Wicked Lovely was a beautifully written introduction into this world hidden among mortals. Ink Exchange veered from the main characters, Aislinn and Keenan, focusing on another character and important avenue, broadening this amazing world. Fragile Eternity turned back to Aislinn and Keenan, and their internal struggles to be who they are meant to be. And of course, love and all its balance, sacrifice, and effort plays a huge roll in those decisions.
Radiant Shadows was another drift from the main characters, but, in my opinion, it did the story justice. As a reader, I was able to see more of the world-building Marr is so gifted at creating. Focusing on two different characters, allowed me to watch others at a distance and how they reacted to being background characters.
The climactic ending to the Wicked Lovely saga is strong, enticing, and yes--fulfilling. Darkest Mercy threads together the first four books and their diversity. The main plot, which remained intact throughout the series, grows in strength and angst with the flip of each page. Despite personal gripes or past misgivings between characters of each Court, the fact remains that their beloved Faerie and their futures are in trouble. Will they rise above their differences to have a future?
The voices are as bold as ever, even with a few twists that could have made reading complicated. But Marr does a marvelous and clear job in communicating the character's needs and desires. I also found some of their self-examinations to be deeper - two in particular, but I won't name them not wanting to give any of the story away. The action scenes are poetically descriptive and plausible. I really enjoyed watching certain characters dig deep within themselves, while others sadly faded. As one would say, "It's all in the script, for the love of the story."
The threat War creates builds consistently throughout the story until the climatic ending moves every character--those we've grown to love, be annoyed with, or hate--beyond his/her self to invest in something more. Something real. True internal growth. It was a thing of beauty to watch characters sacrifice more than they thought they were capable of. And it was an enchanting contradiction to menace that had been lurking through each book.
In the end, the story is a journey of love. Whether it be love of another faery, love of home and a place to belong, or love of honor and dedication to one's responsibility, love and what it takes is the ultimate message. It's at the forefront of every character thread and motivation.