Fragile Eternity (Wicked Lovely, Book 3)
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2009
When I heard that Fragile Eternity would be a true sequel to Wicked Lovely (Ink is an independent book), I was incredibly excited to get lost in Keenen, Aislinn, Donia and Seth again. I did, of course. All four characters are real and interesting and I loved the dizzy and unpredictable quality of their odd, intense love square. Having Keenan and Aislinn love each other, like most other faery stories would have done, would have solved everything, but Marr clearly didn't want to give anyone any easy answers. That's good. It was challenging and kept me reading. I also really like how Marr gave the concept of eternity a lot of weight. Unlike something like Breaking Dawn that painted it as a sort of never-ending fairy tale, Marr showed the real sorrow behind the possibility of living forever. FOREVER.

There are a few things though that keep me from giving the book as high a rating as I want. First, Marr's prose is usually very lovely. I love her striking visuals. But she tells way too much. Most of the time, writers learn that showing how people feel, showing their motivations is much more effective than simply telling the readers. Marr however chooses to simply tell these things through inner exposition far too much and it feels like I'm being dictated to. What's worse is that she repeats them way too much. So four or five times in two chapters I might be told that Aislinn is afraid of outliving Seth and Gran, or that Keenan loves Donia but needs Aislinn to love him for such and such reasons. It makes me feel like I'm being constantly bashed over the head with the obvious hammer. Like I'm not trusted to have the intelligence to be able to understand what's going on without constant reminders. The repetitions also extend to simple ideas. Like being told over and over again that Bananach is crazy and likes war. After a while I got so annoyed that Bananach lost her edge, even though she was supposed to scare the crap about of me.

Speaking of Bananach, I didn't feel like she really delivered on all the (telling not showing) hype. Characters said constantly that she was this scary, psychotic person, calling her War and the like, but really all she did was get into a couple of small fights and show people lots of freaky illusions. Until she does something *really* bad - like lay waste to an entire town or slaughter everyone in Aislinn's high school - something *real* and truly horrific, I'm not going to take her seriously. She's War after all. Why wasn't there more of it?

In fact, in that same vein, the book didn't really feel like it had a resolution. I suppose I can see it if I take Aislinn and Seth's conversation towards the end as the climax, but it didn't really seem like one at all. More like a tiny peak and then everything was left hanging. I understand that the book is probably meant to set the stage for the next direct sequel to the story of these particular characters, but the middle book of a series still needs to have a story arc and a kind of resolution to that arc even while the major conflict of the series is still unsolved. Catharsis is sacrificed when one reads a book that's purely 'lead up'.

Still, it's really easy to get lost in Marr's world, to feel their frustrations and care about what happens to them. I definitely have no qualms with continuing this series. I just hope it has less problems.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2009
FRAGILE ETERNITY is the third book in the WICKED LOVELY series, and the second that uses the same protagonists from book one-- Ash, Donia and Keenan-- with the addition two new narrators-- Seth and Sorcha. It picks up the narrative of the four faerie courts where INK EXCHANGE left off, but unlike the first two books, FE cannot be read as a stand-alone. It is very a much an in-between book, relying heavily on information from the first two books, and leading up to an appallingly unresolved cliff-hanger at the end. The message is clear: if you want to find out what happens you're going to have to wait for book four, which goes back to being told by different narrators. We won't actually get these characters' takes again until book 5. I might have had more patience for this if I hadn't already put up with it so often for HARRY POTTER and ERAGON, but as it was I left FRAGILE ETERNITY feeling unfulfilled.

That said, Melissa Marr's story continues to be compelling. If it weren't for the awful ending I might have given it four stars. The character development continues to progress in new and unexpected ways as the courts struggle to establish a balance of power, and as Bananach (the harbringer of chaos) brings war ever closer. The love-quadrangle between Aislinn, Seth, Keenan and Donia is a bit trite, and some of the developments are predictable. Nial (King of the Dark Court), Bananach, and now Sorcha (Queen of the High Court) provided the real interest in this story for me. In fact, Sorcha's addition as a narrator was one of the best parts of this book, if only because you can just see all the potential for future plot developments that she brings to the table. I also can't wait to see how Marr resolves (or doesn't?) the tremendous tension that continues to build between the courts in this novel. For faerie enthusiasts, the addition of quite a bit of mythologically-grounded detail adds a nice touch.

All in all this is not Marr's finest, but if you can get past the cliff-hangers and the complicated love-triangle there is some real meat in here. And on the plus side, all the set-up that happens in this book is bound to result in fireworks in books 4 and 5, so don't write this series off yet. I think Marr's still got some trump cards up her sleeve...
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2009
I'm going against the tide here, but this was not one of my favorites. I enjoyed the first two, and actually looked forward to the last. Suffice it to say that by the end I was skipping LONG sections trying to get to the point.

