Young adult books, particularly young adult romance, go through trending topics every couple of years. Marked like the vampires, Shiver with the werewolves, and Wicked Lovely is home to the fae. Aislinn was born with the ability to see invisible faeries, powerful yet dangerous creatures that are best avoided, according to her grandmother. But from the second that she meets Keenan, the Summer King of Fae, her whole life is spun out of control – and her choice could ultimately determine the fate of fae and mortals alike.
This is honestly my first of the faerie trend, and it stayed surprisingly down to earth. Aislinn very much could have easily been a whiny, selfish protagonist, or a textbook timid girl-next-door that suddenly massive things are happening to…but thankfully, none of those cliches were there. This is something Aislinn has been dealing with for her whole life, and yeah, it’s getting worse, but she handles it like a champ. Not once does she cower or bemoan herself for being so weak; instead, she takes steps to strengthen not only her own confidence, but the capabilities of those most important to her. She fights back, and asks questions. She was a strong female protagonist that was incredibly refreshing to see in a book like this one.
So, why did I only give it 3 stars?
What I liked: Aislinn. Honestly, she was one of the few great things about this book. Between her and Donia, the Winter Girl, I was super satisfied with the female representation in this book and how well everything they did was executed. Even Beria (casually abusive mom/Winter Queen) had depth. These are not timid women, and though not all of them are all-powerful, they used what they had and did it well. There is a whole page dedicated to Keenan just admiring Aislinn, and I honestly would have too because of how well she carried herself and her determination to figure out the truth. In addition, the writing was well-paced for the entirety of the book, and I never had to put it down because I was bored. I enjoyed the interactions between the characters, even (*cough* especially) the bro moments between Keenan and Seth. And the ENDING, trashing that love triangle before it even tried to walk up in here. Slow clap for abolishing my least favorite part of any YA book, the dreaded triangle of unhappiness, deceipt, and heartbreak. Maybe it ended kind of slow, but it was worth it, right?
What I didn’t like: The whole story was so…anti-climactic. Hide from the faeries? Check. Fend off the affections of a Summer King? Check. Agree to a mission from the Winter Queen? Check. Storm in on the Summer King’s party? Check…the entire book was like reading off a grocery list. Even when something “big” happened, there was no depth to it. Is this a final showdown between the Winter Queen and the new Summer Queen with her King at full power, or is it me microwaving a bowl of leftover spaghetti? I couldn’t tell the difference, it was that weak. I would have loved to see some build up, or any kind of climax at all, but the whole purpose of the story was Step 1: Make Aislinn the Summer Queen. Check. End of story.
Keenan was also my least favorite character. I got a Privileged White Boy vibe from him the entire time, like Aislinn was supposed to just fall at his feet and he was baffled as to why she didn’t. She constantly rejected his advances, but she’s “The One” so obviously her saying no doesn’t mean anything, really. He has barely any reaction to anything that isn’t Aislinn, whether it’s the fact that he also courted her mom (!!! ugh ugh ugh !!!) or that she genuinely wants to stay with her boyfriend because she has no feelings for him whatsoever. No reaction. His only expressions throughout the entire book are “BUT SHE IS THE ONE” at Aislinn and “BUT I DO ACTUALLY STILL LOVE YOU I THINK” at Donia. It was icky and I did not like it, and it kind of sucked that Seth (who was, like, a genuinely nice character) was only there to be a True Nice Guy/the side of the triangle that is better than Keenan but not really that important to the story. The same thing went down with Grams, where one second she is like “avoid the faeries at all costs!! I will take you out of school and lock you in your bedroom for your own good!!” to “oh so he ruined our lives but I mean you’re stuck with him so I’m just not going to appear again for the rest of the book because now my opinion has been rendered invalid.” There was room for more than one fully fleshed out character, and I am saddened by the lack of potential that so many of them had.
Overall, it was okay. It was a decent length, an interesting premise, and I really liked the main character and the ending. But I wish more had happened, and that I actually cared about any of these people. I probably won’t read the sequels because I literally could not care less, but if you really enjoyed this book, I hope the sequels are just as good if not better than this.
Read January 1st, 2016