Book: Melissa Marr’s ‘Wicked Lovely’ – “Just tender feelings walking around exposed in their delicate shells…Easy to crush.”

I am starting to wonder if I am being overly fussy of late, there seem to be more things that I am under-impressed with than usual and I am listening to a lot of shouty music (I woke up with Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Sin’ stuck in my head and Skinlab’s ‘Come and Get It’ seems to have been on loop this week). So I decided to curl up with a book and not multi-task!

‘Wicked Lovey’ had a cute quote on the front cover, “Never speak to invisible faeries” and the quote on the back of the book was intriguing too “If she ran, they’d chase: faeries always gave chase.”

wicked lovely

This fits with the fae folk in the stories that I grew up with , from Grimm’s tales to Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’, Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Nights Dream’ and Pratchett’s ‘Lords and Ladies’. In these the fae weren’t nice, they were just so pretty that people forgot what they were like, to quote ‘Lords and Ladies’ “If cats looked like frogs we’d realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are.”

Aislinn has a stupid name and can see faeries, she just tries really really hard to pretend that she doesn’t so that the fae don’t find out her secret. Then Keenan, the Summer King, starts stalking her and stuff happens.

The book started well and had some pretty imagery, for example “The vine-girl in the suit was there again. She looked up from her newest menagerie of origami animals – which were now walking around as if they were alive. “Told you, Cerise,” she said, and went back to folding more leaves.”

However some of the characters were a little too two-dimensional for my tastes and at times they were so immature that it was obviously a Young Adult (YA) book. Keenan is more of a princeling than a king, he is immature and self-centred, he has a panto style relationship with his mother who is a paint-by-numbers Disney cartoon villain and Aislinn is pretty shallow too!

goblin market

In keeping with the general framework of a Young Adult book there was no actual sex, but there were numerous references to “the Summer girls” being very open to anyone’s attentions in bed, one in particular that surprised me was:

“Once they’re Summer Girls, their inhibitions are gone. Remember Eliza when she was a mortal? Not the least bit affectionate.” He took a long drink and sighed. “Now she’s much more receptive.”

I personally feel that this is uber creepy and sounds far too close to grooming or spiking drinks. ‘Wicked Lovely’ is also the first Young Adult book in which I’ve encountered clear rape references or tests for sexually transmitted diseases “test results for everything from HIV to chlamydia”. I’m a fan of educated teens (and adults!), but it was a bit of a shocker to trip over these sentences.

lords and ladies

I’m going to stick with less STD-ridden fae from now on, Pratchett had it spot on in his depiction:

“Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.”

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