Most of this book was people prattling on and on about a war that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon. It became tedious and boring hearing over and over that war was about to happen. This wouldn't have been so bad if the last book hadn't been filled with the exact same things! She needs to either start the war or stop talking about it.

Also, another issue i had was the love rectangle that was going on throughout the story. It seemed like the majority of the book was spent with everyone pining after one another. Ash is miserable and whiny all the time, crying at the drop of a hat. I understand that she loves Seth, but come on! She's only 17 and dated him for a couple of months! I found myself hoping that someone was going to kill him so that we could move on from that annoying relationship. At least with him dead she can move on to more interesting topics, like the ever brewing war that is on the horizon.

Alright, I'm not ruining anything here, but there wasn't an ending. There wasn't. The book just stopped with no conclusion. I'm a little peeved about that. I really don't want to read the next book, if it's going to be more of the same whiny characters and no action, but i still want to know what's going to happen.

If you are dying to know what happens, they by all means get this book from the library or a friend, but it isn't worth paying for it. Let's just say that NOTHING really happens in the LONG 400 pages. People whine and cry, faeries dance, Seth broods, Ash cries (A LOT, she is quite a pushover in this novel) Keenan sulks and Donia gets a back bone. Other than that, not much more. I kept waiting for the climax that didn't happen.

I was disappointed and won't be buying any more books from Melissa Marr in the near future.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2009
I really found myself getting into Wicked Lovely. It was engaging. The characters were fresh, and the plot was well-developed. Marr had a great story going for herself. I'd never read anything like Wicked Lovely.

Naturally, I grabbed Ink Exchange the moment it came out. I was confused until I realized that it was NOT the sequel to Wicked Lovely. But when I heard Fragile Eternity was due to come out, I became excited.

Sure enough, Fragile Eternity WAS the sequel to Wicked Lovely. I eagerly dove into the book, ready for another amazing story by Marr. I was hoping for something better than Ink Exchange, which I found rather dull.

Unfortunately, this book was nothing like the first. The characters drastically changed, so much so that it was unrealistic. Ash went from a strong female lead to a whiny teenager when she was supposed to be a queen. Seth's demeanor also slipped as he reverted into a little boy wanting to please his new faery-mother Sorcha. (Seth becoming her "son" was completely out there. In one chapter, they were strangers. In the next, she called him "Son"?) Keenan loves Donia then Ash then Donia then Ash. Pick a girl. He supposedly loves Donia and wants to be with her but then he turns around and tries to get Ash. Niall, who I really began to like in Ink Exchange becomes a cruel, selfish jerk, much like Donia. Just because they are suddenly in different courts shifts the bonds between them.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. The other problem I had with this book was its ending. There wasn't one. No conclusion. No sense of closure. It wasn't even a good cliffhanger. It was just blah. Seth and Ash have a little falling out and then suddenly Seth sees forever with her. I don't understand it.

I'll probably read the next book in hopes she can pull the story back together. But I won't be expecting anything great.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2009
So I may be the only girl alive who has qualms with this book. In fact, I had so much trouble that it took me a whopping 5 days to read. Although I read Graceling over the span of 3 months, I actually had only spent 2 days actually reading it because it was a huge read. This means that Fragile Eternity was by far the longest book it has ever taken me to read. If I had it my way, meaning I did not have to mail this book out to a friend, I would have taken another week or so, hoping to drag the pain out over the course of time.

Fragile Eternity takes off immediately where Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange left off. So if you are like me and read those books ages ago, read it again before starting Fragile Eternity. Or you will be lost. Case in point, me. I had trouble beginning the book because I forgot some of the events that happened in those prior books which forced me to be completely and utterly lost. It took about 100 pages in that until I got comfortable again.

Give me another hundred pages and the plot begins to pick up. That is right. More than halfway through the book, page 250 or so, did the actual storyline make any sense. It was a grueling pace from the start. Excessive descriptions, unneeded dialogues, and bouts of what did I just read? I can basically sum up the entire first half in a few sentences. In fact for a hefty read like this, around 400 pages, the entire series moved 3 steps forward and 2 steps back.

Is anyone else not overly obsessed over the characters like me? Aislinn is too naïve for me like she has on a pair of rose-tinted glasses in every wake of her life. Keenan is just a shy of being a gigolo for me just a bit more before I stick a label on his forehead. Seth was kind of there. Well some times. I just see no appeal to him compared to others who fawn over his hard rock appearance and multiple piercings. I mean really though!? I get that he has a lip piercing, but can you please stop mentioning it every other page! For me the real star was Niall. He was the mighty stone who made sense! He who does not whine and complain every few pages shines like a thousand stars! (does anyone else see the irony of me saying this and what I am saying?)

