"Nothing. I wanted to hit him but hitting a masochist is pretty pointless. Wesley?" She
Rating: (♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥)
"Oh, my God," Wesley breathed. "What did you do?"
"Nothing. I wanted to hit him but hitting a masochist is pretty pointless. Wesley?" She finally looked him full in his face. For a moment his brown eyes turned silver and she saw Michael's face floating in front of her. "What if I'm a bad person, too?"
"You're not a bad person. If you were a bad person you wouldn't be sitting fully dressed in a bathtub with no water in it because you're terrified you might be a bad person. The devil doesn't worry about going to hell."
"Only because he's already there."
Oookay… what to say about this book? Definitely one for my shelf of ambivalence. Which I stupidly got rid of. Now I'm temped to bring it back. Not a story for the faint of heart. If your easily offended… explore no further. I gave it 5 stars for the writing, character development and plot alone. It is exceptionally good at being disturbing, offensive and controversial at times. If I judged it solely on the romance… it would fail, because I'm not even sure it is a romance. Not in this first book, at least. If, however, I judged it on how well it's written, how interesting the characters are, how seamless the plot/storyline flows together and how thought provoking it is, then it's definitely earned it's 5 stars. There is so much more going on in this story than dark and twisted sex and it truly is "thought provoking" (emphasis on the thought and the provoke). I never expected to encounter, in an erotica novel, such profoundly complicated characters written into a complex yet beautiful (love?) story.
The main character of the story, Nora sutherlin, is an erotica writer who teams up with a new editor to try and perfect her work. Her goal? She wants to feel like an actual writer with talent, an artist rather than your typical purveyor of cheap smut. Because her latest novel is rather personal. Her new editor, Zach Easton, is not happy in the least to be partnered with her and he automatically assumes from the start that Nora is a talentless hack. Zach states that if she can't produce something truly worthwhile in six weeks, he will not sign a contract with her. Other key characters in the story are Wesley, Nora's live-in intern and Soren, Nora's sadistic ex-lover.
I'm not really sure this story fits into the erotica genre alone. The amount of sex is equivalent to that of your average romance novel. Perhaps it is the "TYPE" of sex that has earned it a classification of erotica. But if I had to classify it myself, I'd have to make something up like, Erotic Horror Romance or maybe Contemporary Horror Romance. Because the violence that occurs can be a bit frightening, even if it is consensual. These two quotes by the main character, Nora Sutherlin, are very telling and help give a little perspective.
Nora: “I know people think erotica is just a romance novel with rougher sex. It's not. If it's a subgenre of anything, it's horror."
Zach: "Horror? Really?"
Nora: "Romance is sex plus love. Erotica is sex plus fear.”
Zach: "Hurt but do not harm? What's the difference?"
Nora: "Hurt is a bruise on the outside. Harm is a bruise on the inside. If you're a masochist, pain feels like love to you. Not being hurt is what hurts.”
Dark, disturbing, twisted and uncomfortable… yet for every uncomfortable moment, there are also light hearted, humorous and profoundly beautiful ones. Plus, it has one major saving grace that kept me from tossing it aside when things got a little too dark for me. The characters all have varying points of views. Some you can relate to, some you can't. It doesn't just throw BDSM at you and expect you to completely connect. I couldn't relate to Nora's point of view MOST of the time. Pain, torture and humiliation are a form of love? This is something I still have not been able to wrap my head around. And believe me... I tried. It also shows you that the initial assumptions we often make of people we don't know are usually hopelessly flawed.
Seeing as how there are parts I found a bit too controversial for my taste, I still don't know whether I love or hate this book. I've been vacillating between the two emotions for days now. I guess I love to hate it just as much as I hate to love it. Hence it's designation to the shelf of ambivalence. But I do recommend it if only for the beautiful writing alone. Only I do it with a strict warning! Prepare yourself for moral, mental and emotional disturbances if your not accustomed to the TRUE world of kink/BDSM. Believe it or not, The Siren makes Fifty Shades of Grey look completely vanilla. Don't read it expecting Prince charming, a fluffy romance and HEA's (At least not in the first book). If your not into erotica or totally offended by the idea of BDSM… avoid it. If your curious… then by all means, read it! You can expect some emotional self discovery by many of the characters and a surprisingly beautiful story despite the dark and uncomfortable parts. And with that, I'll leave you with a few more of my favorite quotes.
Zach: “Excuse me," Zach began, trying to regain control of the conversation, "but didn't I repeatedly insult you this morning?"
Nora: "Your kvetching was very fetching. I like men who are mean to me. I trust them more."
