Seven Black Diamonds
Author: Melissa Marr
Release: March 1st 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fey, YA
#1 in the Seven Black Diamonds duology
Sequel: One Blood Ruby (#2)
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.
This is a novel that, in theory, I should have absolutely loved and adored. It is about faeries, about faeries who are at war AND faeries who have elemental powers. I'm a sucker for all three of these. And you know nothing pisses me off more than wasted potential, than things that are totally up my alley but have been butchered by bad writing.
The worst thing about this is that I didn't even start out loving, or at least liking, the book. No, the beginning was already complete bullcrap, it made me so mad that I was tempted to drop it right from the get-go. I didn't, in the hopes that it would grow to be better as the page count went up. Spoiler alert: It got even worse. Honestly, it is a fucking mystery to me how I even lasted without dnf'ing this shit. I was close multiple times, but you know I hate giving up and so I dragged myself through it, then I died and dragged my corpse through it and lastly, not even my immortal soul was spared by the shittyness that is this novel.
Okay, let's start with the least of my problems, which would be characters. There are seven Black Diamonds, half-fae who are tasked with destroying humanity by the Unseelie Queen. Okay, two of those are token gay characters that we see maybe ten pages total, I am not joking. They are absent for all of the plot, they're never relevant in moving the story forward or in any way crucial for it. They are mentioned in passing a few times, but they rarely even make an actual appearance. The fuck. Then we have
Alchemy Alkamy Adams, who plays a bit more of a prominent role, but also not really. She befriends the MC and is only there to further main lead B's man pain by being his star-crossed lover he couldn't ever be with, because of reasons. Seriously, there's not much more to her characterization, other than she would do anything for a guy, for a guy she can't even be with. I can't decide if the other female character, Purple Sheep Violet Lamb, really has any more going for her than Alchemy. I liked her better because she has a fiery personality (what a coincidence, because not only is her element affinity fire, but she also has fiery red hair...) and her snark. I'll throw a bone here and say that at least there was no stupid ass female rivalry between any of the girls, which is a big plus.
The male leads, especially alpha Dick Assassin's Creed Morrison, really, really tested my patience. I'll start with the lesser of two evils, which would be main lead B Zephyr Waters, who is as bland as white bread with no personality outside of the stoic soldier stereotype. He is willing to sacrifice and do anything to protect those he loves (especially his Juliet whom he can't be with, again, for reasons), while never admitting even to himself how he truly feels. He's the guy you ask what he wants to eat, to which he replies that "he doesn't care, you choose" and then you end up choosing something he doesn't actually want to eat but he will soldier on despite it, not complaining, just quietly, broodingly eating the damn food. He's not outright annoying with his behavior and attitude, but you can't help heavily side-eyeing him for it.
Assassin's Creed, on the other hand, really IS that outright annoying. He is pushy, narcissistic, doesn't take no for an answer ever and thinks the world is spinning just for him. He is a grade A douchebag, an asshole of the highest caliber, if I met this dude in real life I would punch him, and punch him hard. So he falls for Lily, even though he has known his whole goddamn fucking life that she is "destined" to be with Zephyr, and he doesn't even care. He flirts with her, hits on her like there's no tomorrow, constantly forces himself upon her and is possessive (and obsessive) as fuck. He has known Lily NOT A SINGLE FUCKING DAY and he is already so in love with her it transcends time and space, and whatever else there is keeping them apart. His love for is epic, you know. After he's talked to her TWICE. I WISH I was joking but I can assure you I am not. And when she, rightfully, tells him to take it down a few notches and be friends first, you know what he does?
“I can't do this,” she said after several tense moments. (...) “Be my friend, Creed.”
“Don't say you aren't feeling the same things I am.” (...) Creed's arm snaked around her waist, holding her to him. (...) “You're my deadly girl, and I'm yours whether you want me or not.”
THE FUCK. The fuckity fuckfuck. I am so done with this fucking twat.
The other characters, namely Lilywhite (or LILYDARK seriously how absurd can you be) or Eilidh or Torquil or whoever else didn't really make any impression at all. I liked the dynamic between Eilidh and her brother Rhys, but that seems to be pretty much it.
The world-building, oh boy. It wasn't bad or totally lacking per se, I've definitely seen and read books out there who are much, much worse in that regard. But I can't say that it was artfully crafted and vividly described, either. There is a story, about how the Courts united and are now residing in the Hidden Lands because of this and that event, but it was all a bit lackluster if you ask me. Probably because it was all overshadowed by the terrible, awful characters and other aspects, but yeah.
Lastly, let me take a second to talk about the writing a bit. The book is written in third person, but switches its POV character every chapter (or every other chapter), mostly between Lily, Eilidh and Zephyr, which was kind of confusing at times, because Lily and Zephyr were mostly interchangeable and I had real trouble telling them apart sometimes. I would be reading Zephyr's chapter thinking it was Lily and then be really confused when the narrator was talking about "his" thoughts and feelings and I'd be left wondering how, when and why Lily suddenly turned into a guy. The only reason I didn't also confuse Eilidh with their voices was because her chapters always involved different characters and plotlines than Zephyr and Lily's. Other than that, the writing was okay. Nothing too fancy or mind-blowing, but I've read books that were written a lot worse.
Ultimately, I'd really hoped this book would be enjoyable for me, because it really had the potential to be. I guess It just wasn't meant to be, though. I doubt I'll be returning for book 2, but we'll see.
P.S: How RIDICULOUS can you BE when choosing your character's names. These were all horrible.