Dani O'Malley, how you slay me. Ill be straight up. I did not want to like this book. Dani drove me nuts in the Fever series and knowing I'd have to live in her head for the entire story had me dreading it enough to put it off for two weeks. She's fourteen. I generally don't read YA. On the other hand, I also didn't like Mac much during the first few Fever series books and she turned out to be a hell of a heroine. Once I started reading Iced, I couldn't put it down. I don't even like post-apocalyptic stories! But even so, each chapter, even through Dani's sometimes-endless ramblings and Dani-isms, sucked me in deeper until I couldn't deny it anymore... this book kicked complete butt.
Anyone who has read Ms. Moning's other works knows what compelling male characters she writes. They are strong, forthright, domineering, often supernaturally enhanced, complicated, and usually unpredictable.... but day-amn are they sexy! Hellloooo Ryodan! Holy smokes, Christian! And Dancer... who knew a plain old (albeit completely self-sufficient genius) human could be so appealing? *wipes away drool* Any guesses what deep dark secret he holds? And who do I want her to end up with? A) I feel dirty even contemplating that (she's FOURTEEN and these big bad men are falling all over themselves to be around her!) and B) I have no idea!! Each of them has his pros and cons... and some of those cons are serious downsides.
On top of that, Dani is smart. Genius smart, and I'm not really even sure she realizes it. One of the things I really liked about this book is the intelligence of the solution. In order to solve this mystery, the characters needed to be more-than-average observant, and had to be able to problem-solve on a college level. Even so, the explanation made sense in layman terms and wasn't so complicated that a normal reader couldn't follow and understand the logic. Very well done.
It was also satisfying to get another glimpse into Ms. Moning's creative abilities through some of Dani's less conventional adventures. If you were worried that, being a young adult novel, Iced might back off on the various visceral details that were such a potent factor in the Fever series, fear not; this book has sex (albeit not explicit, and not involving Dani!) and violence (in gloriously graphic detail when needed), and time is not wasted on frivolous pursuits.
And oh yeah... holy fecking quotes, Batman!
Iced waltzed in and pulverized all of my neat little preconceptions in the first chapter, and didn't let up its relentless pace of mystery, adventure, and edgy attraction for a second. Did Dani annoy me at times? Yeah, but only very occasionally, and there were far more scenes where she really impressed and won me over. Were the men a little creepy with their unnatural interest in a fourteen year old girl? Yep, a little bit (aside from their incredibly addicting animalistic sex appeal), but I also came to see in her what they saw and I agree that she is going to be an incredibly strong heroine for this trilogy. What's next for Dani O'Malley? I can't wait to find out! Iced is a GraveTells "must read"!
Rainbow Mac 1.0 is long gone, leaving a more hardened, determined, black-leather-wearing Mac 5.0 to unravel the final mysteries surrounding the Sinsar Dubh and the King of all the Fae.
***** There are no outright spoilers in this review! If you have not read the first four books in this series and want absolutely no information or hints about what will happen in them, then do not read this review. While there are no actual spoilers, there are some vague hints that are intended for readers who have already finished up through Dreamfever. *****
Title: Shadowfever Series: The Fever series - book #5 Author:Karen Marie Moning Prominent Characters: Mac Lane, Jericho Barrons, V'lane Recommended reader age: 17+ Sexual content level: Moderate, somewhat explicit
This series really grabs you and takes you along for a mysterious, dark, and sexy ride! In my review of Darkfever (the first book in the Fever series), I complained about all the self-indulgent "I'm so pretty" commentaries the reader is forced to endure from Mac as she learns her way around Dublin and starts investigating her sister's murder. Thankfully, we see the last of that in the third book (and it is much less prominent after Darkfever anyway) when Mac is forced to deal with some very traumatic circumstances of her own. By book 5, Mac is a weapon forged of diligence, suffering, and self-discovery and she is more determined than ever to get to the bottom of the chaos her world has become.
For a series with such a violently and sexually volatile male lead, there is a whole lotta sexual tension and buildup. How does Mac keep her hands off Barrons for so long?! Barrons is the ultimate alpha male, seemingly invincible and terrifyingly reliable at keeping Mac alive. After the shocking events at the end of book 4 (Dreamfever), I raced online to download Shadowfever and find out what would happen next. This book does not disappoint! It successfully resolves multiple plot questions and hanging threads, while continuing to drive the main storylines and relationships.
There is OH so much more I'd like to say about this book and the characters in it, but I'm trying really hard not to post spoilers, so we'll leave those discussions for the comments below. Consider yourself warned! *grin*
Conversations with the Sinsar Dubh...
