Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):
The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey. Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.
Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.
And here's what I thought: I had been eagerly anticipating this book, and when I got it in my hands, just whooshed right through it. I fell in love with this series right from the beginning, with Wicked Lovely, and have enjoyed the series all the way through. I will note that at times, the politics between the different courts got a bit confusing, but not enough to detract from the stories. And so here we are, in this book, at the end. No! No! More books, please!!! Ahem!... sorry about that.... I'm going to avoid spoilers, which is pretty tricky, so my thoughts here will be somewhat brief. What I will say is: Melissa Marr is a great storyteller. She writes compelling, sympathetic characters (and supporting characters), and weaves storylines with grace and finesse. As you can see from the summary, everything is building towards this final conflict, and it is clear from the beginning of the story that there might not be happy endings for everyone. Ok. That's all I'm saying about the story.
I was completely happy with this book, although I realized that perhaps at some point, I need to start at the beginning and read through all of them again. I find that with some series, I can't always keep track of the relationships between characters easily, just because of the time lapse between when one book is published, and the next comes out. By the time the newest book comes out, I don't always remember what was happening in the previous book. With this series, I definitely had to refresh myself a few times, especially because there were a lot of characters to keep track of (and their relationships with each other sometimes became a bit complex). I appreciated that Melissa Marr kept things consistent throughout the arc of the five books (I never experienced a sophomore slump with her writing). I will admit that I really enjoyed Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange the most (Ink Exchange especially because of the tattooing.... since I have several tattoos), but thought the entire series made for some good reading. I'm a huge fan of this author, and have had the opportunity to go to her book signings twice --- so now, I'm just waiting to see what she does next, with Graveminder!
If you've never read this series, I'd strongly encourage you to start at the beginning, with Wicked Lovely. When I pitch this book to people at the library, I always use the term "scary faeries" -- that way, they aren't thinking it's all "Tinkerbell-pink-and-lovely-and-nice" and more like "Grimm and dark."
First sentences: Niall walked through the ruins of the tattoo shop. Shards of painted glass crunched under his boots. The floor was strewn with vials of ink, unopened needles, electric apparatus he couldn't identify, and other things he'd rather not identify. The Dark King had known rage before, known grief; he'd felt helpless, felt unprepared; but he'd never before had all of those emotions converge on him at once."
Thoughts on the cover: Beautiful, like all of the covers. The flower, glittering and looking as it it's lit from within, held forward, is beautiful.
Note: I received this book as part of Book it Forward ARC Tours (and had also read our library's copy).