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)
Grave Secret, the final in the series of 4, is a satisfying conclusion to a dark and compelling series. The series work like a lot of conventional mys...moreGrave Secret, the final in the series of 4, is a satisfying conclusion to a dark and compelling series. The series work like a lot of conventional mysteries, but there's a twist: Harper Connelly isn't an ordinary gal. Struck by lightning as a teenager, Harper can find dead bodies. She senses, hears, and feels them all around her. It's her job to find dead people.
Harper is joined in her work by her stepbrother and lover, Tolliver. This is perhaps the most contentious issue of the books, and a great deal of time is spent on the issue: the social taboo of their situation, their relatives' and colleagues' reactions, and Harper's reservations, ongoing concerns, self doubt and disappointment when she first realises her feelings for him.
The relationship sounds a bit disturbing without background, but in the context of the novels and history between the two, it is not *as* creepy as it sounds. The pair weren't exactly raised as brother and sister (only meeting in their teens), and Ms Harris handles the relationship between the two with sensitivity, and a great deal of introspection. While reading the book, I was pretty sucked in. Thinking about it in hindsight, and if I'd not read the book, and only knew about the relationshipg, it makes me a little uncomfortable, but the relationship between the two is sweet, and Ms Harris handles the matter with a well measured hand. Having said that, the situation may still be distasteful to some readers, and perhaps it's worth considering. The series does include some *ahem*... fairly stramy scenes.
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the series. They are great little mysteries--quite dark, but a lot of fun--with a paranormal twist. They're never slow or dull. Harper is a ballsy heroine, and she's a fighter.
This is not a stand-alone novel. I would strongly advise reading the preceding 3 books in this series before reading Grave Secret. Rather than its own little stand-alone mystery, the story concerns itself largely with tying up a number of ongoing questions and mysteries from the series. It's a very satisfying read and ending, but not as stand-alone as the other 3 (Grave Sight, Grave Surprise, and An Ice Cold Grave, though the last not so much). (less)