Children's Review: Wicked Lovely

Marr's seductive first novel will undoubtedly draw comparisons to Stephenie Meyer's debut book, Twilight, due to the strong, intelligent high school girl at its center, who has a close male friend and experiences a magnetic pull toward an otherworldly, charismatic man. But there the similarity ends. Marr here creates a fully realized faerie realm with a mysterious hold over Aislinn, whose mother "died in childbirth." Gram, who raised Aislinn, has warned her about the evils of faeries since she was small. Like her mother and grandmother, the teen has the Sight, though she hides her gift. One day, an exceptionally powerful fairy, Keenan, begins to pursue Aislinn ("tan and too beautiful to touch . . .  he moved as if he were in charge of everyone and everything"), and all the boundaries that she thought kept her safe begin to break down. She seeks refuge in the train car that her friend Seth has converted into a home (steel weakens fairies), and confides in him. As Aislinn's and Seth's feelings for each other grow stronger, so do Keenan's efforts in pursuit of her. Keenan, the Summer King, is convinced that Aislinn is the queen for whom he has searched for centuries. If he is right, together they can restore balance to the faerie world--and the earth, whose environment is off-kilter because of the Winter Queen's undue concentration of power. Marr may not make much of a case for the environmental thread, but she does paint a tantalizing picture of the faerie world: the sensuous, vapid Summer Girls, the revelry of the Rath and Ruins club where the faeries congregate, and Donia, the Winter Girl who was so certain that she was the one meant to reign at Keenan's side. Aislinn's ability to straddle the real and faerie worlds is quite breathtaking, and readers will rapidly turn pages to see if she chooses the mortal Seth or the Summer King.--Jennifer M. Brown

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