortal son, and is becoming as unbalanced as her twin Bananach.  Bananach wants Ani to kill Seth and Niall, present King of the Dark Court.  All Devlin wants to do is protect Ani from everyone.  Devlin wonders if Sorcha could see a thread of the future in which Ani was a part of all this discord.

Marr has enlarged and enveloped us in her faerie world again.  These are familiar characters if you have read her previous Wicked Lovely books, however it is not necessary to have read the previous books to enjoy this one.  I was lost in the book from the first page.  There is the familiar bad boy, but this time there is a bad girl too, both of course with the complex desire to protect family or friends from the coming dangers so the characters are likeable.  The characters are complex and personable with human needs, wants, and problems.

The book will be released April 20 and I am anxious to see if others enjoy this book as much as I did.  The chat rooms have a little about the characters, but nothing about the plot that I have found.  Marr introduces a new character Rae, a spectral girl that Devlin hides in Faerie, and she does play a part, but you don’t realize how important her part is until the book is almost finished.  Ani is another strong female character perfectly capable of taking care of herself and does fight along side Devlin.  Why they are fighting and with whom, you will just have to wait to read the book, I won’t be spoiling the story.

I love Marr’s world of faerie.  Usually a series writer spends part of the book catching the reader up, but Marr doesn’t need to do that because these books follow stories of different individuals in the world of faerie.  Each book tells us more about Marr’s imaginary world of faerie.

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