The Wicked Lovely series just got better and better as it went along. In Darkest Mercy, the fifth and final novel in the Wicked Lovely series, all the...moreThe Wicked Lovely series just got better and better as it went along. In Darkest Mercy, the fifth and final novel in the Wicked Lovely series, all the threads Marr has intricately woven into this modern day faerie tale come undone before they're finally tied into a thoroughly satisfying conclusion.
I didn't see how this story could end well. Events has been building over a long time to reach this point, and the Faerie Courts on the the brink of war. But DM isn't neccessarily action packed or page after page of violence. It focuses on the relationships between the faeries we've come to love and hate, and followers of the series should be satisfied with the ending.
The ending leaves some questions unanswered, rather than tied neatly and happily ever after (though we do have a wonderful HEA). I expected to see more of Sorcha and Devlin in this book, and was surprised it didn't happen, but no less pleased with the outcome.
Fans of the series should be pleased with the conclusion to our main characters story arcs, but it's the wrong place to start reading this series if you're new to it!(less)
***There are some minor spoilers below... allusions to character's feelings/thoughts/actions that could give some plot points away***
Sookie's working...more***There are some minor spoilers below... allusions to character's feelings/thoughts/actions that could give some plot points away***
Sookie's working her shift in Merlotte's when the bar is firebombed... and it doesn't look like the bomber was human. To make matters worse, an old enemy is out for her blood and the tension between her vampire lover/husband Eric and his progeny Pam with their boss, Victor, is building. The peaceful life Sookie is wishing for seems a distant dream.
A new Sookie book is like visiting with old friends. There are so many folks I love in Sookie's world, and it is real treat catching up with them... but it's like a visit with the old gang in more ways than one: it is great catching up with them all, but there's so much going on in their lives, you feel like you didn't spend as much time with them as you would have liked.
A few old favourites make significant appearances here: Bubba, Mr Cataliades, Amelia, Bob, Hunter and Alcide show up. Alcide in a funny (and very compromising) way, and it makes me think we might not see Alcide again in a hurry. Bill plays a larger role in Dead Reckoning than he has in a while, and I found myself genuinely liking him (not just feeling sorry for him) for the first time in quite a few books.
Eric is obviously in a starring role, and as much as I was rooting for a relationship between the two of them, you begin to see some problems here. Sookie's starting to genuinely consider the real costs of a relationship with him: both him as an individual, and him as a vampire. What's going to happen when she gets older? How can they have a relationship if Eric won't talk to her; not just about his business and problems, but about serious issues that have huge consequences for her? This couple has serious communication problems. She's also really beginning to examine how much violence she can cope with and wants in her life. While Sook struggles with the thought of killing someone, even if that someone is trying to kill her, Eric will snap their neck without a moment's thought--or a pinch remorse. While Sookie understands Eric's character, motivations and actions, she needs someone who will understand her remorse and horror, and comfort her, even if she knows she's not being rational. Eric will never be that person. Sookie also takes a very drastic measure to test her real feels for Eric in this book... and the outcome could destroy a good friendship, as well as putting her in danger. And Eric's been hiding a big secret.
Sookie has experienced more personal growth over the course of the series than any character in any other series I can think of. She's a lot more mature, and there's an 'Aha!' moment where she decides she's going to have to prioritise her crises in order to cope (like she feels she's not so much living as rushing from one life-threatening situation to another). She's far more cautious in many areas of her life, but largely in who she chooses to trust. She's beginning to examine what she really wants from life, and I thought it seemed like she was starting to think of herself as leading two separate ones: her normal, human, life in Bon Temp, as a barmaid, a sister, and a friend, throwing her best friend's baby shower; and another, where she's the wife of a powerful vampire, a pawn in political power games, and in constant danger from vampires, weres, faeries, and God-knows-what-else. And more than anything Sookie just craves peace. A quiet, happy life with the people she loves. At one point, she tells Eric she wishes he was a 'normal' vampire: boring, and without the political struggles.
