Seven Black Diamonds, book one
Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal. Her father’s “unconventional” business has meant a life of tightly held secrets, concealed weaponry, and a strict code. But Lily’s crime isn’t being the daughter of a powerful mob boss. Her guilt lies in the other half of her DNA—the part that can coax ancient rumors from stones and summon fire with a thought. Lily is part fae, which is a crime in her world.
From the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humanity and fae. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir—a death that was the fault of reckless humans.
Lily’s father has shielded her from the repercussions of her ancestry…until she is sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, straight into the arms of the Black Diamonds.
Mysterious, glamorous, and bound together in their mission but constantly at odds, Zephyr, Creed, Will, Roan, Violet, and Alkamy are a Sleeper cell of fae, planted in the human world to help destroy it from within. With covers as rock stars and celebrity children, the Black Diamonds carry out the queen’s war against humanity. And unbeknownst to Lilywhite, she’s been chosen to join them.
Now more than ever, Lily’s heritage puts her in peril, and even the romantic attention of the fae singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the safer world of organized crime.
Melissa Marr returns to faery in a dramatic story of the precarious space between two worlds and the people who must thrive there.
MY RATING: 3 STARS
I’m a fan of Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely, and it looks like they leaned heavily on its success to promote Seven Black Diamonds, but this is an entirely new universe of fae. No Summer/Winter/Dark/High Courts. No invisible fae playing not-so-innocent tricks on mortals. This time, it’s the now-united Seelie and Unseelie courts (though the differences between them are never really made clear) in a war against humanity perpetrated by the Queen of Blood and Rage as vengeance for the death of her daughter.
You won’t know that right away, though. In fact, it’ll take awhile to figure out anything for certain, because the narrative jumps POV between several characters at first and all the information is garbled. This is definitely the first of a series, as it spends most of its time establishing the characters and their roles and relationships without a great deal of plot, or even world building. That’s a shame, because all of those elements were handled much better in Wicked Lovely, and you’d think that Ms. Marr’s skill to that end would only have developed.
This is another one to be taken as-is, because it could have been so much more. In my opinion, it needed to be longer. The Black Diamonds are essentially child soldiers, fae-bloods raised among humans and tasked with killing them. To disobey the queen’s orders means death for the entire group. I would have loved to see more of that aspect than the half-hearted romantic entanglements that were carbon copies of WL. So much emphasis was put on Aislinn’s struggle between mortal life and fae destiny in WL and the synopsis of SBD hints at the same, yet Lily didn’t seem all that conflicted from my perspective. The setting is a school for wealthy, highly privileged children, yet it goes to waste with the characters spending most of their time in a night club (more flashbacks of WL, anyone?) I could have used more from Zephyr and Eilidh, as they were the main source of action, and can only hope they get a bit more attention in coming books.
I’m not going to write this off as a total wash because while I had some issues with it, I did enjoy it, getting into it even more the farther it went along (though I saw the plot twist coming almost as soon as the book started). While it mostly makes me want to revisit WL, I’ll be sure to keep my eyes peeled for the next book.