So that was the bad parts of Fragile Eternity. The good news was that the book defiantly had the drama aspect down pat. The relationships between every character had its ups and downs, its hugs and kisses to pain and anguish. I found the brotherhood between Seth and Niall refreshing. There were no love quarrels and no dramatic scenes of "I love you!" and "I hate you!" Simple gestures that make me smile. There were also bits of surprises mainly involving Seth and Sorcha which never would I have imagined! And also a very cute cameo from the cover, the iron flowers of Wicked Lovely in the book.

The ending screams SEQUEL!

Overall: Fragile Eternity definitely could have done better. Too much fluff and not enough of an actual plotline happening.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Let me just get to my point since every other reviewer has already summarized the storyline for this book. Maybe it's just me, but I found Fragile Eternity to be incredibly frustrating and the characters to be seriously lacking as they are defined within the confines of their true roles. There's Keenan, who is the Summer King of the faeries, being portrayed as manipulative, yet a romantic sap of a royal figurehead, Aislinn, a whiney and totally weak teenage Summer Queen, Seth, Aislinn's love and consort, and Donia, the Winter Queen and Keenan's ex/current lover. There are other characters, but I'd rather focus my review on these characters.

What frustrates me about this book is the fact that the concepts of true royalty, and faery ones at that, are totally lost in translation by the author. Everybody is perceiving Keenan as the totally manipulative bad guy, but if you truly take into account the weight of his role and how his decisions affect the strength of his court, you can't really blame the monarch for pursuing Aislinn. The strength of his fey and entire court is entirely dependant on the strength of their relationship. In retrospect, and in comparison to the other Kings or Queens of the other courts, he's not even really all that bad! If anything, I think he's always acted like a total gentleman towards Aislinn and has respected her set boundaries, regardless of how much it hurts him and his feys to do so. Aislinn, on the other hand, is the most whiney, immature and selfish person that, in my opinion, doesn't deserve to keep her position as the Summer Queen. Even after reports come in of her fey weakening and being attacked by the dark feys, due in major part to her reluctance to strengthen the bond between her and the king to strengthen her court, she ignores their needs for her own selfish need to stay with Seth. I'm sorry, but a true queen would put her people's needs in front of her own. Especially, when it starts putting her people in danger. With that being said, I have a lot more respect for Donya for truly stepping into her role as the Winter Queen because she's the only new monarch that seems to fully understand how her actions dictate the strength of her court. That is how royalty is supposed to act! As for Seth, I just keep hoping that he'll just be taken out of the picture or made to fall in love with someone else so that he can leave Aislinn alone to rule with her king and focus on her court.

I was also frustrated with the conclusion of the book, or lack thereof. I do hope Melissa Marr turns up the notch in the next book and at least makes the characters a little more realistic by actually portraying the characters with characteristics that are more becoming of "royalty".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fragile Eternity begins where Ink Exchange ends. The young Aislinn has taken on her new role as the Summer Queen and has accepted her transformation as a faery queen. She is still coming to grips with her new life that is filled with both wonderment and danger. Aislinn wants to stay as close to mortal as she can but each day she is one step closer to turning her back on her human side. Her anchor is 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 by denying Keenan she could tear apart her court. It is one thing to care for Keenan, but they need more a bond between them, which is sex. Aislinn refuses to be intimate with Keenan and only gives that part of herself to Seth. (The sex between Seth and Aislinn is very, very subtle. It is a YA after all)

Keenan needs Aislinn desperately and wants to love and cherish her but she keeps turning away from him and will only settle for friendship. Keenan is uneasy because he also loves. 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 refuses 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, because Seth will age and die. 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. And that price will alter Seth and Aislinn's relationship forever.

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 means. 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. Sorcha is my favorite character in this book because everything she mentions makes perfect sense. All the main characters have a need to gain something and because of it, they act in ways that place them at odds with their humanity. Can faeries be humane? That is the main question that arises throughout Fragile Eternity.

Fragile Eternity has 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.

Katiebabs

Wicked Lovely
Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I was never really an all out fan for this series, yet i was intrigued by the potential of the series and decided to take a chance on Fragile Eternity. I was extremely annoyed by this book and its characters, along with the unnecessary details. I was hoping after Wicked Lovely that Seth would just die or never come back from Faery so Aislinn could move on with the rest of the book.

SPOILER ALERT!! Yet after Seth became Faery i guess it opened possibilities for future books, i still don't like him. There isn't really much depth to Seth's relationship with Ash other than he loves her and wants to be with her forever, even though they have only dated 5 months or so.

The constant love triangle between Aislinn, Seth, and Kennan is constant in the book, and is further entangled with Donia. These complicated relationships just angered me to where the only reason i finished the book was in the hope that Aislinn and Kennen could stay together without Seth.

The worst part of this book I thought was the freaking out about War every chapter filled with the possibilities of a war and the scenarios but nothing ever happens... To go along with Marr's too many details i just skipped to the dialog on many parts.