Dead Reckoning ends on an ambiguous note, and perhaps creates more questions than answers for the series. While we learn a lot more about Sookie's gran, and her family history, some threads in the story I thought had been neatly tied up are unravelled again (notably, an unexpected twist to do with Bill). What is Sookie going to do with her Grandfather's gift? How will this book effect her relationship with Pam? What about Eric? The Queen of Oklahoma? What the HELL is Claude really up to? It definitely seems as though everything is coming together for a big finale in 2 books' time.
The world of the Southern Vampire Mysteries is rich and vibrant--and SO real--and Charlaine Harris has created an intricate web with almost infinite possibilites. I cannot wait to see how see where she takes it next.(less)
Gorgeous, heartbreaking and darkly romantic, The Iron Knight has all the ingredients expected of an Iron Fey novel -- and perhaps a little more. Unlik...moreGorgeous, heartbreaking and darkly romantic, The Iron Knight has all the ingredients expected of an Iron Fey novel -- and perhaps a little more. Unlike previous instalments, it's a story removed from the mortal realm, yet still very much concerned with humanity. Feels a lot more like pure fantasy. I REALLY loved this.
Once upon a time The Labyrinth and Alice in Wonderland met in an enchanted wood. As they walked through the forest, they spoke of their mutual love of...moreOnce upon a time The Labyrinth and Alice in Wonderland met in an enchanted wood. As they walked through the forest, they spoke of their mutual love of The Matrix, Melissa Marr and Shakespeare in the Park. It was the start of something beautiful. As things grew serious, The Labyrinth offered its cruel, mysterious king, its kidnapped brother, its dark twisted creatures and wild imagination. Alice In Wonderland offered its dark nonsense and whimsy, a scene-stealing talking cat, its cryptic riddles and its black humor, and The Iron King was born. Folks, if all babies were this badass, we wouldn't have to worry with the 'make love, not war,' buzz line — though we might have an over-population problem.
TIK is certainly not a perfect book — Meghan and I didn't get along at first. At all. She has a truly epic case of the 'poor mes'.
Fantastic character growth makes up for it, along with spectacular world building and a potent, strange, fairytale magic. VERY looking forward to The Iron Daughter.(less)
In Darkfever Karen Moning brought us a world of secrets, lies, and psychopathic faeries. You know, the kind where the tooth fairy beats you up, then w...moreIn Darkfever Karen Moning brought us a world of secrets, lies, and psychopathic faeries. You know, the kind where the tooth fairy beats you up, then wears your molars around on a necklace made from your intestines... or, more accurately, where beautiful, ethereal princes take you to bed until you’re screaming for mercy and death. If you didn’t think it was possible, she ups the stakes even further in Bloodfever, and the pages are dripping with menace, action, and repressed sexual tension. Buckle you seatbelts. It’s gonna be one hell of a ride.
Mac’s back. she’s accepted what she is: a powerful sidhe-seer. After narrowly escaping death in Darkfever, she’s now waiting for inevitable backlash, in the form of a murderous fae, recovering from her injuries, and still bent on enacting bloody, violent revenge on her sister’s murderer... while she’s convinced she now has the murderer in her sights, she’s no closer to that revenge than before. Gone are the sunshine and rainbows, and sunny outlook the previously characterised Mac. They’re still there, to an extent, but they’re tempered with an edge of... well, let’s just say it can’t really be called pessimism, if it’s true. While Darkfever was about her discovering what she was, Bloodfever is more about discovering who she is at her core, what she’s capable of, and can live with... and deciding who to trust. A decision she still hasn’t come to by the book’s resolution, despite the so-far unflinching fidelity of a certain, infuriatingly cryptic ‘man’.
