by Melissa Marr
Review by Gayle Surrette
HarperCollins Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061214714
Date: 01 May 2009 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Things are much as they were at the end of Ink Exchange, Niall is King of the Dark Court, Donia is the Winter Queen, Keenan is the Summer King and coming into his full powers, and Aislinn is the Summer Queen. However, Aislinn is refusing to be more than a coworker with Keenan, she's in love with Seth. Seth is human and therefore fragile and is chafing under the care Aislinn insists on for his protection. Seth is very aware of his mortality and how short his time is with Aislinn. Then Bananach begins to work to cause strife to start a war between the courts -- and Seth is key to her plan.
This is very much Seth's books. He's a human who can see and interact with faerykind. He's friends with Niall and Donia and is Aislinn's lover. He's a cause to be concerned about by all the courts and has drawn the attention of War, Bananach.
The key problem is that Kennan wants a true Summer Queen, a consort and lover. He loves Donia but she is now the Winter Queen. Aislinn refuses to give up Seth and keeps Kennan at a distance. He knows he can just play for time because Seth, as a human will die and then he'll get Aislinn for his own. Donia is not pleased with this but she understands. Seth, however, doesn't want to be the weakling that has to be looked after all the time. He begins to research a way that he can be with Aislinn for eternity.
There's more politics in this book as the major players have now all taken their responsibilities as rulers of the various courts. The courts must be in balance and that balance is difficult to achieve since for years the old Winter Queen held sway, not allowing Summer to have its season. The Dark Court should balance Sorcha, the Unchanging Queen of Faery, but Dark has also been weakened by the long winter.
Into this comes, Seth, the wild card. With friends in several courts, and the official protection of the Dark Court, and as lover of the Queen of Summer, he moves between all the faery courts, but since he's human he can not be part of any of them.
How he deals with his dilemma makes for an interesting story. There's enough intrigue and miscommunication to keep up the interest. I was far more interested in Seth and his journey to find a solution that would work for him and Aislinn.
As in real life, the ending is not neat and predictable. Marr managed to take us in another direction, and builds on the story she's set in motion with Wicked Lovely.