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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely #4) by Melissa Marr

Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: April 2, 2010
Pages: 340
Source: Library
Rating: 3 Stars - I Liked It
Description: Hunger for nourishment. Hunger for touch. Hunger to belong. Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.
Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries' coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death.
Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear forone another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

In short: Unfortunately, I had a hard time connecting to the characters and relationship in Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr. But at least there was no Keenan!
Radiant Shadows is the second departure from the Aislinn-Seth-Keenan storyline in the Wicked Lovely series (the first one being Ink Exchange) while still being a continuation of the story. If that makes any sense at all. Radiant Shadows features halfing Ani, who we learn about briefly in Ink Exchange, the advisor to the High Queen, Devlin, who we learn about briefly in Fragile Eternity, and a completely new character, Rae, who is a dreamwalker.

I was pretty tolerant of the first departure from the main storyline in Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely #2), I think because I hadn't become as invested in the main characters at that point, but after reading Fragile Eternity (Wicked Lovely #3), I found that I didn't have very much patience for these new characters. While Marr does a fairly good job at tying in this book to the overarching storyline, I couldn't help but feel like I just wanted to get back to the main story with the main characters. I think it's for this reason that I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. Also, the relationship between Ani and Devlin was just sort of random and felt inauthentic. There was no real buildup to their relationship.

I hesitate to mention this, but I have one nitpick with the plot that just won't stop bugging me: I really wish Marr had taken the time to understand how the Sleep Cycle and REM Sleep works. Or maybe she does know but she just chose to ignore it. At any rate, there were certain scenes involving Rae, the dreamwalker, that just didn't work for me because they didn't have at least a basis of fact. It might be unfair of me to nitpick to this detail but unfortunately, it did impact my enjoyment of the novel and simple research on Marr's part could have corrected this.

The ending was the saving grace of Radiant Shadows; I really liked the direction and advancement of the plot at the end. It sets it up perfectly for the final in the series, Darkest Mercy! Another thing I really liked was the further look into the mythology of the Dark Court, and along with that, Niall and Irial's relationship. Also a plus: no Keenan!

Previously, My Reviews for Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, and Fragile Eternity.

Other Reviews:
A Blog About Nothing
Musings Of A Reader Happy

Stalk the Author (not for serious):

*Read as part of the YA Series Challenge
*The Letter R in the A-Z Reading Challenge


  1. I've only read the first book in the series and liked it !! I should buy the other books !! =) Thanks for your review ;)

  2. I've only read the first book but I really want to know more. It drives me crazy when authors get things wrong that they could get right if they researched a little bit. Like in Dark Devine - the book is set in a town very close to where I live. The description of the setting is laughably wrong. She should have just made up a town. It almost ruined the book for me.

  3. Hmm, yeah, the ending rocked. For me, I think the fact that Marr promises to explain the plot shifts and everything in Mercy seems to be a factor which makes me tolerate (and sorta love) the shift from Aislinn to Ani...again, I sorta liked Ani...(the REM cycle thing's true though...I didnt notice, maybe coz I read so fast :) )

  4. This is the only one I haven't read yet (besides the new one coming out) and I really love the series. Thanks for the insightful review!


  5. Hm. I can definitely see how the continuing departure from the characters we got attached to in Wicked Lovely would be a bit frustrating. I don't mind new characters, but I think I would rather have a chapter or two that focuses on them and then switches back to the main protagonists other than a whole book though. Maybe once I read these though it won't bother me as much. Glad to know the ending makes up for a lot of what disappointed you though! Nice, honest review Aylee:)

  6. This one wasn't my favorite either, I liked it but not as much as the others. I agree with the ending of it too, I liked the direction it took at the end. Great review! BTW I am LOVING your new header!!!!! ack!! =D

  7. No Keenan - hahaha! I wondered if that was going to come up in your review. :)

  8. So, let me get this straight, no Keenan?! LOL

    Agh, Aylee, aren't series books supposed to get better with each book? Still haven't read any of the books, but they are on my TBR. I'm trying to get excited about them.

  9. Elodie: I recommend trying out the other ones as well!

    Alison: That would be so annoying! I do feel a bit bad for nitpicking but at the same time, I can't help but admit that it did kind of diminish my love for it unfortunately!

    Ani Raye: Yes, that's a good point. I hope everything will come together in DM!

    Khadija: You're welcome!

    Jenny: You know, maybe it wouldn't have bothered me as much if I hadn't been reading these back to back. Maybe if I had spread them out like normal I'd have a lot more patience... So there's definitely a good chance that it wouldn't bother you as much as it bothered me!

    Cynthia: Yes, I'm hopeful DM will be the best of the series after that ending! Thanks for the compliment on my header! :)

    Logan: I feel like I need to mention it in every book in this series I read; I think people expect it of me :)

    Missie: Other people have told me they're supposed to get better... I think I'm just an anomaly. And I think maybe I would in fact feel that way if I hadn't been reading these in such close succession and instead spread them out a bit more. Sorry if I'm sucking out your excitement of these books!

  10. LOL, I do expect you to mention Keenan, and I'm happy to hear he wasn't in this book. :P

    Your reviews make me happy with my decision not to read beyond the first book. I can see how it would be really frustrating to switch characters like this. Sorry you're not loving the series. Hopefully the last book will be better.

  11. Yes, I hope it will be better too. Honestly, I really have to wonder if I would perhaps be enjoying the story more if I wasn't reading the books back-to-back at a period of such high stress in my life (midterms)! Gah!

  12. I still have not read this series. *shame* But great review, despite the disappointment.

  13. Nah, don't be ashamed. I had not really been aware of it until a couple months ago.

  14. lol, yay - no Keenan!
    Great review! I appreciate your honesty. :)

  15. It doesn't sound like I'll be a fan of the fourth book so I'm just wondering how important it is to read it before I read the fifth?

    I also find it annoying when things don't work out scientifically. That maybe just because we're in the science stream :)

    Hope your midterms are going well, Aylee!

  16. Jessica: Thanks!

    A Canadian Girl: I would give the book a try. I really have to wonder if I would perhaps be enjoying the story more if I wasn't reading the books back-to-back at a period of such high stress in my life... so there's a good chance you will enjoy this more than I did. Do the 100 page test and if you find you can't get into it then skip to the end because there were some important developments made at the end that relate to Darkest Mercy. Hope your midterms are going well too!

  17. I loved Fragile Eternity, and I agree that Ink Exchange didn't really work for me. I really like the series overall, though, so I think I'm going to give it a try.
    Great review, thanks!

  18. I did: all my work was done and I was browsing: your blog is awesome, and I totally love the banner! Thanks for following me!
    When you get the chance you so have to read the Vampire Academy: it's such an awesome series!
    That's the curse of all book addicts, there are waay too many books.
    Thank you!

  19. Hey Aylee,
    How's it going? I've missed your posts. I assume that school is taking up all your time, but I just wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you :-)

  20. The Book Addicted Girl: Yeah, I would definitely recommend it!

    Alison: Yup, super busy, even now during "spring" break, blah.