While Mac’s a little darker, she still carries an air of hope, and, for the sake of her own preservation, we hear Barrons remind her again that hope is essential to survival. Without it, you’re already defeated. I love that the series holds these surprising little insights and pieces of wisdom. Some occasional frustrations with Mac’s previous denial, current trust issues (however warranted they may be), and the numerous unanswered questions I was left with aside, there’s something I’m finding compulsively readable and utterly addictive about the Fever series. Though it is worth mentioning that, despite enjoying Bloodfever immensely, I was left feeling it hasn’t progressed the overall plot a great deal, and I’m desperate for answers to Darkfever's questions. Instead, I'm left with more than when I begun.
Ah, but there’s one question I want answers for most of all. One particularly cryptic, compelling aspect of the series. The one that just may drive Mac and me to the brink of madness: Jericho Barrons. The man is dark, cryptic, seemingly omniscient, and utterly infuriating. Incapable of a straight answer, it’s Barrons that keeps me flicking pages ahead, hanging on his every word, and hungry for more... despite the fact that he scares the hell out of me. The repressed sexual tension he and Mac share is scorching-hot, and I can’t wait for the moment it consumes them both.
The Verdict: Where Darkfever built the theatre, set the scene, and positioned the players, Bloodfever is the dress rehearsal. We’re still building up to the main attraction, and the atmosphere is buzzing with foreboding, anticipation, the promise of action, and the absolute assurance of blood. People are beginning to take their places, and it’s getting (even more) interesting.
Blood fever is a book of questions: who is Mac, really? Who is the Lord Master? Who killed Alina? And O’Duffy? What on earth is going on with the Fae, and what do they really want? And perhaps the biggest question of all: what the hell is Jericho Barrons? Don’t expect answers. Yet Moning has a knack for making the journey every inch as exciting as the destination. the mystery thickens and deepens in Bloodfever, and it will leave you feverish for more. (less)
“Evil books and mysterious players and plots within plots, and now prophesies, too,” comments Mac at one point in Faefever. And, well, there you have...more“Evil books and mysterious players and plots within plots, and now prophesies, too,” comments Mac at one point in Faefever. And, well, there you have it. Evil, sentient books, cryptic players—both good and bad—and, yes, now we have prophesies, too. Once again, Karen Moning has upped the stakes, intensified the fever, and, after this, MacKayla Lane will never be the same again...
Mac’s search for the ancient, evil book, the Sinsar Dubh continues in Faefever, but, as always, she's not the only person on the hunt for it. With enemies who should be allies, and allies who could as easily be against her--and just may be--she doesn't know who to trust. And the cryptic, mysterious Jericho Barrons and Fae Prince, V'lane, are both vying for trust, loyalty, and something much more personal.
But time is running out. More Unseelie, the evil 'dark' Fae, are slipping through cracks between our world and theirs, and their prison may not hold. Mac's world is crumbling, and not even her powerful Sidhe-Seer abilities may be able to stop it.
The End of the Rainbow... I thought Darkfever was dark. I thought Bloodfever was darker. If they were dark, Faefever reaches pure obsidian. No longer ‘Miss Rainbow’, Mac's grown, and become more independent. Rather than simply reacting to what's thrown at her (which is a LOT, give a girl a break), she's starting to make her own moves, plans, and she's asking questions. Yes, Mac's always been curious, she's always asked questions, but she's starting to ask them of herself. In Faefever, Mac is really asking who she can trust. And the answer she comes up with? Herself.
Mac finally puts her foot down, refuses to be a pawn to the players around her, whether Barrons, V’lane, or Sidhe-Seer leader, Rowena. But my delight in her backbone is coupled with frustration: I’m desperate for her to look beyond words to actions. I want her to trust someone, and Barrons has been the only constant, the only one to prove his concern--far beyond the simple protection of his ‘investment,’ over and over again.
