Monday, April 18, 2016

Seven Black Diamonds - Melissa Marr (Black Diamonds #1)

Seven Black Diamonds (Untitled, #1)So, two things.  First, if you don't keep up on your book reviews, you can get very behind, very fast.  Oooops.  I had a bit of a binge read this weekend and didn't actually write up the reviews for any of the books as I was reading, so now I'm way behind!  Second, if you're looking at Seven Black Diamonds hoping for a continuation of Marr's Wicked Lovely series (which this book is kind of misleadingly touted as, with a description saying that Marr "returns to faery) keep on walking.  This isn't it.  Marr returns to faery in the manner that she's writing about people who are fae or part-fae again, but this is a completely different world set up than the Wicked Lovely books, which makes it a little off-putting when the familiar rules and characters aren't there.

Seven Black Diamonds takes place in the future, in a world where Africa doesn't exist anymore because it's just a toxic waste dump and where high society people are apparently hooked on old videos of Dancing with the Stars and learned to ballroom dance from them.  Our main character is Lily Abernathy, daughter of a crime lord, and also part fae, and strong fae, too.  Being part fae is illegal, because the Queen of Blood and Rage, who apparently rules both the Seelie and Unseelie courts, along with her husband (formerly the Seelie king) blames humans for killing her first daughter.  The Queen has a second daughter but doesn't care for her much, which is pretty awful of her.  The daughter is disfigured, to the point that some people call her "Patches" for how her skin looks, like she's been sewn together from different parts.  Why this happened is never explained.  Anyway, the Queen's on the warpath with humanity, wanting to wipe them out, and her weapon of choice is--get this--teenagers.  Teenagers who are part fae, and who are ridiculously famous for various reasons (musically talented, sons or daughters of famous people, actresses, etc.) and act as sleeper agents, putting out albums by day and then blowing up train stations or boats by night.

Lily finds herself mixed up with a group of these sleepers when her father sends her off to a boarding school that apparently doesn't have any classes.  Despite having kept her fae ancestry a secret her entire life, Lily immediately tells them all about herself and reveals all her secrets to one group member or another, particularly a guy named Creed because he is hawwt and fell in love with Lily immediately upon seeing her.  Rounding out the weird names of Creed and Lilywhite (seriously, Lilywhite) are Roan (yes, like a horse's coloring), Zephyr, and--best of all--Alkamy.  Seriously.  Alkamy.  There's also Will and Violet, which are pretty normal.  All of these people are, of course, #specialsnowflakes of their own.  And they're terrorists who are doing the Queen's bidding to help destroy the human race.  You know, the race that Lily was raised to be a part of, that her family is a part of, that her best friend and his family are a part of.  This does not seem to bother her at all, or at the most, it bothers her in a kind of abstract way; like, she doesn't approve, but she just likes them so much that she lets it go.  No.  Girl, no.  You don't befriend terrorists trying to wipe out your entire species because they're cool and famous!  Do you possess a brain?  Apparently not.

That said, the human world of this book was completely shallow and boring, so maybe it deserved to be wiped out.  The only cool parts of this book, world-wise, were the parts that took place in the Hidden Lands/faery.  The Queen herself turned out to be more interesting than I thought she would be, and infinitely more interesting than Lilywhite, who beyond her stupid decisions is a very stereotypical "I'm special but I don't want to be" character.  Eilidh was also interesting, as were Rhys and Torquil.  I would have much rather read a whole book about them than about Lily and her brainless cronies.  The world there was interesting, unlike the one that Lily lived in, and where most of the book took place.

I might read further in this series, but I doubt it; the books I'm interested in would feature the fae group heavily, rather than these Black Diamonds characters, but I have a feeling that Marr is going to focus on the Black Diamonds instead.  I have absolutely no interest in them.  Kudos to her for having a diverse group in which everyone is a straight white guy, but the characters themselves and the story overall were not compelling.  If you want to read a good faery story by Marr, go back and re-read Wicked Lovely.  It's far more worth it.

2 stars out of 5.

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