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Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr

Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins
A Young Adult novel
Series: Untitled #1
Pages: 400
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
L ilywhite 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.
                        *An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

What if fairies were real and they were really pissed off?

  First, before I start telling you the ehs about Seven Black Diamonds, let me say that this book was pretty great. I have never read the Wicked Lovely series but if it's like Seven Black Diamonds, I'm pretty tempted to pick it up.  The artwork for the cover is nice, some of the characters were really fun and very genuine, and the world was so real and raw.  Really, the world aspect of this book was great because it just was this glam/ rich kid world with a darker undertone that I think we don't get to see in this kind of story.  Yeah, everyone is pretty, but they also have some issues. While there wasn't any relatable situations, Seven Black Diamonds accomplished being a good adventure.

  I always get nervous when the word "fae" gets thrown around.  When writers involve fae it sometimes feels like there is only so much that can be said because, for whatever reason, there is only so much you can do with people with magic powers and secret families (Harry Potter and The Ability to Talk to Plants). At its heart, Seven Black Diamonds is a changling story/ lost princess plot combination that is always seen when fairies show up in a book.  This, coupled with some pretty heavy-handed foreshadowing and information given way too soon, makes Seven Black Diamonds predictable.  Does that mean it's not worth the ride? Not necessarily; there are some new things that Marr introduces into the fae world, but apart from knowing what's coming, there's also just the feeling of why is this only one book? There is just so much happening in Seven Black Diamonds that while it's easy to follow, it is just not fleshed out enough because there is just not enough time.  Marr totally fast-forwards through the forming of a bond between the main character, Lilywhite (*loud, tired groaning heard in the distance*), and the rest of the fae teens: those relationships are so important and the readers are just kind of presented with a fully-formed friend group. I feel like Marr had all this stuff in mind, but rather than drag it out, Marr just shoved it all into the first book.  So, in short, I wish there was more.

  Due to the lack of space, there are some characters that are introduced, given a chapter in their point of view (multiple point of view books are always fun) and then they just don't speak or do anything for the rest of the book.  Why have a book called Seven Black Diamonds if I only need to really care about five of them for the plot to push forward?  Pulling these two out wouldn't really do anything except give Marr a chance to explore the other five characters more.  I can of get the sense that this might be a 'kill your darlings' situation because Will and Roan are both fun when we get to hear them, but why even have them if they are told to sit at home when the climax rolls around?  Maybe they'll be more important in later books, but here, the two were honestly pointless. The romantic lead suffers the same problem: we're told he's all dark and brooding but totally loves the main character but there's no real show of a good build up to their romance. They just are in love. They have a bond and are in love and that's all you get.

  I recommend Seven Black Diamonds if you like the fae genre because, honestly, it is worth a flip through.  I wish it was bigger. I wish Marr had all the time in the world to really make this one book a series on it's own and give it more meat, cause at points, it does feel like you're just reading a summary of an amazing book series.

I feel like I haven't seen four targets in so long. Thank you Marr, Thank you.