Desert Tales, a Wicked Lovely novel
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2013
Desert Tales is a side story to the Wicked Lovely series. Its’ place in time is during Keenan’s disappearance and just after his reappearance in Huntsdale. As Summer King he is seeking ways to strengthen his court and after decades of absence he seeks out Rika in the desert to ask for her allegiance. Typically, he doesn’t realize just how angry Rika still is with him for tricking her into becoming a faery. Once Rika was freed from her Winter burden she fled to the desert and lives life as a solitary fey. Her only friend is Sionnach, the Desert Alpha – not a king but one who keeps the solitaries in line. Rika falls in love with a mortal and is (quite unwillingly) drawn into Desert politics and infighting.
Main characters –
· Rika, former mortal who was one of the many girls Keenan manipulated into taking the “test” to see if she was his queen; when she wasn’t she became the Winter Girl until Donia came along. When she was finally freed from winter, she retreated to the desert to live in near seclusion, nursing her anger and grudges at Keenan
· Sionnach (pronounced shy-knock), a fox faery complete with pointed ears and a tail. Just like the creature he takes after, he is sly, sneaky and manipulative.
· Jayce , a 18 year old mortal boy, the object of Rika’s affection, as well as an artist, rock climber, and skateboarder.
Secondary characters –
· Maili, troublesome faery who challenges Sionnach and Rika over being Alpha
· Keenan, Summer King visits Rika several times trying to enlist her help in ruling the desert faeries
· Donia, Winter Queen, she took the cold from Rika and became Winter Girl in Rika’s place. Rika enlists her help in keeping Keenan away from the desert.
New characters –
· Del & Kayley, Jayce’s friends, typical mortals.
I enjoyed this book a lot. It didn’t have all the crazy plot lines of the main series nor as many characters or agendas. After the rollercoaster ride that is the Wicked Lovely series (but nonetheless still a good ride), Desert Tales was like a palate cleanser for the mind; it sort of finalized the series in a way Darkest Mercy was unable to. Both Rika and Sionnach are completely likeable and I hoped they would end up together after Rika gets over her mortal-puppy love. It was originally published as a manga trilogy and I am glad Ms Marr put it all together in one non-manga book. Great as a stand-alone novel, Desert Tales is a worthy read.
Rating: 4 Paws for Sionnach, one really cool fairy, even if he is in the likeness of a fox!