TIME IS THE ONLY TRUE GOD, AND I AM FOREVER. THEREFORE, I AM GOD.
Your logic is flawed. Time is not forever. It is always. Past, Present, and Future. There was a time in the past when you did not exist. Therefore, you are not God.
Arguing with Barrons is either sadism or foreplay...
I didn't say I didn't like you. 'Like' is such a puerile word. Mediocre people like things. The only question of any significant emotive content is: Can you live without it?
On parental wisdom...
Daddy told me once that we believe others are capable of the worst we ourselves are capable of.
If you like Shadowfever of The Fever series...
If you enjoyed Shadowfever and the Fever Series, you may also like the the Cassandra Palmer series (starting with Touch the Dark) by Karen Chance. Cassie shares the same "it's a good day when no one is trying to kill me" philosophy, and also frequently finds herself in amusing-yet-dangerous situations where she has to use her wits and still-developing special skills to prevail. Both are more urban fantasy than paranormal romance, and both focus on a central young strong female character who is instrumentally necessary in solving some big world-wide crisis.
If you enjoy the intensity of Barrons and are looking for more male leads with his authority and style of presence, check out the Black Dagger Brotherhood stories by J.R. Ward, starting with Wrath's book, Dark Lover. The brothers typically each get a book, meaning less time with each couple, but their storylines arc throughout the entire series, making it a really compelling ensemble piece.
If you like Barrons for his cheeky wit and prowess in bed, definitely read the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost, starting with Halfway to the Grave. Bones is sexy, smart, loyal, powerful, and has a British accent - just about everything you could ask for in a hero.
If you have not read this series, START IT NOW! Barrons makes even the Black Dagger Brotherhood males pale in comparison to his intensity and authority. Bold claims, I know... but true! It probably helps that Barrons and Mac get a whole 5 books devoted to their journey, and the journey is not (like so many other series in this genre) based around their relationship, but rather world-changing catastrophic events and consequences.
The Fever series is an addicting coming of age story in a world where nothing is as it seems and secrets are the new currency. From books 3-5, I literally could not stop reading! I was on a two-week Pacific Northwest vacation getaway and all I could think about was finding out the next shocker in Mac's journey. I was initially drawn to the series when Barrons beat out some other major male players in the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genres in an online "alpha" competition. The rabid loyalty of Barrons' fans piqued my interest (he's more popular than Bones!), and I am SO glad I chose to read this series. Here's what I recommend: find some down time, a week or so, and read the Fever Series start to finish. Don't get discouraged in the first one (which is still excellent, just annoyingly narcissistic) - read all the way to the end of book three (Faefever), then just TRY to put it down! *wink*
After learning of her sister Alina's mysterious murder, MacKayla Lane (better known as just Mac) heads to Ireland determined to find out what happened and get her retribution. At the tender age of 22, she doesn't exactly have a plethora of survival skills but there just might be some fairly handly super-secret abilities that even she doesn't know about. On her quest to track down details of her sister's sudden death, Mac teams up with an unlikely (and sometimes suspiciously nefarious) yet darkly appealing partner. Chaos ensues as they begin the dangerous journey to finish Alina's final task among the unsettling Unseelie fae.
Title: Darkfever Series: The Fever series - book #1 Author:Karen Marie Moning Prominent Characters: Mac Lane, Jericho Barrons Recommended reader age: 15+ Sexual content level: Very light
After reading several fast-and-furious style novels lately, the slower pace of this one was a pleasant change. It's a series starter, so I knew going in that it would be somewhat more leisurely getting to the point, but it turned out to be more of an adventurous journey than a romance or action-driven storyline. Darkfever is the story of Mac Lane, who treks off to Ireland from her home in the states to solve her sister's murder and get some retribution from the responsible parties. To give some perspective on Mac, she is a 22-year-old Barbie doll of a bartender from a upper-middle-class American family who, according to her own narration, is beautiful and enviable, yet has no real life skills to speak of other than mixing drinks and schmoozing with patrons. If you think you caught some snarkiness in that last comment, you did. Mac comments WAY too frequently about how attractive she is... how soft and golden her skin, how long and lustrous her blond hair, how smooth and shapely her legs, how stylish and cute her wardrobe & accessories... that she comes across as obsessively vain. At first it didn't bother me - I saw it as a vehicle for helping define her character in order to better develop and progress it later. However, after about the 3rd reference to her youthly perfection, I wanted to punch her. Maybe put some unsightly knots in that Barbie doll hair. Replace her wardrobe with something gray and drab from a thrift store. Seriously! Ugh.