The Players: As the plot thickens, so does the complexity of its players. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this means you’ll get answers, though. Seelie Prince V’lane returns with a far larger role to play, determined to insinuate himself into Mac's life (and bed), and we see more of cold, calculating Sidhe-Seer Guild Mistress, Rowena. We finally meet other Sidhe-Seers... though not without great cost to Mac. Teenage faerie-hunter, Dani, pops up again, and it’s delightful seeing some light amongst the darkness of Faefever, in the form of a sisterly-bond they develop.
Mr Dark, Dangerous, and Infuriating But once again, there’s one other ‘player’ who leaves me desperate for more, flicking scenes, pages, and whole chapters ahead: Jericho Barrons. The Fever series’ biggest riddle, we’re no closer to any answers. Who is he? What is he? Once again, the cryptic, inscrutable man gives away nothing, but for the first time, we’re given clues. Tiny hints about what he is, plenty of red-herrings, and still absolutely nothing remotely satisfying. The push/pull between Mac and Barrons intensifies, and I smell jealousy. Present in Bloodfever, it’s intensified, and now unmistakeable. Barrons’ poker face is slipping. I loved it. The nuances of Barrons' and Mac's interactions are fascinating. None of their words are what they seem, and it's a reflection of the complexity of the series on a whole. Layer upon layer upon layer of meaning tied up in a sentence, and an expression. The unresolved sexual tension between Mac and Barrons is electric and scorching and maddening as ever, and I may just immolate if they don’t.
The Verdict: It’s hard to look past the end of this book, the darkest hour, to the light within, to the detail, to its subtle nuances and how crucial it is to the series on a whole. Faefever is a key point, an essential fulcrum, to the progression of the series. The myth and folklore deepens, and we get closer to some long-awaited answers, including the origins of the sinister Sinsar Dubh. More questions are asked, and, of course, fewer yet are answered. Plots deepen, already complicated characters become infinitely more complex, and if I felt the previous two books in the series were dark, Faefever is dark, darker, and darkest still.
By the end of Faefever, Mac’s taken to places so dark, I don’t see how she can come back again. Surely she can’t walk away from this unbroken? Big, dark, cataclysmic things happen in Faefever, and the ending of this book was difficult to read. I’ve grown to love this girl, and my heart was torn open, shred apart, and swallowed whole by the fate she suffers. Fever fans, brace yourselves. And have book four handy.
Faefever is the first book in the series to end on a real cliffhanger, and its shocking conclusion left me horrified, shaken, and sick to my core. Easily the darkest place the series has reached so far, it’s also the most complicated, the most compelling, and once again, it’s left me desperate and feverish for more. (less)
4.5 Stars It's NOT a perfect book. But it's one I loved so, SO much, and loved the series so much, and am so absolutely CRAZY in love with, it gets rou...more4.5 Stars It's NOT a perfect book. But it's one I loved so, SO much, and loved the series so much, and am so absolutely CRAZY in love with, it gets rounded up to 5.
Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow(fever) Buckle up, girls and guys. Shadowfever’s here, and Moning finally delivers everything she’s promised... and then some.
With three billion people dead, the walls still down between Faery and earth, Mac has lost everything. Her sister, her home, her identity, her world, and now it seems the one remaining thread tethering her to what’s left of it. Bitter, jaded, and now as ruthless as her mentor, Mac will stop at nothing to find the cursed Sinsar Dubh, and bring an end to the Fae madness that has taken over the planet. But nothing’s as easy as it seems, and Mac must get to the bottom of a million-year old network of lies, deceit, prophecy and mythology to discover who she is, and who to trust, all while fighting to stay alive long enough to complete her task. More than ever, Mac must uncover answers: Who and where is the Unseelie King? Where is the Seelie Queen? What really happened to the concubine who set this whole series of tragedies in motion, and caused the Sinsar Dubh to be brought into creation? Mac may just be the only person with the answer.
