Quinn's Reviews > Darkfever

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
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Sep 10, 2010

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bookshelves: library-book, urban-fantasy, i-own, series
Read from December 10 to 12, 2010

Darkfever is a perfect example of why I seldom DNF a book, even using the ‘100 page rule’.

I love Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series, so I was really looking forward to finally starting her Fever series, particularly after seeing all the positive talk and reviews over the years. So imagine my surprise to find this, the first installment in the Fever series, less than enjoyable - at least to start with.

Being Urban Fantasy – and this is definitely not Paranormal Romance - Darkfever is written in first-person. This is not my favourite narrative, but it usually doesn’t affect my enjoyment of a book, providing I like or can relate to the protagonist on some level.

And right there was my issue. I did not like MacKayla Lane’s voice at all. She came across as a shallow, superficial, immature, petulant, selfish, self-centered dimwit. I was not able to relate to her sole purpose in life being focused on how good her tan was, and whether the Ice Princess Blush nail polish on her manicure and pedicure was perfectly matched with her baby pink twinset.

I also didn’t like the conversational style of writing, although I must give credit where it is due – the author did mange to effectively portray what a bimbo Mac was. Unfortunately I didn’t appreciate it as it served to annoy me rather than enhance the reading experience.

What I did like, and what kept me reading, was the story being told. The boundry between the Fae and mortal worlds is beginning to crumble and Fae are wreaking havoc. Mac receives a posthumous voicemail message from her recently murdered sister, which sends her on a quest to Dublin in search of something called the Sinsar Dubh.

Once there, it is not long before Mac realizes that her life as she knew it is over. And while this is obviously not good news for Mac, it is great news for the reader. When Mac discovers what she is – a sidhe-seer (one who can see through the glamour cast by the Fae) – and is forced to enlist the help of the mysterious, enigmatic Jericho Barrons to make sense of it, the story really picks up, and Mac is forced to focus on something other than cosmetic choices and color-coordination.

We start to see a transformation in Mac borne by necessity, and we finally get to see that she does have some underlying substance and grit. The world the author created is fascinating and detailed, the storyline tense and riveting, the characters rich and diverse.

Barrons is a fascinating character, and the author did an excellent job of keeping us guessing as to who (or what) he is, and how the reluctant and wary partnership between he and Mac will develop. Definitely a reason to keep going with the series right there.

There was no romance at all in this one, but the author did drop some hints that may or may not amount to something in future books. I’m intrigued by this and by the world created so there is no doubt that I will be continuing this series.

While Mac did not have a complete personality transplant, and we still have references as to whether Revlon will be discontinuing the Iceberry Pink nail polish which perfectly compliments Mac’s short pink silk skirt and clingy pearly top, which perfectly showcase Mac’s toned, sun-kissed legs and full breasts, these manage to become almost amusing rather than irritating, and a book that started off on such shaky ground still manages to get 4 stars (but only just and that's probably too generous!)

While these books have a connection to the Highlander series, it is not necessary to have read them first – although I highly recommend that you do so because that was an excellent series.

Edited to add: Having just finished Bloodfever, a far more enjoyable read for me with a 4 star rating, my thoughts about my original rating for this one being too generous have been vindicated. I am revising the rating to 3 stars with encouragement for readers to continue the series past this book.
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Reading Progress

12/10/2010 page 73
24.0% "I'm really not liking Mac's 'voice' at all. She's coming off as petulant and immature." 12 comments
12/11/2010 page 309
100.0% "From a very shaky start, I ended up enjoying this one." 4 comments

Comments (showing 1-46 of 46) (46 new)

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message 1: by Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* (last edited Dec 12, 2010 01:35AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* Excellent review, Quinn! I've heard a lot about Barrons and look forward to "meeting" him. I will take note about Mac. The way you describe her, as she is in the beginning, doesn't sound like my kinda gal either. The last book won't be out in paperback until August next year, so I'll wait til it gets closer to that time to read them. I understand that book 4 ends on a real cliffhanger.

Hmm...And I think I may need to get the Highlander books now, too. ^_^

Quinn Thanks, Jayne. On reflection, I think I was probably generous in my rating. The first hundred pages or so were 2 star at best, with the rest eventually reaching 4 star. I probably should have rated this a 3. There were still some issues with the writing (the whole "If I knew then what I know" style).