If you are truly into the series go ahead and read it but DO NOT waste any money on this book, and just go to the library you wont want to read it again. This was not Marr's best, but my love for the fairy world has me looking forward to better sequels in the series.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Melissa Marr has taken us deep into the folklore with her third installment and second book in the Wicked Lovely series. In the previous two books Marr sets the stage for the events that take place in "Fragile Eternity." While the previous books only skim the surface of the folklore, in "Fragile Eternity" Marr pulls us even further into their world. We get to not only see more of the much loved Summer Court but also the Dark and Winter Court. Most of all I was intrigued by the High Court and Queen Sorcha's way of ruling and conducting business.

The characters all underwent a bit of a transformation. Not to spoil it, but Aislinn's character is not quite what I remember from "Wicked Lovely." Perhaps the love rectangle and the new status as Summer Queen change things, but I didn't expect her to be so easily pliable or influenced. Keenan was still a jerk and still single minded. He had one goal and one goal only when it came to himself and his court, forsaking anyone else's feelings or wishes. Ash and Keenan's relationship is a complex one but like many relationship based on responsibility and not on love it was doomed to fail. I admire Marr's writing and analysis into their relationship. She shows how hard it is for both of them to truly get what they want; the push and pull of necessity for power vs necessity for love.

Donia and Niall continue to be one of my favorite characters. Donia because she's so hot and cold, like a mixture of Summer and Winter. Yet, she's in the book so little that I am intrigued to know more. Especially once the almost courting happens and then doesn't happen then almost happens again. (Yeah, sorry. I'm trying to avoid spoilers.) Niall's character is so dark, yet honorable that it makes you appreciate his character so much more. He has a large part in this book and he really steps it up and shows who's boss. Niall still holds on to that mysterious dark side in this book and as the new Dark King his character has to make some tough choices and step over some toes even. In the end, he and Seth's friendship is one that I look forward to reading in the next book.

Melissa Marr's writing is as always striking. Well written and descriptive. Pull you into a scene and hold you in it. All her descriptions are palpable and real. I can feel what the characters feel and few authors are truly as successful as she. I enjoy reading her writing and her character's voices are as distinct as any, really speaking in their unique way.

Because Marr had already set the stage in both "Wicked Lovely" and "Ink Exchange" the need to be easy on the folklore was not an option. She delves even deeper bring more and more of the folklore we love into it. But, in my opinion, it seemed too heavy at times making me stop and go back rereading and rethinking parts. Maybe it was because I read it while I was studying for finals, or maybe I just wasn't in the right mindset. It took me a longer time to read because it was so heavy set with folklore and therefore the semi-rambling review. Nonetheless this is a good read and Melissa pulls another good story for us to enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2009
A few months have passed since the events of INK EXCHANGE, and there have been many changes in Huntsdale. The three faery courts have enthroned new rulers. The Summer Court is experiencing a rebirth since Aislinn became the immortal Summer Queen, co-ruling with Keenan the Summer King. The Earth is enjoying a welcomed respite after years of suffering from the unrelenting winter, and mortals and Summer fey alike are thriving. However, despite the celebratory mood, not all is well.

Aislinn seeks to find a balance between her once mortal life and her unending future. Her relationship with Seth is strong, but she worries about the life she'll have without the people she loves and cares about. And her platonic partnership with Keenan, already difficult, has become more awkward as the summer approaches.

As Aislinn navigates the unstable Faerie politics, Seth is navigating his own path in the world of faeries. As the love of the Summer Queen, a brother-figure to the Dark King, and a friend of the Winter Queen --- who also gave him the Sight --- Seth's position in the Courts is unique even compared to other faeries. Unfortunately as a mortal, Seth is vulnerable and knows that he won't be able to stay with Ash forever. However, that disheartening issue won't stop him from being a part of Ash's world, even if that means standing up to the Faery King who his true love is fated to be with.

Meanwhile, the Winter and Dark Courts are dealing with their own issues. Donia is at a crossroads in her stormy affair with Keenan. Niall is adjusting well to his rule as the Dark King, but his anger towards the Summer Court --- both in regard to his past with Keenan and to the horrific situation with Leslie --- is at odds with his friendship with Seth. At the same time, the raven-faery Bananach, the epitome of War, is stirring up major trouble that involves all of the Courts including the High Court, where Sorcha the Unchanging Queen --- considered the epitome of Reason --- has created a dangerous plan of her own.

Old grudges and new hurts threaten to destroy the delicate balance. Will Aislinn be able to live a peaceful eternity, or will her worst fears come true?

With shifting alliances, family issues and a rather disturbing series of events, FRAGILE ETERNITY offers plenty for fans of this mesmerizing series to talk about. All I have to ask is, when is Melissa Marr's next book going to be published?

--- Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle
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