With the final page closed on the Fever series, and looking back at the journey as a whole, I can honestly say I’d never imagined it would wind up here. When Pink Mac, or Mac 1.0, as she calls her old self, first stumbled, grieving her sister, through the craic-filled streets of Dublin, I don’t imagine she did either. I remember that Barbie-girl, and I remember wanting to shake her. Shallow and selfish, over-confident and outright silly, that girl is gone. Mac is battle-scarred, jaded and bitter, but she’s learned that “Hope strengthens, [and] Fear kills”, and she clings to that adage. Mac’s been brutalized, tortured, betrayed, and manipulated countless times, but rather than letting it destroy her, she’s let it build her, shape her into a stronger, better, version of herself. I can’t believe the girl I could barely stand in Darkfever is now one of my favorite characters. Mac is one of the best examples of character growth I’ve seen in literature. Ever. She’s unrecognizable from her old self.
That’s not to say this book isn’t a journey for her. When we open the page on Shadowfever, we find a stricken, broken woman, overwhelmed with towering grief and fury. That fury and grief turns to cold resolve, and that resolve leads to one hell of a journey.
In Shadowfever, the players become clear. We finally see the true faces of the good guys, the bad guys, and the questions we’ve been asking, the riddles we’ve been agonizing over for four long, brilliant books are finally, finally, finally answered. Infuriating, cryptic Jericho Barrons. Pernicious Sidhe-Seer Grand Mistress, Rowena. Fae Prince, V’lane. Mac herself. Who and what she is. All is revealed. And despite an obsession rivaling Mac’s own when it comes to the question of Jericho Barrons, it’s perhaps the question of Mac herself that is Shadowfever’s biggest mystery and revelation.
And finally, after hundreds and hundreds of pages of the most electric, palpable, frustrating sexual tension I’ve ever read, we get satisfaction. Real satisfaction. I almost expected disappointment. How could anything possibly live up to the towering build-up? Disappointment? Not a drip, not a drop. Jericho Barrons is neither hero nor anti-hero. He just is. One of the most prickly, acerbic, powerfully sexual and utterly compelling characters I’ve ever read, well, I never expected him to break my heart. Barrons and Mac are a match forged in the fires of hell, and cooled in the springs of heaven. Believe me when I say the wait has been worth it.
The Verdict: Through five books, and over many hundreds of pages, Karen Marie Moning has built a world as dangerous, broken and terrifying as it is seductive, beautiful and compelling. She’s populated it with characters I love and loathe. She’s given it depth and painted it in colors beyond imagination. With the dozens of questions, cryptic clues, and frustrating mysteries she’s created over the series, I wasn’t sure how she could possibly wrap the series up, and deliver a satisfying dénouement. I don’t know what to say beyond, well, she does. Has Shadowfever left me with questions? Of course. Good books allow you to think for yourself. To imagine futures, and worlds and possibilities beyond a final, finished page. But has Moning delivered the satisfaction I longed for? The answers I needed? Yes, and then some.
The most sexually-charged installment of the series on a whole, Shadowfever delivers. I can’t possibly imagine the series ending any other way. Mac’s world will never be the same, nor will she. Yet despite unimaginable loss, tragedy, and heartache... they might just be better. Five books, one apocalypse, billions of dead, and an inter-dimensional war later, I still have the Fever. (less)
Brutal, uncompromising and black as pitch, Dreamfever, the Fever series' fourth, and penultimate installment, pulls no punches, and I'm starting to th...moreBrutal, uncompromising and black as pitch, Dreamfever, the Fever series' fourth, and penultimate installment, pulls no punches, and I'm starting to thing Karen Moning takes a kind of malicious glee from torturing her characters and readers alike...
Dreamfever is a very different creature from its forebears. Dublin has fallen. The walls dividing our world from Faery have come crashing down, and nightmares no longer hide their faces as they stalk post-apocalyptic city streets. Goodbye world, hello Unseelie wasteland. But the hunt for the Sinsar Dubh is not over, and all the major players have survived the cataclysm. The events of Faefever cost Mac terribly, but with the deadly tome still on the loose, she can't afford to wallow in her pain. Mac is back, baby, and this time, she has a gun.