Nora: “S&M is as psychological as it is physical and sexual, Zach. Imagine being as deep inside a woman’s mind as you are inside her body.”
"You still love him, don't you?" Nora smiled sadly up at him. "Many waters." She ran a hand through her wet hair and let water drop from her fingertips to the floor. "Many waters cannot quench love," Wesley finished the quote. "River's cannot wash it away." "Nor will rivers overflow it," she corrected.
I'm sorry guys. I would have truly loved this story if weren't for the three grown men lusting after a 14 year old girl. That fact was tooRating: (♥ ♥ ♥)
I'm sorry guys. I would have truly loved this story if weren't for the three grown men lusting after a 14 year old girl. That fact was too disturbing. I just couldn't enjoy the story as much as I wanted to. Yes, I know she did not have sex, but c'mon... she was being chased around, lusted after and fought over by GROWN men that should know better. These men weren't lusting after a grown, fully developed woman. They were lusting after a girl who just hit puberty for crying out loud. Thinking about sexing her up! She hasn't even filled out as a woman yet. She's just a GIRL people! She's barely even a TEEN! The lusting might have worked or been steamy and fun had Dani been a grown woman like Mac. But it just didn't work with a girl who is two years away from even being eligible to drive. It kinda makes you feel icky and creepy just to witness the thoughts and actions of these grown men throughout the book. Not sexy in the least. I'm a bit flabbergasted that most people think this is okay. Or God Forbid... sexy?! Really? What does it say about the people who read this and got turned on by the thought of these older men having sexual thoughts and horny urges towards a 14 year old girl? I guess, at least Dancer seemed appropriate in his interest in Dani. There didn't seem to be any pervertedness to his friendship with her. I'll give you that.
There's also a definite parallel between this story, Mac, Barron's and V'lanes story, and the Unseelie King and his concubine. It's almost like Mac, Barron's and V'lane again. Ryodan is the new Barron's, Christian is the new V'lane, and Dancer is the new Christian. I'm going out on a limb though and assume that this is totally on purpose because Ms. Moning deliberately draws parallels in her stories all the time. So there must be more to this particular mirroring that will reveal itself throughout the plot of the series. Other than that one glaring issue I had with the story, it was a good story. If we just could have removed the ick factor... it could have been so much more enjoyable.
This one was not a win for me this time. Although, it wasn't a complete lose either, so all is not lost. I only hope, though, that Ms. Moning has Dani grow the eff up and quick! Or this is going to be a very odd and uncomfortable ride for me. At this point and time... I'm going to keep the faith. It is Karen Marie Moning after all. And only she knows how this is all going to weave together....more
"You accuse me of illusion. You—with your absurd construct of linear time. You fashion for yourself a prison of watches, cl
Rating: (♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ - ♥ + ♥ - ♥ + ♥)
"You accuse me of illusion. You—with your absurd construct of linear time. You fashion for yourself a prison of watches, clocks, and calendars. You rattle bars forged of hours and days, but you’ve padlocked the door with past, present and future.
Puny minds need puny caves.
You cannot gaze upon time’s true face any more than you can behold mine.
To apprehend yourself as the center, to simultaneously perceive all combinations of all possibles, should you choose to move in any direction—“direction” being a very limited method of attempting to convey a concept for which your race has no word—that is what it is to be me." - The Sinsar Dubh
***Ambivalence is me.***
Bah! I'm really ambivalent about this book. Dang-it! It's great story telling, just... incomplete storytelling. Moning is an excellent writer, a great weaver of mystery, suspense, and intrigue. I felt that way throughout the entire series. It was never lacking in detail, development, or complexities. What it is lacking in for me is closure! Where is the answer key to all the questions she created in her great mysterious puzzle? I'm in constant vacillation (fancy new word from SF-thank you Ms. Moning) between Really Liking Shadowfever and LOVING Shadowfever. And there's no question I like this book, because I do. It just has some issues that are torturing me.
I've listed my issues with the book below my original review. There are spoilers in that section so you may want to skip it if you haven't read the book. I'm leaving my original review intact, the way I wrote it because... in the end, it was still an excellent story and an EPIC adventure. I just wish I didn't feel a little... manipulated? Be forewarned. This is the longest review I've ever written and I get bit ranty.
***** Original review *****
I just finished Shadowfever and…WOW!!! Predictability is not a word you could use to describe KMMs’ Fever series. In fact, this last book is a doozy. Although, a couple of my theories turned out to be true in the end, it was never a straight and easy path to get from here to there. I can honestly say there was never a time I had this story completely figured out. Just when I thought I’d gotten close, the story took a sharp turn and completely screwed up all my speculations. As always, Shadowfever was just as addictive as the last 4 books in this series. It got under my skin and stayed there. Sadly, it is also the last. **sobs** When your done, it leaves you immersed in a "Fever Fog" difficult to shake and nearly impossible to move on from.
