Ani is a halfling, which isn't that unusual - after all, her brother Rabbit and sister Tish are halflings too. But Ani is unusual. The daughter of Gabriel, leader of the Dark King's Wild Hunt, and a mortal woman, she is more faery than human, and her faery side is growing stronger every day. Like Dark Court faeries, she must drink dark emotions to survive, but, like the Hounds of her father's Hunt, she also needs skin contact to live, making Ani completely unique - and her blood desirable to those with power.
Devlin is completely devoted to Sorcha, the Unchanging Queen, the embodiment of reason and logic. The Queen's Bloody Hands, he is feared throughout Faerie and the mortal realm as Sorcha's assassin. In an eternity of servitude, he has betrayed his Queen's orders only once - when Sorcha sent him to kill the child Ani.
Even though her overprotective father keeps her on a tight leash, Ani manages to have a little fun - which is why she is in the Crow's Nest when she first catches sight of Devlin, who is in town on orders from Sorcha. Instantly drawn together, they share a dance, and an intoxicating kiss. A kiss full of possibility.
But then Bananach, half-mad, cruel raven-faery of war, finds Ani. Somehow, she knows about Ani's unique abilities, and she wants them. Ordering Ani to kill the Dark King, and Seth (the Summer Queen's consort, and Sorcha's beloved new-made faery), Bananach vanishes, leaving a trail of gruesome destruction in her wake. Ani knows she can't do it - but she also knows that if she doesn't, Bananach will come after her and everyone she loves. Her only choice is to run. And even though Devlin knows he shouldn't, he can't stop himself from going with her.
The fourth book in the Wicked Lovely series, Radiant Shadows is dark and gorgeous, lush and seductive, decadent and addictive. I was thrilled to get this one early, thanks to author Melissa Marr and her awesome assistant Donna, who sent around a traveling ARC (advanced reader's copy) for librarians (thank you thank you!!). I love a strong heroine, and Ani is perfect - fierce, tough, and stubborn, she's a girl who knows what she wants, and she's not afraid to face down evil faeries, fall in love with a High Court assassin, and change all the rules to make things happen her way. Get ready to devour Radiant Shadows at a library near you on April 20th!
(now reading Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines - think Roman gladiators, reality TV-style!)