Wicked Lovely–The First Chapters
Now that the palette is cleansed regarding vampires (thank you Dead to the World), it’s time to start exploring other fantasy creatures. One one hand, the next Sookie Stackhouse book on deck for me appears to be more about weres and shifters than about vampires. On the other hand, here’s a portion of the inside jacket cover blurb:
“But her concern for XXXX becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population[…]Now Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who’s behind the attacks…”
Any time I see that the antagonist is just a generic “hunter” I get a little wary. However, this is the fifth book of the series and I trust Harris enough that this hunter isn’t some cheap antagonist or villain MacGuffin stuck in there to weakly justify the plot.
Like I said before, I decided to try the young adult series, Wicked Lovely which focuses on fairies. I’ll readily admit that I’m not as familiar with fairie mythology as I am with vampires.* I know they are more than just sweet, occasionally impulsive Tinkerbells and that there are stories that show how dangerous they can be. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is also my favorite of Shakespeare’s comedies, so I do have a passing familiarity with how they are portrayed in literature. However, I couldn’t tell you the different strengths and weaknesses they have the way I can with vampires. And fairies do not have the one or two famous stories that establish a foundational modern mythos the way vampires do.**
So, Wicked Lovely then…
So far I’ve read the first three chapters (about 36 pages 1.5 spaced with a size 12 font and generous margins) and I’m impressed with how quickly Melissa Marr established the setting, the main characters, and the rules of her story. Fairies are old. They are repelled by iron and steel the way vampires are repelled by crosses or silver depending on the mythos used. The heroine, Aislinn (nicknamed Ash), chose to live in the decaying city of Huntsdale because it mostly iron and she can hide from fairies. She can seem them, but wishes she couldn’t. And she was raised by her grandmother to be terrified of ever attracting the fairies’ notice.
One of the things a writer must be wary of when establishing a mythos is the exposition dump. You need to tell the audience what’s going on, but not in such a way that the scene appears exclusively for that reason and doesn’t contribute to the story. Marr manages to avoid the pitfall and sprinkle enough exposition through the first three chapters in a way that it doesn’t only explain the mythology, but it helps establish the character of Aislinn, her best friend Seth, and the relationship between the two.
As for how much this book deviates from “traditional” fairy mythos, I couldn’t tell you.*** I can tell you that the first three chapters did an admirable job getting me interested in the story and the characters.
* I am aware that fairies start to figure prominently in the later Sookie Stackhouse books. However, I’m not up to them yet.
** I’m thinking of course, of Dracula and Carmilla. Though I’ve also read that the modern foundation goes all the way back to the The Vampyr, a story that’s meant to make fun of Lord Byron.
*** Judging by the epigrams Marr uses to begin every chapter, she has a good sense of what’s been written.