Black Mac: Mac couldn't have survived Faefever and come out the same. After the tragedy and perverse torture she survived, she's a very different girl. Princess Pink is gone, and replaced with, as she calls herself, 'Black Mac'. Watching the evolution of Mac over the course of the series has been a painful, beautiful thing. Darkfever Mac is no longer recognizable in the raven-haired, leather-clad woman in Dreamfever's pages. She has finally graduated into the action-chick she was always destined to me. Mac has truly evolved, and is still evolving. Literally. In surprising and inexplicable ways...
The Rest: I could wax poetic about the delicious, cryptic, maddening Barrons for hours, but with Mac’s evolution has come independence. While not always making the right decisions, Mac is making her own, and it means Barrons is getting less page time… while still somehow playing an even larger part in the story. And the threads of a love triangle have solidified, in the sense that intentions have been declared. Fae Prince V’lane, and whatever-the-hell-he-is Barrons both want Mac… and have made it very clear. But, once again, after Faefever, things have changed. The world is unrecogniseable, and so is Mac… the relationship between Mac and Barrons is more intense and raw than it ever has been before. The strain and tension between the two is at fever pitch.
Young Sidhe-Seer prodigy, Dani, plays a much larger part in this book than ever before. In fact, for the first time, we get chapters from her point of view. The high-speed teen is fascinating, and the bond she shares with Mac is warm and sweet… but she’s hiding her own mysteries. And, of course, politics finally come into play with the Sidhe Seers, and Mac finally uncovers a couple of truths about her past. The Side-Seers play a far larger role in Dreamfever, and each of the pieces in the vast, complex game Moning is playing are moving into their final places, waiting for what can only be an epic conclusion in Shadowfever.
Riddles, Wrapped in Mysteries: Dreamfever is one of the most surprising and cryptic installments in the series yet. Once again, I’m left with a myriad of questions. Not just who is Mac, but what? We finally learn something about her past and family, but precious little, and it leaves more questions. We get a tantalizing clue about the ‘what’ of Barrons, which creates still more questions. What the hell is the Sidhe-Seers’ part in this all this, and what is the, frankly pernicious Grand Mistress, Rowena, hiding? What does the Sinsar Dubh want, evil, sentient book that it is... And Barron's eight? Who and what the hell are they? What’s with the Keltar druids? What’s happened to Christian MacKelter? For all the questions Moning finally answers—or at the very least alludes too—we’re once again left with a dozen more.
The Verdict: If the cliffhanger of Faefever was shocking, Moning’s done it again with gusto. Shocking hardly comes close. I’ve so many words for Dreamfever: deeper, darker, more complex, dangerous, beautiful and broken. It’s exactly what the series was always meant to be. Moning has finally pulled everything together and we’re just starting to see the bigger picture. Where Moning could possibly take the next book, I can hardly imagine. Old enemies remain, and new dangers in the form of shady allies emerge. The stakes have always been high, but the danger and forboding is a constant in Dreamfever. The world has changed, and so have the rules. Dreamfever is one big infuriatingly cryptic riddle. The answer to which is just within sight.(less)
I think I'm kind of alone in this, but I wasn't entirely... satisfied with the ending of The Iron Knight. I...moreASDFGHJKLHFDJAFD. SO SWEET. AND ROMANTICAL.
I think I'm kind of alone in this, but I wasn't entirely... satisfied with the ending of The Iron Knight. I liked the ending of The Iron Queenmore, as there was hope, and room to imagine my own happy ending. TIKn's Happily Ever After worried me. Was Ash going to die? How mortal is he? And will everything be OK with Meghan?
I'M A WORRIER, OK?
Anyway. Seeing them together here was a sweet, sugary balm. Like swimming in a pool full of CUPCAKES.
Pure wish fulfillment, this made me HAPPY. You can read it here, if you missed it.(less)