May 25 2007
Dear Ms. Marr:
This story probably has one of the best opening scenes I’ve read. Keenan, the Summer King, has wooed countless of girls throughout the centuries, hoping that each is the one who will return Summer to the faeries. The Winter Queen, Keenan’s mother, has been slowly overtaking fairyland and the cold power of her rule is seeping into the human world. Keenan must find the Summer Queen for her power combined with his will be strong enough to combat the cold. For each girl Keenan seduces into loving him and who ultimately is not the Summer Queen, an eternal life of coldness is her reward, with only a wolf for a companion. The forsaken girl is only released from her captivity when another unsuspecting one falls for his golden charms.
Aislinn is his next target. He dreams of her and, like the many girls before he’s courted, believes that she is the one.
Aislinn is special. She can see the faeries and otherworld creatures. Her grandmother is the only one who knows this. Grandmother has taught her the rules to avoid being caught by the faeries, the first of which is to not draw attention to oneself. It wouldn’t matter if Aislinn tried to make herself invisible, as she sometimes does. She had already been marked. Aislinn was seemingly ordinary who found her extra ordinary power useless and frightening. Her only refuge is the converted train car her best friend and not-so-secret crush, Seth, calls home. It’s made of iron and not even the faeries are able to penetrate it.
Seth and Aislinn have been friends for a long time. Seth is a bit like Keenan in that he’s had his share of girlfriends, a string of one nighters as Aislinn characterizes them. She values her friendship with Seth too much to take him up on his constant flirtations. But when Keenan woos her in earnest, will Aislinn succumb and be doomed? Or is she the one who will save them all?
I was worried that there was a love triangle and I hate getting attached to characters only to see one hurt and left out but that part of the story seemed to be clear early on. You relied upon the suspense plot rather than a love triangle to move your story forward. Aislinn’s struggle with her “power” and her desire to be real was a captivating conflict.
Most of the characters were delicately drawn, particularly Keenan and Donia, the current forsaken girl. Keenan wasn’t evil. He was trying to save his people and there was little he wouldn’t do for them. Donia, after decades of watching Keenan romance other girls, still aches for him even though he is constantly breaking her heart. Aislinn was unsure of nearly everything in her life: of Seth’s feelings, of her otherworldliness, of her future.
For the parents out there, there is one intimate scene between Aislinn and a character. The details are sufficiently vague that each reader imputes her own version of what happened that evening. Being the perv that I am, I wished the door wasn’t closed quite so tight but I guess it wouldn’t be a Young Adult book if it weren’t.
There were a couple things that bothered me a bit. Sometimes, particularly at the beginning, I felt the pacing, or maybe it was the tone, was uneven. This may have been intentional by you, to punctuate the difference between Aislinn’s world and Keenan’s world, but at times I felt it interrupted the flow of the story. I also thought that Seth, while a major player in the story, was not as three dimensional as the other three main characters. He was seemed too perfect, too forgiving, too accepting.
Wicked and Lovely is a book, though, I will be taking down regularly from my shelf. It’s a keeper. Maybe even a classic. A-