This riveting fantasy marks Melissa Marr’s return to the world of faery courts that made her Wicked Lovely series an international phenomenon.
Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal—she’s half human, half fae, and since the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humans and faeries. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of the fae courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir due to the actions of reckless humans.
Lily’s father has always shielded her, but when she’s sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, she’s delivered straight into the arms of a fae sleeper cell—the Black Diamonds. The Diamonds are planted in the human world as the sons and daughters of the most influential families and tasked with destroying it from within. Against her will, Lilywhite’s been chosen to join them…and even the romantic attention of the fae rock singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the familiar world she knows.
Melissa Marr returns to faery in a dramatic story of the precarious space between two worlds and the people who must thrive there. The combination of ethereal fae powers, tumultuous romance, and a bloodthirsty faery queen will have longtime fans and new readers at the edge of their seats.
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Edelweiss and HarperCollins
When I was approved for this book, I literally jumped up and down in total excitement. Melissa Marr has influenced my own writing in so many ways. Particularly, that dark, gritty side of humanity that can be found even in the most epically paranormal creatures. Wicked Lovely was a huge part of my teen years and I was eager to get back into the twisted fae underworld set right alongside humans. Seven Black Diamonds has elements of everything I love about Melissa Marr’s character building. Deeply layered, flawed, real, and makes you delve into the gray space between good and evil. There’s a lot going on: eco-terrorism, mobsters, murder, rock stars, mystery, and sleeper cells, among politics, romance, and a quest for revenge. Somewhere in the madness, that bewitching quality was lost.
- Lilywhite (Lily) is fierce, independent, outspoken, a definite mobster’s daughter. She knows her value and will fight for her freedom. She understands that sometimes, bloodshed is necessary. Lily is confused over her identity. She’s sure she’s fae blood but can never be herself. If she were exposed as fae in the human world, she’d be arrested and killed. So Lily bottles it up and lives for the quiet moments when she can commune with nature and be free.
- Each of the Seven Diamonds are memorable and likable. Roan and Will have the least involvement; I would have liked to see more of their personalities and romance. Violet is a feisty, hotheaded woman with an appetite for violence. Her temper flares hot and cold, flipping like a switch that will keep you guessing. Alkamy is abrasive, rude, mean when she wants to be, and a sweetheart beneath the sarcastic exterior. She’s full of love and admiration when you get to know her.
- Diversity in abundance. Characters of different walks of life, various races and sexual preferences.
- The Queen of Blood and Rage is wickedly bloodthirsty and violent. She’s calculating, blunt, and steps ahead of everyone else. A mastermind at political intrigue. I loved her. The fear that she instills in everyone she meets is all consuming.
- I adored Lily’s mobster side. Her joy at pretty weaponry and being able to use them with skill. Her Abernathy commandments. The way she is with her father. The intricate workings of the crime world.
- The world building is glorious. Dark, wicked, gritty. The eco-terrorism, the revenge, the killing of the innocents. The war waging between humans and fae is one of secrecy, “accidents”, and environmental mishaps. The Seelie and Unseelie have united and now, the Hidden Court has another mission, one of bitter revenge against humanity that is a threat to the nature fae thrive in.
- Eilidh and Torquil <3. I’d love a story about them.
- Seven Black Diamonds is told from several POVs. At first, it’s tricky to follow. There’s a bunch of information packed into small sections-information that is crucial to the story arc and character building. It’s hard to keep track but eventually, a familiar rhythm and pattern is established.
- Some sections felt random and lacked follow through. The sleeper cells (the 7 Black Diamonds) were destined for a mission that isn’t mentioned. The whole time, they’re waiting for Lilywhite’s arrival and when it happens, it becomes this convoluted melee of romance and marriage and politics. The Seelie princes and their involvement was way out of left field. They’re barely present and suddenly they’re crucial?
- Zephyr was my least liked character. He mindlessly follows the cause of The Queen of Blood and Rage. He’s so devoted that he doesn’t question when he should and believes everything she says. He sacrifices everything, his heart, and his freedom for this random woman because she “created” him. I couldn’t get behind that. He’s awkward and pushy, the attraction that should have been there wasn’t.
- Lily’s mobster “betrothed” and so-called best friend Erik falls out of the picture fast. More development there might have helped solidify the tearing between worlds for Lily.
- Creed. Musician. Sexy. Flirty. Intensely besotted by Lily. What’s not to like? You’d think? Apart from the very obvious chemistry boiling between the two and a few steamy kisses, there’s not much there.
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