Like I said in my last four reviews... this is NOT a sparkly fairy tale about tiny beings with gossamer wings and fairy dust. It is a dark story with highly evolved, ancient, otherworldly beings that have been a part of our human world before the record of time itself. As with any story about good and evil, you find yourself worried for the main character. Where are they going in their journey and what choices are they going to make? Are they being fooled into “batting for the wrong team?” Are good and evil really what they appear to be? Who can they trust? Along with death, acceptance of who you are and love, these are some of the many issues plaguing Mac.
Typical of all the books in the Fever series, this last book delivered a fantastic and vividly created world with a suspenseful storyline. The characters were intriguing and I found myself getting emotionally invested in all them. From Barrons jack-assy men and headstrong Mac, to the imperious Fae, and many other interesting, new additions, there was absolutely no lack in character development. I was also surprised at the humorous situations ***most of them dark*** and interesting dialogue created in Shadowfever. Although the same could be found in all the books in Fever, this last one beats the rest hands down.
I loved Shadowfever and all it's complexities. It just proves what I already knew... Karen Marie Moning is an amazing writer. Who else can write a series that has so much mystery, foreshadowing and mirroring going on that it's almost a puzzle for your brain. You can literally reread it and find things you previously missed or took for granted. And her ability to come up with great dialogue and amazing one liners is also a rare talent. I think I damn near highlighted every page of this book.
I do have to admit being worried before I started. I had REALLY high expectations and sometimes that can totally ruin a book when it doesn’t deliver. Some series are great right up to the end and fizzle out with a conclusion that leaves you unimpressed. Shadowfever, on the other hand, was satisfying, but over way too soon. In fact, I was really saddened when it ended. I wanted more pages to magically appear at the end of the book so I could keep reading it into infinity. But the ending was good. Both closure (sort of) and… rebirth? While it answered some questions Mac’s journey created, new story possibilities were woven into Shadowfever at the same time. And the journey was EPIC!
I did have a few things that bothered me. The ending was not as neat and tidy as I would have liked. But truly great story telling that captures the imagination is not always neat and tidy. Life, itself, can be chaotic and does not always provide you with all the answers. A book is a success if you find yourself thinking about it hours, days and even weeks after you’ve finished reading it. And it’s a REAL success if you find yourself going back to read it again. ***guilty!*** I don't think there's a fan out there that hasn't or wouldn't reread this series again and again. That's what makes the Fever series so remarkable.
I recommend the Fever series to anyone. And, in fact, I challenge you to read the first novel and stop there. I bet you’ll find that pretty difficult, if not impossible. It’s captivating, intoxicating and addictive. As silly as it sounds, I think some fans are literally suffering from Fever withdrawal. I know I did.
******SPOILER BEYOND THIS POINT******
Now, for my take on the romance and my CONS are listed below but contain spoilers. Continue at your own risk.
***First... the Romance in Shadowfever! Hot, sexy, erotic...ROWR!***
Everyone missing the romance found in Moning’s previous series will not be disappointed. Shadowfever delivers. But it’s not a delicate, tender romance with chocolate, flowers and pretty rainbows. This is Barrons and Mac we’re talking about. The constant Jack-Ass and headstrong glamour girl turned dark warrior. They’re relationship has caused many a reader to toss books across rooms in total exasperation. One poster on the Fever message board admitted to yelling, “Say it! Just saaaaay it! See what happens!— Noooo, don’t say THAT! UGH!” I can see many us doing that, because Mac and Barrons are stubborn, obstinate characters that refuse to reveal any vulnerability by being the first to admit to having feelings for each other. As one would expect from a romance between Mac and Barrons, it’s... frustrating, wild, dark and crazy erotic to the nth degree. A reread of all the good scenes is recommended and HIGHLY... unavoidable.
CONS: Yes... I do have some. There were strings left untied and I didn’t get ALL the answers I was expecting. If were being perfectly honest here... I felt a little let down after all the many months of fans sleuthing, playing P.I. and rereading books for clues. It's one of the many things that made it so interesting and fun! A really good "Who done it" with the promise of a mystery solved at the end. And in the end, she answered only a limited amount and said the rest was open to our own interpretations? I know that most fans are saying they're okay with that and they don't need to know more. But I would be lying to myself and everyone else if I fell in line and said I felt the same way.
