This is a massively entertaining series. Massively. If you'd asked me the second I finished Shadowfever, I would've screamed MASTERPIECE at the top of...moreThis is a massively entertaining series. Massively. If you'd asked me the second I finished Shadowfever, I would've screamed MASTERPIECE at the top of my lungs, clutched my heart and swung like a proper fangirl. This series was so damn good, I had to keep reminding myself that I had to remain a functioning member of society. The nerve of life! I cursed my job; I cursed the people around me; I cursed eating and sleeping. It was like I had become Pri-ya, mindless and relentless for more. Fever consumed me for weeks. I took breaks only when my e-reader ran out of battery. And now it's done (for the time being, anyway) and I'm lost.
This has everything and anything you could possibly ask for from a blockbuster novel. It is non-stop mindblowing-ness. It has it's flaws but fck flaws. The characters are solid and interesting. The plot and subplots are compelling. The action is exciting and follow-able (I usually skim action scenes because I suffer from the inability to visualize them -- I just can't). The mythology is painfully detailed and satisfyingly rich. The twists and turns are endless, hitting you from all angles, picking you up and hitting you over the head all over again. Moning is one hell of a writer -- just the simple act of keeping everything under the sun organized and meaningful is a wonder all on its own. She breathes this Fever world; she is its Queen, Master, and all-knowing Power.
Mac has to be one of the most impressive heroines I've ever come across. She is absolutely unapologetic for being who she is. She accepts her quirks and her shortcomings. And while people judge her for lacking whatever they feel she's missing, she doesn't let it touch her too deeply. Instead, Mac looks for her rainbows and does something about it. She is, at her very core, the little engine that could.
Jericho. Jericho. Jericho. If only you existed...I should stop here. Believe me.
I can't possibly sum up all these thoughts sloshing around in my brain concerning Moning's Fever books. I can't gather, catalogue, and compose them into a comprehensible review. Just let me tell you that these books are an experience. A ride. It's a dangerous world. Viscous, twisted, erotic, and doomed. And all I want is to live in it.
Proofreading this review before hitting Save, I'm upset I don't sound as electrically excited as I really am. So a final, parting line: This series is a literary orgasm...upon orgasm, upon orgasm, upon orgasm, upon, upon, upon.
Elizabeth Fama's Monstrous Beauty is a dark and twisted concoction of myth, curses, history, and murder. It is a piercing story about a mermaid who lo...moreElizabeth Fama's Monstrous Beauty is a dark and twisted concoction of myth, curses, history, and murder. It is a piercing story about a mermaid who longs to love and a young girl who has discarded any hope of it. I haven't read many sea-folk lore, and so won't pretend to understand this "new" and "original" approach to the mermaid legend. The story is certainly mature, however, daring to be more graphic and seasoned (if you catch my meaning), than most young adult novels in the market. In fact, dare I say that this ranks as highbrow teen fiction in my reader's opinion.
But I digress. I meant to say that I can see the "innovative" appeal in Fama's presentation of merpeople. Innovative is quoted because is it innovative to bring something back to basics? Because that is what I found most intriguing. We have been thoroughly saturated with lies by Disney. Disney has deceived us, people. Not all fairy tales end in "happily ever after". And Fama knows this. Her mermaids reject Ariel. Instead, they go back to the time when a mermaid did not simply lose her voice -- but had her tongue cut out; when a mermaid did not simply grow legs -- but had to endure the sense of walking on knives when standing on her feet; when a mermaid did not marry her prince -- but had to watch the man she loved fall in love with another; and when a mermaid did not go on to live a wonderfully fulfilled life -- but died and turned into sea foam. Fama's sea-folk are beasts of the sea, they are feral and violent acts of butchery come as naturally to them as it does for us to slay a slab of beef. And this isn't even half of what makes this book good.
Fama gives to us Syrenka. A lovely, passionate, powerful, and ferocious creature of yearning. She is ancient and in her long life has suffered imprisonment and loneliness. She is willing -- oh, all too willing! -- to yield all that defines her...for love. But she has lost before and so with this second coming, she determines to make everything right. She is quick but rash, fervent but reckless. And she makes a mistake, and this mistake will tie her, for an undetermined period of time, to Hester, a seventeen year old whose life is turned upside down by a mysterious man who seems to know her -- indeed, know her to her very core.
The divide between Syrenka's chapters and Hester's chapters are distinct. Syrenka's chapters are stunning, where Fama has certainly captured an atmosphere. I only wish Hester's were treated with the same deliberate care. But perhaps it is simply the period -- that Syrenka lived in the romance of 17th century and Hester in the derivativeness of the modern era. Perhaps it is simply our own time's staleness that Fama could not bend her language around (no offense, 21st century, I love you). Because this woman can write. Syrenka and Ezra's conversations seemed, at times (a stretch but I'm flexible), pleasantly imbued with a Godard-esque existentialism...ness. It did, okay! And that's what got me. It was a dialogue I hadn't read the likes of in my on-going quest of young adult literature. I've had beautifully sparse language, and I've had prettily embellished language but not quite this. Why this wasn't a perfect novel through and through is because it eventually subsided to normal dialect...but I remember!
And I suppose the plot itself did not unfold as mysteriously enlightening as it could have. I wasn't quite sure which ones I was supposed to figure out with her help or which ones I just did on my own because I am that clever. Suffice it to say, when certain revelations came to Hester, I was already sitting, hunched, and gesturing my hands that meant "Uh, duh?". But suffice it also to say that I was slightly knocked off my feet by the twists and turns Fama's twisted, unforgiving mind has created. Boy, they were good. They came around the corner, unseen, and I went running the other way. But they got me, the devils!
The romance in this story is well done. It's complicated, which makes describing the premise problematic but worry not. Syrenka and Ezra are not un-reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet and, even, Cathy and Heathcliff. It is a love complicated but so deeply earnest.
And from it erupts this story.
Monstrous Beauty is a must-read. It has character that may not be suited for all readers. But to those who this may win over just yet...
Loved this. Loved it absolutely. Its a really well-written and interesting modern Gothic novel. It has almost everything I love in the Gothic: a haunt...moreLoved this. Loved it absolutely. Its a really well-written and interesting modern Gothic novel. It has almost everything I love in the Gothic: a haunted and dreary castle, ghosts, mystery, secret, suspense, incest (well, it adds to the intrigue), romance, murder, death and decay and so much more.
Could not put it down. And I cannot wait for her next book. (less)