I tried to write this review without spoilers, but for die-hards there might be a few things that you wouldn’t want to know.
The fourth book in the Wicked Lovely series comes back to the Dark Court, which might make fans of Ink Exchange happy. Devlin, Sorcha’s “brother” and protector, is sent to the mortal world to look after Seth. While he’s there he encounters Gabriel’s daughter, Ani. Ani is suffering some growing pains. She is part mortal, Hound and Dark Court Faerie. But, Ani is different from her half-ling brother and sister and it’s this difference that draws attention to her. Gabriel is overprotective. Irial tries to keep her safe at the same time he performs all kinds of experiments on her and Bananach would use Ani for her own gain. And then there’s Devlin. He was supposed to kill her long ago, but he didn’t and now they are drawn together in an opposites attract, star-crossed lover’s kind of way. Devlin’s role is to restore order and Ani thrives in chaos. Together they must figure out a way to save they entire Faerie world.
I was so unhappy, after finishing Fragile Eternity, I wasn’t waiting on pins and needles to read Radiant Shadows. I hated Seth so much it almost eclipsed the rest of the story for me. The ending was a serious lead up to the next book and I enjoy the overall story arc, so I knew I would read it just to find out what happens. I was looking forward to learning more about Devlin and Ani. They’re both somewhat out of place in their courts. The introduction sucked me right into the story and I was pleased to discover that Devlin isn’t just an assassin and the balance between War and Logic. I love that he hides things from Sorcha and creates his own world. The scene when Devlin first meets Ani (in the present) was great, there was a good dose of tension and spark there, but it just doesn’t last.
Sure, I like both characters and I wanted them to get together, but their relationship wasn’t really developed. I felt like there was a lot of repetition of why this could happen or that couldn’t happen, but not enough action and description. Even in some of the action sequences, Marr tells you what happens instead of describing it. Overall, I was pretty disappointed, because I like where the plot is going, just not how it gets there. I enjoyed Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange. I thought they were both fairly fast-paced, with more developed characters and a good dose of romantic tension, but Radiant Shadows doesn’t seem to live up to either of those. As for Seth, I know that a lot of people really loved him after FE, but as I said, I couldn’t stand him. In this book, I sometimes felt he wasn’t so bad (Ash is not around) and other times (for Devlin’s sake) I hated him even more. But, we do get a good dose of Irial (sigh) and a few glimpses of Niall who has firmly taken on his role as King of the Dark Court. There is a major event in their relationship, but I won’t say any more than that. I’ll definitely read the final installment, because I love the plot and the world, but I hope that there is more depth to the characters and a more tightly woven story. Radiant Shadows had the potential to be a really great book, but it just didn’t live up to my expectations.