I just didn't understand... why create a puzzle only to leave out important pieces that would make it whole? Why create a character so intriguing and interesting that your drawn in by him and then ask us NOT to be curious about all the mystery surrounding him? That's hard not to do because it's human nature to be curious. Mystery demands answers. At least for me it does.
My other beef... we're supposed to be judging Barrons by his actions during this series and not his past... but besides the way he protects Mac, he and his men appear to be tipping the scales toward evil and that makes it hard to justify liking them. Which is difficult, because I really DO like them. You can't help yourself and that makes for some really conflicted feelings.
Lets be perfectly honest here. Barrons and his 8 are sociopathic serial killers. Barrons is an admitted serial killer for his son. What we don't know is... are they selective in who they kill? Do they take any person off the street? Someone's wife or husband, father or mother, son or daughter, sister or brother? Someone like Alina? Or do they make a conscious effort to select someone of a dark nature?
I'm conflicted that KMM has gone out of her way to create such intriguing characters that draw you in, make you emotionally invested in them and then not give you enough rationale to make them worth liking! Just like I feel conflicted for liking Dexter (Who is a serial killer!) But at least that author gives you some small grain of rationale to battle with the internal conflict his character creates within the reader.
Also, Ryodan allows protection of Unseelie while they murder unsuspecting humans in his bar. Granted they're obsessive patrons searching for gratification. But how many of us don't see some part of ourselves in those unfortunate humans? Are we all so perfect that we think that would never be us down there searching for immortality? It seems the thinking here is... go ahead... kill people. It's perfectly okay. As long as we don't know them personally, what difference does it make? Our own survival is all that truly matters. Everyone else is just collateral damage?
Karen Moning mentioned her goal was to create characters with shades of grey who are neither good or evil, hero or anti-hero. However, I still think it possible to give some "light" to those characters without upsetting the balance and tipping them one way or the other. It can be done without making them into hero's. Right now... they appear to be tipping AWAY from the light... into the anti-hero "dark zone". But if we like them that way anyways... then what does that say about us? Yay for the murderers and killers! Screw the good guy! -- He was boring to read about anyway.
I realize, when it comes right down to it, these are really more personal issues. But these are my opinions and my husband doesn't agree with me at all, so maybe you won't either. Decide for yourself.
While Karen Moning did mention that she wanted to leave some things up to the interpretation of the reader, I prefer more closure. But I realize in order to move on with another 3 book story arc in the series—which is what she has planned—some things can’t be tidied up with complete answers without also giving away your next storyline. I'm okay with that. She's asked us to -- Keep the faith. So I'm keepin' the faith! Which I couldn't do if her writing was anything less than spectacular in the first place.
What else is saving this book for me? The promise of more to come, possible rationale for Barrons that would navigate him closer to the middle between good and evil, and the fact that I would reread the whole darned series all over again, regardless. Many times, in fact. It's still that good despite all my whiny complaints.
I originally gave this series 5 stars when I first wrote my review, then murdered a star because of my ambivalence with the whole thing. But I'm going to give Ms. Moning that star back for 2 reason.
First, I just found out that after the 3 book story arc featuring Dani, Christian and Ryodan, KMM is returning to write more about Mac and Barrons. [♥ ♥ ♥ Feel the love Ms. Moning? You have made me sooo very, very happy!!! ♥ ♥ ♥]
Second, I've come to realize, just how spectacular Karen's writing is to cause this much internal struggle over characters that aren't even real. It's not like I have problems with them because I don't like them. I have problems with them because I do. She's masterfully written characters that made me care so much that I struggle with who they AREN'T turning out to be, just like a parent might struggle with a troubled teen. It takes excellent writing to make you feel that strongly, to get you to care enough about the book and the characters to be disappointed in the end when you don't get the closure you desired. If you didn't care about the story and characters to begin with... you wouldn't care about the ending either. So here is your star back Karen. You definitely deserve it.
Some of My Favorite Quotes from Shadowfever:
Mac – “Time heals. — No, it doesn't. At best, time is the great leveler, sweeping us all into coffins. We find ways to distract ourselves from the pain. Time is neither scalpel nor bandage. It is indifferent. Scar tissue isn't a good thing. It's merely the wound's other face."
Barrons – “You ever mind-f**k me again, I’ll f**k you back. But it won’t be with my mind.”
Ryodan – “Most people are good and occasionally do something they know is bad. Some people are bad and struggle every day to keep it under control. Others are corrupt to the core and don't give a damn, as long as they don't get caught. But evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it's good."
Dani (Danielle Mega O'Malley) - "Here I sit in the abbey's dining hall, in the middle of this brainless feckin' herd of sidhe-sheep that are so easily led they should wear feckin' halters and waggle fluffy sheep arses..."...more