Published: HarperTeen (February 22, 2011)
Series: This is the fifth and final book in the Wicked Lovely series.
Source: I received this ARC as a gift from Tara at Hobbitsies.
Spoiler Warning: There will be very minor spoilers for the previous four books in the Wicked Lovely series.
GoodReads Summary: 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.
Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.
Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.
The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless.
My Thoughts: All right, my readers. Brace yourself. This one's gonna be a doozy. And it's gonna be mostly serious, because I am so ridiculously astounded and in love with the end of this series. I don't quite know what Melissa Marr's opinion of the tale of Humpty Dumpty may be, but she seems to be quite efficient in providing the push for that "great fall." The king's horses and the king's men stand absolutely NO CHANCE of quickly putting me back together again after this one.
Ms. Marr is, if nothing else, a weaver of beautiful webs. I'll be honest: when I picked up Wicked Lovely a little over a year ago, I was completely intimidated by the intelligent prose and the wide variety of creatures and characters within the book. The author does not talk down to her readers, but rather compels you to do a little research of your own on these wondrous fey creatures. I had no idea what a Bananach or a Gancanaugh was, but with each subsequent book, I've understood more. Darkest Mercy focuses on the collective whole of each character's tale from the previous four books.
The character development that's taken place throughout the four books is put on grand display in Darkest Mercy. There are so many conflicts: one large, omnious problem at hand with smaller ones interspersed throughout the cast. This could've potentially been confusing, but Marr's transition from one point of view to the next was flawless. I have such an unspeakable amount of love for all the characters. There are great, GREAT losses, people. You know that feeling where all the blood drains from your face and you have to double take a sentence because you want to be absolutely sure that's what you just read? That happened like, 56 times. In like, 30 minutes. Aislinn is no longer the weak, uncertain mortal she was in Wicked Lovely. Niall is no longer the careful, calculating creature he had been in Ink Exchange (and with good reason.) Irial is no longer the embodiment of evil, but shows a softer side (...with a smidgeon of the embodiment of evil.) And Bananach... well, she's still War. And what a fabulously written villain she is. Melissa Marr can do good, she can do evil, SHE DOES IT ALL. Even the characters that I didn't have much feeling toward became beloved with this book.
The gradual buildup has finally reached its climax and OH MY GOD. It was physically painful to put this down. There was not ever a dull moment. EVER. I read every single word carefully, because there was no need for paragraph skimming or skipping. Every detail is golden and necessary. I actually snuck away from my cubicle at work to hide out in the bathroom so I could finish a chapter before my break was over--DON'T TELL MY BOSS. I didn't know how the massive amount of characters would all be given closure in only 336 pages. I didn't know how, after all of the heart-smashing that Marr did with her bare fist, I could possibly stumble upon an ending that didn't make me hurt--like I said, there were so many terrible losses that made me catch my breath a few times--but this ending was the most perfect way for this series of beautiful, incredible books to bow out.
I cried a lot last night at 2:00am when I finished. Tears of happiness and sadness and because I feel like I'm missing a part of my heart now. IT'S THE END OF AN ERA. Series are difficult to bring to a close. There's always something that just isn't quite right or doesn't sit well with me. I can honestly say that I have no qualms or complaints. This is, by far, the best end to a series that I've ever, EVER read. If I ever meet Melissa Marr, I hope she doesn't think I'm strange when I hug her and thank her.
You guys. Please. Go buy these books. Pre-order this one. Yes, they're confusing at times. Yes, you probably won't have much of an idea what many of the characters are, nor their roles, at first. But the end result is so beautiful and makes perfect sense. Each book builds upon the epicness of the last and in the end, there is sacrifice and there is pain. It's like trying to solve a mystery and each book is yet another mind-boggling discovery. I'm still so happy and so sad... and I want to read them all over again, because there's bound to be something new with every single re-read.
Yep. This one's imprinted on my soul forever and is not only my favorite Fey series of all time but probably the best series I've ever read.