Title: Wicked Lovely – Desert Tales, vol.1, Sanctuary
Author: Melissa Marr (writer) and Xian Nu Studio (illustrator)
Genre: Manga/Young Adult (Fantasy)
Publishing Date: April 21, 2009
Paperback: 176 pages
Stand Alone or series: Volume one of a 3 volume series
Why did I read the book:Melissa Marr is one of my favourite writers and I love her Wicked Lovely series so it was no-brainer that I would be reading this .
Summary: The desert is far away from the schemes of the Faerie Courts—and that’s how Rika likes it. Once a mortal and now a faery, Rika seeks isolation and revels in her ability to appear invisible to humans. Then, she meets him. Artistic and kind, Jayce is the last person Rika wants to hide from.
But change is coming, challenging Rika’s freedom and her new romance, as her past pursues her, even into the heart of the desert. . . .
Desert Tales – Sanctuary is the first in a 3 volume series of Manga , set in the Wicked Lovely world. It follows Rika, a former Winter Girl, now a Solitary Fey living in the desert. She is independent from any of the Courts and lives a non-eventful life. At the moment, her main interest lies in observing an artistic human boy, Jayce, who comes to the desert for walks and to paint. She carries a torch for the guy but being fey complicates matters and she remains invisible when around him.
But the desert, and the desert fey that inhabit it ,are not unconnected as Rika would hope. The story proves to be not entirely separate from the main events taking place in the main Courts – and this is evidenced when Keenan, the Summer King shows up. With the complicated politics and unstable dynamics of the Summer Court and the Winter Court , Keenan is out to offer protection (and at the same time, gain allies) to the Solitary Fey. There are hard feelings between Keenan and Rika (as it should be) and she refuses to have any connection with the guy. But merely by showing up at the desert the King attracts the attention of the desert fey towards Rika and towards Jayce. And we all know how the fey can be vicious creatures and that propels Rika to become visible in order to protect Jayce and that starts a relationship with him– at the same time that she tries to keep the fey at bay. On top of that, there is Rika’s complex bond with another fey called Sionnach, a guy who seems to have an agenda of his own.
For such a short story there is quite a lot going on here but it could not be different with a writer such as Melissa Marr – there is both what is said and shown and is left unsaid.
Like, the appropriateness of having Rika choosing to live in the desert of all places after being consumed with the winter chill as a previous Winter Girl. Or the pain of what it means to become the Winter Girl – that would only happen to someone that really loved Keenan and if you follow the series, you should know by now how that inevitably ends: in heartbreak and isolation (the bastard). And to have Rika choosing yet again on a path that is far away from being simple as it is far away from being easy. I honestly want to know what happens next and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t completely puzzled by Sionnach.
Plus, the choice alone to follow a former Winter Girl and see what happens to one of these poor girls is poignant in itself and a way of expanding the Wicked Lovely world without necessarily moving the attention from the threads of the main events.
And what better medium to experiment than Manga? I am a fan of the format and I thought the art here to be lovely– in what proved to be a perfect balance of format and content. I loved it and recommend it to fans of the series.
Notable Quotes/ Parts: Rika and Keenan’s reunion and the way he leaves – so typical, I really can’t stand the guy.
If you want to have a look at the art and the first pages, they are available with the “LOOK INSIDE” feature at the Harper Collins’ website:
Additional Thoughts: Stick around, as later today Melissa Marr will be talking about writing the Manga and giving a fantastic insight n the whole process from choosing an artist to perfecting the text. Plus, we will be offering a giveaway of the first book in the Wicked Lovely series.
Verdict: A fantastic addition to the Wicked Lovely world with stunning art and the usual engaging writing by the writer.
Rating: 7 – Very Good
Reading Next: Eternal Kiss, anthology.