Monday, July 15, 2013

July 2013 Book Review: Darkfever


By Karen Marie Moning
~Book Review~

*Minor Spoilers*

THIS HIGHLY ADDICTING START to the five-book Fever Series introduces a darkly atmospheric Dublin full of twists, turns, and vicious fey who feed on the unwary at night. All of this is made highly amusing when picturing heroine “Mac” toddling along the dusky streets, as she is a self-professed lover of all things pink and often likened to a Barbie doll. The sheltered twenty-two-year old lives a blissful life in the South, sipping on sweet tea and working on her tan. However, when she receives an odd message from her sister staying abroad in Ireland, followed by the news of her horrific murder, Mac takes it upon herself to track down her sister’s killer.

Mac’s reluctant guide in Dublin is the mysterious Jericho Barrons, a sexy and aloof bookshop owner who agrees to help Mac for reasons of his own. The tension absolutely crackles between these two, particularly as Mac has a habit of doing the opposite of everything Barrons orders. However, when it becomes apparent that Mac can sense Fey artifacts, there’s no way Barrons is letting Mac go anywhere. Both Mac’s sister’s fate and the key to ruling the mortal and Fey worlds seems to be tied to the fabled Sinsar Dubh, a book of immense power in Celtic lore, and the unlikely pair set off to find it.

I really enjoyed the mystery of *what* Barrons is and the power that radiates off of him in every scene—he may be a jackass, but he’s a very compelling one. Equally as fascinating is the death-by-sex Fae Prince V’lane. Yes. I just said “death-by-sex.” Moning’s imagination absolutely shines when writing about Mac’s encounters with the Dark Fey. There are some truly grotesque ones, and picturing them lurking in the foggy streets of Dublin after the pubs close is wonderfully spine-tingling. Both Barrons and V’lane are ruthless, ambitious, and multi-layered—which makes the innocent Mac’s relationships with them a tad uncomfortable.

It was difficult to respect Mac. It should be easy enough; the girl’s flown across the Atlantic to track down her sister’s murderer, and that takes guts. However, the pink love affair was blown over the top, making it hard to take her seriously when she took a stand against Barrons. Oftentimes she challenged him out of sheer obstinacy (hiding important clues and information), and not because it was the smart decision, which made her feel pouty and immature. Kudos to Moning for creating a heroine who has a backbone, but a whining, self-absorbed Barbie doll is damn near impossible to like. Let’s toast a pint of Guinness to hoping Mac matures in future installments. 
Despite an irritating protagonist, the story is well-told. The pacing idles and surges ahead at all the right moments, making the book nearly impossible to put down. When you reach the “end,” you will curse the universe for being unfair, as there is not much in the way of finality. It feels like the brakes were unnecessarily pumped on the story (ahem, publisher’s decision?). As I obviously enjoyed the world-building behind the Dark Fey and the mystery of the sinister Sinsar Dubh, I can happily report that the series concludes satisfactorily in Book V—but it is definitely recommended to have the next book on hand.

Recommended for fans of: Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, and Anne Bishop
August Book Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

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