Volume two of Desert Tales, Challenge, introduces the series conflict, and that's when things get really interesting. The best part of the Wicked Lovely series has always been the faery politics, so I was glad to see that it, not romance, would be the focus of Desert Tales. Rika is unwillingly sucked into a power struggle in the desert that she's spent her entire post-Winter Girl life trying to avoid, and it's rather fascinating to see how she deals with it, to see the choices that she has to make because of it. Choice and freedom have been common themes throughout the Wicked Lovely series, and Desert Tales is no exception.
For once I'm not going to spoil the rest of plot, because part of Desert Tales' fun is the surprising turns it takes. The story takes place sometime between the events of Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity, I believe, and there are cameos from other familiar characters besides Keenan. But the spoilers for the series proper are kept to a minimum, and it's not completely incomprehensible if you haven't read Wicked Lovely at all.
The art, done by Xian Nu Studio, is a worthy stand-in for Melissa Marr's elegant prose. It's clean and professional, and the character designs are uniformly, well, cool. My single favorite thing, aesthetically, about Desert Tales has to be Rika's hair. I love it, it's awesome, I would steal it if I could.
I'm sure some people will have complaints about Keenan, and admittedly I didn't quite picture him as a tall, lanky bishounen, either, but you know what? It works. Marr's the writer so of course he acts like Keenan, and his expressions are so arrogant and absurdly perfect that after a while, the long golden mane, willowy frame, and sweater-duster (wut?) didn't bother me...
Read more at You're Killing.Us.