Leslie is a girl with a very hard life. She has an abusive home that drives her to work as much to get out of her home as much as she needs the money to try and keep paying the bills while her father falls into alcoholism and her brother is consumed by drug addiction – and abusive friends he is willing sell her to his dealer for drugs.
Her life is further complicated since she is a good friend of Aislinn, the new Summer Queen of the Summer Court of the Fae. Her association brings her to the attention of Niall – the Summer Kings advisor who fears he will addict her to him due to his fae nature. And worse, ultimately coming to the attention of the Shadow King.
Irial, the Shadow King has a problem, the new peace between the Summer and Winter fae have left his people without the chaos and pain they need to thrive. His perceived way out is to find a way to feed on mortals – by binding a Shadow Girl to the court and to him. Through her they will be able to feed and even feast – and he will be able to placate his court that is pushing for a self-destructive war they cannot win against the other courts for the chaos it will bring.
But in linking to Leslie, he finds a humanity coming back the other way, leaving the already reluctant king ever more uncomfortable with being ruler of the Dark Court
I said in the first book that I love this world and that hasn’t changed – the courts, the way the different fae interact, the politics of it is immense fun to read. And the complexity of the many different kinds of fae, drawn from a dozen fae legends all interacting together. There is a vast variety in these stories and I love to see them brought together – with the added bonus of the invisible world, all of this existing completely undetected by humanity.
The story was deep and well paced – it wasn’t action packed, it was a story of experience and development rather than action and events. As Leslie is pulled more into the world, as the different fae are torn more over how to deal with her and how to manoeuvre their courts, as friendship and love and need all clash, it become an extremely involved book. It was a story based more on character interaction than event progression and it was handled excellently, never leaving me bored and lacking any excessive tangents. The characters from Wicked Lovely are present, giving continuation to the story, but they’re not dominant, ensuring they do not eclipse Leslie’s story.
There is a lot of complexity in this book that I also hope to see expanded in later books given the very nature of the Dark Court. It’s easy to create a court of faeries – especially the Dark Court – that exists to torture people for fun. In fact, in the Wicked Lovely, we often saw these fae torment mortals and other fae, it was sadistic and often gratuitous and seemed to be just because the court was evil. This book, looking much more closely at the Dark Fae, brings a different slant which needs so much thinking about. With the Dark Court literally feeding on negative emotions – on fear and pain and anger and blood shed in battle, then this becomes much more complex. Without their torments, these fae grow weak, they starve and they become vulnerable.