My Goodreads review for Seven Black Diamonds (here and shown below):
This was a good read, but nothing will ever surpass her Wicked Lovely series. I liked the concept of a war between humanity and fae, and I liked the plotting of the Queen of Blood and Rage, and the characterization of all involved. It was enjoyable, and I liked the complicated relationships Melissa introduced.
I only wish for a little bit more in terms of showing how bad-ass Lily is and explanation of what happened to Eilidh. There are few moments highlighting Lily's bad-assery, and the majority of the time we are told she is trained in this and that and that she isn't defenseless--that is all nice and fine, but I would have liked to have seen her skill rather than heard about it. Her (and Violet's) face-off with Nacton and Calder was pretty awesome, though that is one moment. (The scenes with swordplay were really telling of Melissa's sword training!) More moments showcasing her bad-assery would have been wonderful for proving to the reader that she isn't just talk. Regarding Eilidh, she is referred to as broken, that she would die if she had a child, that she has markings all over her body showing her brokenness--WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO HER? I know that is probably something covered in the upcoming books, and I am just being impatient, but holy moley this seems important. She had been the Heir, she would one day be Queen...yet her engagement to Torquil would never be fulfilled if the Queen had her way? I'm not sure about that complication, guys. We shall see what the next books bring to the table in terms of explaining the characters' histories.
But I must say--I ship Eilidh and Torquil forever. And, drum roll please......
I totally ship the marriage between Endellion (Queen of Blood and Rage, or former Unseelie regent) and Leith (King of Fire and Truth, or former Seelie regent)--NOT TO MENTION THEIR BACK AND FORTH BICKERING. Please imagine the following scenario and you will get a taste of their relationship.
E: "I'm so grumpy today."
L: *throws flowers at E, smiles* C'mon, Wife, there is fun to be had! And celebration! We have a granddaughter!"
E: *grumbles, hisses* "No. Go away."
L: *makes gooey eyes, dances, acts merry* "C'mon, dearest."
E: *RAGES* "AHHHHHH--AJNSBFCAJBFVILUBEGKBEKLBD. NO."
L: *smiles, releases little giggle*
Now that was hyperbolic to the extreme, but I can totally see their yin and yang happening that way.
My Goodreads review for One Blood Ruby (here and shown below):
Like I said in my review for Seven Black Diamonds, Melissa's Wicked Lovely series will never be topped. This new fae series is good though--I love everything that Melissa writes, own all the books, and Melissa always delivers a story that is complicated and entertaining, and most often contains dark elements.
We experienced a death in this book that was unexpected and broke my heart, and you find out the lineage of who died and it further complicates the relations within the fae world.
Though to be fair, all the relationships within the fae world are complicated. Their social norms are very different than those of humans--where humans are restrained in their human connections, fae are loose and free in who they connect with and how. Humans are not for the good of nature but the good of their interests and enterprises, while the fae want to hold nature first--a clean, pure world allows them (and humanity) to live in comfort.
We finally get answers as to what happened to Eilidh--but full answers to why she was broken and the elements of the world brought her back to fullness is a mystery, but a mystery I can more than accept. We know that upon birth she split in pieces and the elements breathed new life into and claimed her as their own. In doing so, Eilidh was also given the power to harness the elements to protect those she has claimed as hers. (Hence a specific scene at the end of the book where Eilidh is super bad-ass. This immense power the world bestowed on her does make me question who is the rightful Heir, especially with Nacton's following statement on 305: "'Once before these regents [...] the land chose the ruler.'" Bum, bum, BUM. Boom. Some serious foreshadowing. My impression of this knowledge bomb: it is very possible that she is the true Heir, since she was chosen by the world and possesses such great power and an immense connection to the world that they are practically one, or she is intended to be the enforcer of the true Heir's wishes, like a right hand man. It could go either direction and I would be completely okay with it.
My favorite OTP is Endellion and Leith--there is actually no true competition between their volatile and every changing love. He is the light and cheer to her dark and gloom, but it becomes very clear that they are more a like than they let known--just like the courts.
Also, the social commentary on reality is pretty on point--racism and division between those who don't look alike has become out of control, which we see even now happening in our world. The whole bringing together of the two fae courts, and then unifying the fae world and the human world, are very much what we are trying to do with countries and different societies. It is messy, unpleasant business, and will always be trying and questioning of whether it can be accomplished. Though the world in Seven Black Diamonds and One Blood Ruby is fantasy, it points to problems that need to be assessed and addressed within our own.
Melissa has always been great with the more subtle social commentary, and even here you see it. This multiple levels of meaning and insinuation are why I have always been drawn to the worlds and characters she creates. They are bursting with significance and life, and I can't help but love them in the end.
If you enjoyed her Wicked Lovely series, you will enjoy this different version of the fae that she has created--and it more something of her creation than the Wicked Lovely series was, because this time she is playing with the fae world genre instead of using what is common and known. Love. It.