Anyway, back to the important stuff... Even with the slower pace, the story still progresses well and is entertaining to follow. It doesn't feel the need to rush through and pack in action scenes. Instead, Ms. Moning gives the reader a plethora of clues and directional markers that allow us to form our own opinion of where Mac is headed and what might be in store for her. Nothing is force-fed to us but important details are (generally) also not withheld for the sake of surprise and drama. There is also a good amount of sarcasm and humor in the story, making me literally laugh out loud in a few parts. The main supporting character, Jericho Barrons, is a successful mystery. By that, I mean that the author does a respectable job of making him appealing and acceptable as an almost-lead character without giving away too much of his background... or really much of anything about him other than his vast financial wealth. Usually by the end of a book, even the starter book in a series, the lead male character (or soon-to-be at least) will have been at least partially vetted and presented for reader approval. Barrons is nearly as much of a mystery at the end of the story as he is when we first meet him. Of course, some clues are inevitably dropped in the telling, but nothing that is too fast or too much... just enough to keep us speculating.
Darkfever, being a starter novel for the multi-book Fever series, is laid out well with good plot definition and pace, sporting an enjoyably motley cast of allies and baddies (ok, mostly baddies... of the fae variety). It is entertaining and light enough for casual reading, with the promise of more intense and riveting developments in later installments. I'm looking forward to getting started on number two in the series, Bloodfever.
Hang on to your hats! This book is infinitely quotable, so I pared it down to only eight. *grin*
My philosophy is pretty simple - any day nobody's trying to kill me is a good day in my book.
Oh, the bloom of immortal youth...
We were going to live forever. Thirty was a million light-years away. Forty wasn't even in the same galaxy. Death? Ha. Death happened to really old people.
Why books will always be better than the movies made from them...
I love books, by the way, way more than movies. Movies tell you what to think. A good book lets you choose a few thoughts for yourself. Movies show you the pink house. A good book tells you there's a pink house and lets you paint some of the finishing touches, maybe choose the roof style, park your car out front.
In Gaellic, a rose is not just a rose...
"'Dubh' is 'do'?" I was incredulous. It was no wonder I hadn't been able to find the stupid word. "Should I be calling all pubs 'poos'?"
On the perils of philosophy...
I'm a bottom-line girl. I barely managed Cs in my college philosophy courses. When I tried to read Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness, I developed an unshakable case of narcolepsy that attacked every two to three paragraphs, resulting in deep, coma-like fits of sleep.
Heroes are over-rated.
Peraonally, I'd never had any desire to save the world. Decorate it? Yes. Save it? No.
The sad reality of the "entitlement generation" (EG)...
The EG is made up of kids who believe they deserve the best of everything by mere virtue of having been born, and if parents don't arm them with every possible advantage, they are condemning their own children to a life of ostracism and failure. Raised by computer games, satellite TV, the Internet, and the latest greatest electronic device - while their parents are off slaving away to afford them all - most of the EG believe if there's something wrong with them, it's not their fault; their parents screwed them up, probably by being away too much. It's a vicious little catch-22 for the parents any way you look at it.
On the value of playing "hard to get"...
Distinguish yourself, my mom had told Alina and me, in an age where girls often make themselves too available to boys, by making him work a little for your attention. He'll think he's won a prize when he gets it, and he'll work that much harder to keep it. Boys turn into men and men put a premium on what's hardest to get.
If you like Darkfever of The Fever series...
If you enjoyed Darkfever, you may also like the the Cassandra Palmer series (starting with Touch the Dark) by Karen Chance. Cassie shares the same "it's a good day when no one is trying to kill me" philosophy, and also frequently finds herself in amusing-yet-dangerous situations where she has to use her wits and still-developing special skills to prevail. Both are more urban fantasy than paranormal romance, and both focus on a central young strong female character who is instrumentally necessary in solving some big world-wide crisis.
You may also enjoy A History of Witches, the first novel in the new All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness and the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Chronicles series (starting with Dead Until Dark) by Charlaine Harris. Both of these are also first-person narratives from a female heroine's perspective, and both are also somewhat slower paced stories.
This was a fun read. It probably won't ever be one of my go-to favorites for a rainy day or a nice cozy fireside read, but it was an entertaining and effective series starter. The stage is set, the characters have been introduced, and all that remains is for the real action to begin. Give this one and Bloodfever, the second book in the Fever series, a try and see what you think!