By Karen Marie Moning
IN ICED, Karen Marie Moning returns to ground zero for the paranormal war brewing between fae and humans in none-other-than downtown Dublin, in Darkfever #6, or the Dani O'Malley Trilogy #1. Now, in Year 1 of AWC (After the Wall Crash), in which the fae are freely hunting humans--but industries and nightclubs continue to run as usual--the point of view switches from Mackayla Lane to her 14-year-old sidekick Dani O'Malley, who is hired to figure out the identity of a deadly hoarfrost phenomena freezing nightclubs and leaving both humans and fae dead.
Moning definitely knows how to write characters who will evoke a strong, emotional response. The author claims Dani is still 14 at the time of Iced. I picture her as older and will continue to do so, despite Dani's fretting over her body and the number of sexual innuendos that shoot straight over her head. It might have something to do with her two hinted love interests being immortals who have anything but Dani's best interests at heart. Ryodan and Christian continually feast their eyes on her and make awful comments like, "You're going to make a hell of a woman one day, Dani," while licking their lips in anticipation. It made me cringe a number of times and I was pretty unable to get on board with either guy--particularly Christian. What happened to him? The author can make excuses for his creeper behavior all she wants, but that's all they are: excuses that try to distract from what the reader can clearly see: a super creep! Moning also claimed justification for keeping Dani at age 14 by way of "fourteen-year-olds think about sex, too." Hmmm, let's look at how Dani thinks about sex: she's off fantasizing a schoolgirl-type crush on Barrons and imagining her first kiss, while Ryodan and Christian are picturing something quite...different. Thank Heavens for Dancer, a male character around her age who treats her like a friend and with respect--who would've thought a teenage boy would be the most mature of all the romantic interests! Loved Dancer.
I really liked Dani taking over as the protagonist as well. I was never a fan of Saint Mac (see current Book Review of the Month) . Dani is impulsive, flawed, and has a lot of guilt she wrestles with--all while trying bravely to be a hero. Much more endearing, and I'd love more of her and Dancer teaming up to kick Fae a**.
You might have noticed that most of this review focuses on characters, with little attention to the plot. That's because the book seems to forget the plot, too, in favor of witty banter and trips down memory lane of previous Darkfever books. Moning writes these scenes extraordinarily well and at no instance did my interest wane--but on a number of occasions, I did want to shake Dani and shout, "Okay! Enough chitchat! Get back to the investigation!" After all, a mysterious frost overtaking Dublin was a very intriguing idea, and the sinister new Fae that Moning introduces are gold--especially the villainous Crimson Hag! Loved her, she was superbly freaky!
I'd definitely classify this book as "adult" despite the main character's age being younger than most characters in YA novels. However, I do love the world-building that goes into the Darkfever books, and it was a pleasure to return to the dark atmosphere of Dublin where one turn down a wrong alley could be your last. Suspenseful, entertaining, and an "oh, snap!" type cliffhanger at the end leaves me excited to see what happens next in Book #2.
Recommended for fans of: Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, Kim Harrison
Upcoming Book Review: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer