Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Published: January 2010 by Harper
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 for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?
I was weary going into this book. After loving Wicked Lovely and being sorely disappointed by the two books that followed, I wasn’t sure if I could continue. But I did. I loved it. This book provided me with a more in depth understanding of the faerie world and also gave clarity to the direction of the series. I think I could read those other books now with a fresh perspective and not be as disappointed. Radiant Shadows has outshone Wicked Lovely in my eyes!
This review will be short, sweet, and extremely unbalanced. I just don’t have anything bad to say about Radiant Shadows. I was disappointed by nothing. It’s like Melissa Marr has taken everything I didn’t like about the other books and corrected them here. Plus, the main character is just so lively – I love how we get to see the story from Ani’s perspective!
So let’s get to it, hey? First up, I loved how the romance part of the novel actually worked out for a change! Ani and Devlin’s coming together works and is brilliant. Devlin finally learns how to balance both sides of his heritage, while Ani brings about that change in him. Ani sees him as someone outside her family that trusts and likes her unconditionally. They just fit together. He doesn’t try to stop her from her urge to fight, in fact, he enjoys her as a fighting companion. They are equal. I love it.
Another great aspect is that all the characters are well developed, especially Ani and Devlin. I also find myself being able to understand other important characters better – such as Irial, Bananach and Sorcha. Plus, I found myself just falling in love with Ani, Trish, Rae and Devlin. There’s just so many good things about this book!
Radiant Shadows really brought to light questions and confusions I had. I feel as though I now have a better understanding of all the courts and their natures. I understand faerie politics better, the different types of faeries, their motives and how that is reflected by the nature of their court. It’s all coming together for me now, finally. I think this is a BIG reason why I liked this book so much. It finally has some clarity.
I also feel like I understand the purpose of the Wicked Lovely series better now because of Radiant Shadows. I was disappointed with Ink Exchange, because it no longer followed the story of Aislinn. Then In Fragile Eternity, when we do get the summer court, the story felt flat and nothing much happened. Now because of the huge shift in Radiant Shadows, I see that the series isn’t to follow the Summer courts royal dilemmas. It’s about dramatic changes that occurs within the faerie world, a chain reaction started by Keenan finding his queen. I now realize that their story is only a part of a bigger one that is so much more exciting!
Now I could be picky and say that the story felt a little disjointed, but I’m just grasping at slippery monkey bars. I really don’t have much to fault about Radiant Shadows at all. This, combined with the clarity and understanding it provided me, I’m going to give it rating of 5. How could I not with the review I just gave? If you are like me, and had given up on the Wicked Lovely series, read Radiant Shadows! This exciting and enticing novel brings out the best in all of Melissa Marr’s stories. It will not disappoint!