Given my (near) thirty years living with this word (and using it profusely), I have a special affinity toward it. So, when I spotted this book with its gorgeous cover and great reviews, I had to have it. It looked awesome. And, as I shall prove in this review, it was. Wicked.
Aislinn has grown up with her gram. Both are able to see and hear faeries, but Aislinn has always been taught to ignore them. Why? Because they are of obvious danger to an mortal girl silly enough to fall into one of their trips or to be used in one of their wicked games. This hasn't been too difficult for Aislynn, called Ash by her friends, because she's followed the simple rules set out for her by her gram: Don't stare at the invisible faeries, don't speak to invisible faeries, and don't ever attract their attention.
But this is not so easy anymore. Why? Because they won't leave her alone. All of a sudden, one of the most powerful faeries, the Summer King, has his sights set on Ash. And there seems to be nothing that she can do to stop him from pursuing her.
Luckily for Ash, she has an understanding and compassionate boy/ friend. They have not solidified the fact that they're in a relationship, but it's obvious that Seth is in love with Ash. Obvious to everyone but Ash, that is.
Unlucky for Ash, there's more at stake for the Summer King, his court, and for the evil Winter Queen than just a fun little romp with a mortal. All of their lives, and the lives of mortals, hang in the balance. What can Ash do to save them? Simple. Give up her life and all that she's known to test her fate as the Summer Queen. If she's not the true Queen, she'll be condemned to a fate worse than death. If she is, she'll have to battle to save the lives of the ones she loves most--Seth and her gram.
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Though Ash is a strong character for most of the book, I wished that she was more confident when it came to her relationship with Seth. It was painfully obvious that he was in love with her, yet she still thought that he wanted to be "just" friends. Not so much. Otherwise, I loved the way that Ash felt comfortable standing up to faeries and in taking control of her fate. She is not a dummy, I loved her for that reason.
I also truly loved that the faeries in this book were not all evil. Yes, their intentions were not always selfless, but they were round characters. They had emotions and reasons and thought behind their choices. The book went back and forth between Ash's point of view and two of the most powerful faeries--the Summer King and the Winter Girl. It was interesting to get to know some of the other characters in a more intimate way, and it made me sympathetic for them.
As many of you know, this is the first book in a series. I am far behind in this series, but I am going to try to read much of it before the newest book, Darkest Mercy, hits the shelves in late February. This may not be super realistic, but I am definitely intrigued and interested to see where this storyline will go. Next book in this series: Ink Exchange. Off to purchase a copy!
*Counts toward my participation in the YA Series Challenge for 2011**