Heads up Austinites! Melissa Marr is at BookPeople this afternoon. I can't come because I have long standing plans with friends, but I hope ya'll will go and enjoy.
By Melissa Marr
FRAGILE ETERNITY started slow. I read the vast majority sitting in traffic, going nowhere. And I kept putting the book down to stare out the window. To stare out the window, to look at the scenery, which wasn't changing since the car wasn't moving. This is not the reaction I was expecting to the book. Why did I find it so slow?
I couldn't take the characters' decisions. Seth and Aislinn want to be together. Aislinn and Keenan need to be together. Keenan and Donia want to be together. Donia and Aislinn are friends. Seth and Niall are friends. Niall and Keenan are something. But the web of relationships is fragile and they're tearing it apart through their own actions. I'll admit I have the benefit of seeing what the other characters are thinking, but I felt so frustrated with the cast at points, especially Aislinn. The book's mantra is, "Choose to be happy," but it felt like everyone was interpreting that as, "Choose to dash your head upon the rocks. And no, it won't be fun." Which, okay, I was in traffic. Maybe instead of being the perfect opportunity to read it was frustrating me. I dunno, but I was beginning to get fed up with everyone.
Now, to give probs to Melissa Marr, all of these decisions felt organic to the characters. But surely they could've made ones that were also within their character and would lead to greater happiness. (It doesn't help that there isn't much of a plot other than character interaction to distract from the decision-making.) And, AND, once Seth met Sorcha I fell in love with the book. (Is that a spoiler? Their meeting is blatantly foreshadowed since the first chapter . . . anyone want to chime in?) Marr's characters all have chemistry in spades, but I loved the bond between Seth and Sorcha. It was sudden, but I believed it. Suddenly I wasn't angry with these characters for blundering toward their own doom, but worried they would meet a doom no one wanted but no one could prevent because of misunderstanding.
I was extremely sad when FRAGILE ETERNITY ended because of the momentum I built. I still can't wait to learn what happens next. (I'm still not a big Aislinn fan, but Seth, Sorcha, Donia, Keenan, and Niall make up for it. And side characters Devlin and Bananach, the brother and sister of Sorcha, steal the show every time they're on page. Menacing with a method.)
So despite those first several paragraphs, I do recommend FRAGILE ETERNITY. (Plus, most who pick it up have probably read prequel WICKED LOVELY and sidestory INK EXCHANGE and are invested in the characters enough to push past a slow start.) FRAGILE ETERNITY is one of those books that proves I can't get enough of reading something that makes me wail, "Their love is so doomed!" (The wail sounds dramatic, but it's true. If I'm in anguish about the chances, then I'm racing to see how it turns out.) When it's the couple's own actions pushing them apart I do pull away, but when it's just the way things are? That's when the book clicks.
Y'know, I think I wouldn't have been half as frustrated with the beginning if the end weren't so awesome. FRAGILE ETERNITY is available now, as is the manga spinoff WICKED LOVELY: DESERT TALES, the first volume of which is titled SANCTUARY. The anthology LOVE IS HELL includes a short story by Marr, as does the upcoming August anthology UNBOUND. (UNBOUND is an adult release, not YA.) You can find Marr online at her website, el jay, and MySpace.