Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
This book ends the Wicked Lovely series. I’ve enjoyed the other books and the ending that this book gives to the various narrative strains. All out war between the fairy courts made this volume an exciting climax to the entire series. In addition to the action, there were some intriguing dramatic and romantic scenes, with characters making big choices, some of which seemed surprising, yet inevitable. As the novel opens, the characters are positioned like chess pieces, threatening or protecting each other. Aislynn and Keenan, the Summer Queen and King, are each in love with another and struggling to rule their court together without being together. One thing I really appreciate about this series is that Aislynn doesn’t fall for Keenan, despite all the magic urging her to.
The motivations for some of the characters sometimes seemed weak because they were based on “rules” of the fairy world, like the need for balance between the courts, or the fact that Summer must be happy and when the Summer King and Queen aren’t happy and aren’t together, their court is weak. Bananach, the villain, the embodiment of Disorder, nicknamed War, was transparent in this same way.
If you grant Marr the right to make the rules for her world, though, these criticisms fade slightly. They also pale in comparison to the quality of her prose, which is far better than average for YA lit.