Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Perfect 10: FRAGILE BEAUTY by Melissa Marr

A Perfect 10
Harper Collins
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-121471-4
May 2009
Young Adult Fantasy

Huntsdale, Pennsylvania and the various Faery Courts - Present Day

The young Aislinn has taken on her new role as the Summer Queen. She has accepted her transformation as a faery queen and is still coming to grips with a new life that is filled with both wonderment and danger. Aislinn wants to stay as close to mortal as she can by attending high school and keeping her human friends. Each day she is one step closer to turning her back on her human side, and only her mortal boyfriend and love of her life, Seth, keeps her grounded. Seth adores Aislinn and wants to stay with her always. But Seth knows he has so much going against him because he is a mortal. He also has to fight for Aislinn’s heart as she is courted by Keenan, her Summer King. Aislinn may love Seth and not Keenan, but she knows that by denying Keenan she could tear apart her court.

Keenan needs Aislinn desperately and wants to love and cherish her, but she turns away from him and will only settle for friendship between them. Keenan is uneasy because he also loves another he cannot be with. He longs for Donia, the Winter Queen, who was once mortal. Because they are total opposites, Keenan and Donia can never be together the way they long to be. Aislinn tries to push Keenan toward Donia, but even touching Donia is dangerous. And because Donia can’t be with Keenan, she decides to do what is best for her court and refuse to even see Keenan. Because of the turmoil between these two, the Winter and Summer courts are on their way to becoming enemies.

There is one who would love nothing better than having the Summer and Winter courts destroyed and that is Bananach, the twin to Sorcha, the Queen of the High Court. Bananach is blood thirsty and as close to deranged as one can be. Bananach loves pain, violence, chaos, and destruction because it resides deep inside her soul. Bananach exists because of the pain others feel. She wants her sister to join her in starting a war with all the courts, which also includes the Dark Court that is ruled by Niall who used to serve Keenan, but now has become his adversary. Sorcha longs for harmony and peace because that is her nature. She wishes to stop Bananach but can’t, and because of that, Bananach could start a chain of events that may destroy all the faery courts.

There is much unrest and instability among the faeries. Seth feels he is losing Aislinn. Keenan taunts Seth because he knows in the end that Aislinn will be his, even if he must wait till Seth grows old and dies. Seth refuses to leave Aislinn and comes to a disturbing decision. He will turn into a faery and goes to Sorcha who can change him. She is willing to do this, but for a price.

FRAGILE ETERNITY is the sequel to the smash hit WICKEDLY LOVELY (April, 2008) that awed and amazed both teens and adults with the dark story of the faery and their quest to rule. Melissa Marr has created a very dark world where faeries and mortals collide. Even though FRAGILE ETERNITY is a young adult book, there is some heavy subject matter such as sex and violence. Marr handles these issues with great skill. Once you start reading, you will not want to stop. You will become lost in the world Marr has penned.

There are so many characters in FRAGILE ETERNITY who walk a fine line between good and evil. There is an undercurrent of constant pain and suffering from all the rulers of each individual faery court because one wrong move could end their lives. There is no lasting peace because a war is brewing and the outcome is unknown.

Aislinn and Seth will tear at your heart because they are star crossed lovers; because they are so different from one another, their love is not meant to be. Seth makes the ultimate sacrifice because of his love for Aislinn that may destroy everything between them. Aislinn has so much responsibility and many relying on her to make the right decisions. Every movement she makes is watched, and she has no choice but to welcome Keenan who wants Aislinn for his own greedy reasons. I found Keenan to be a very interesting character in the sense that he may be a bit unscrupulous in his regard to Aislinn, but he is also very tortured. His relationship with Donia is very much like the one Aislinn and Seth have. Seth and Aislinn may be together where they can be intimate and share their love, but there is a feeling of desperation between the two because, in the end, they may be separated. Keenan and Donia long for one another deeply, and have been together for some very short periods of time, but their love affair is doomed because Winter and Summer cannot be together.

Sorcha the High Queen at first comes across as devious, especially when she gives Seth his wish. But as we see Sorcha and Seth together, your opinion will change. Sorcha is everything that is good and right with the faery. She counteracts her sister Bananach who is evil and wrong. These two sisters are the yin and yang of this tale. Niall, the ruler of the Dark Court, is very good friends with Seth and wants Seth to turn away from the faery and Aislinn so he can keep his mortality. Niall understands that being immortal is a curse.

FRAGILE ETERNITY may possibly be one of the best fantasy stories I have read in years. There is a nice balance with Marr’s characters and the world she has written. Fans of fairy tales will not want to miss out on this reading experience. I also urge you to pick up WICKEDLY LOVELY, the first book that introduces the faery and Aislinn. FRAGILE ETERNITY is one book that rightly deserves RRT’s Perfect 10 award.

Kate Garrabrant

1 comment:

penney said...

Thanks for the review the book sounds great!