You should definitely read the Highlander series, it is fabulous. Maybe you could squeeze that in while you're waiting for the last book in this series to be released. It does give some good background to the Fever series.

Quinn BTW, Jayne, if you do decide to read the Highlander series, like many people I started with #3 (The Highlander's Touch). The first 2 are apparently not as well written and not really connected to the rest.

message 4: by Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* (last edited Dec 12, 2010 03:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* Thanks, Quinn. I just had a quick glance at the star ratings my GRs friends gave the books (though I haven't read their reviews in detail yet) and I did note that the first one ranged from 2-5 stars. I decided to just order them all.

Quinn Yay! Can't wait to see what you think (when you get to them, of course!). I must admit, I'm curious about the first 2, having not read them myself. Hopefully you'll love them, but if you don't, remember to keep going to at least the third one!

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* The majority of my GRs friends actually gave the first book 4 stars, which is what made me decide to order them all. I won't set my expectations high so I may enjoy it more. ^_^ And I'm a rather generous reviewer so I won't rate a book I haven't yet finished. I have to get back to those books I have "on-hold" next year, actually, like Lord of Scoundrels and The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. ^_^

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Great review, Quinn. I don't care for shallow characters or people, but something about Mac won me over quicker than I would have thought. I think it was her love for her sister and how that motivated her to put up with some truly heinous circumstances.

Quinn Thanks, Danielle. Yes, it was heartbreaking not only that she lost her sister, but also the way in which it happened. I think though, for me, that made her preoccupation with appearance even more grating. I'm looking forward to seeing continued growth in Mac as the series progresses.

MelissaB Great review Quinn! I really enjoyed the first two book then decided to wait until all the books were released before continuing. I am looking forward to finally finishing the series in January after about 5 freaking years of waiting!

message 10: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Great review Quinn. I really enjoyed this first book and I liked Mac, despite her Barbie doll flaws. I think the author really did get her character just right. Mac really does develop in the rest of the series and you will love her by the 4th book for sure.

Love, love, love Barrons. Can't wait to find out what or who he is.

Quinn Thanks, Melissa! I'm so glad that I don't have to endure the agonizing wait between books, especially given the cliffhanger I've heard mentioned. I didn't realize when I started reading this one that the last book comes out in Jan, so I've timed it really well!

Quinn Thanks, AH. I really liked the direction Mac was heading in by the end of this book. I've heard that she keeps getting better and better, so no doubt I'll end up loving her too!

I can't believe Barron's is still such a mystery by the end of the 4th book! I'm really looking forward to spending more time with him!

message 13: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Re Barrons - there seems to be some clues in the highlander series - but I could be mistaken.

The author really has us all hanging, doesn't she?

Quinn What? Really? I've read them, and I didn't pick up on anything yet. Maybe it will come to me in the next books (Then again, probably not. I'm not good at remembering little details from previous books)

message 15: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH The later highlander books - I think. Can't remember which ones. Will be interesting to see how it all ties in by the time we read Shadowfever. I can't wait. There better not be spoiler trolls on the internet that week.

Quinn True, AH. I HATE spoilers, especially in a series like this where the lead-up has spanned multiple books and lengthy waits.

MelissaB Spell of the Highlander had some stuff about the artifacts and the black book. Immortal Highlander had stuff about the Lord Master and how he came to be. The events in Dark Highlander sort of set in motion the black book (and other artifacts) being out in the world again.

message 18: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH I knew someone out there would know all the details. Thx Melissa!

MelissaB I have read the Highlander books many times and I reread then after Darkfever looking for clues :)

Catherine Great review, Quinn. I read this one a few years ago and hated Mac. I never bothered to read on even though I owned book two as well. GR has exposed me to the Fever craze though so I think I might give it another shot.

Quinn Thanks, Melissa! I may have to dig them out and have another read. I remember the black book and the other artifacts, but not the Lord Master.

message 22: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Catherine, a bunch of us are marathoning the fever books starting Jan 1.

Quinn Thanks, Catherine. Yeah, I didn't like her at all at the start, but she did improve a bit by the end. I hear she gets better with each book, so I'll definitely continue on, as I really liked the story she's telling, if not her voice.

Quinn Thanks, Sam! It's great to hear everyone agreeing that they get better :)

Catherine AH wrote: "Catherine, a bunch of us are marathoning the fever books starting Jan 1."

Maybe I'll join you. :)

Catherine Quinn wrote: "Thanks, Catherine. Yeah, I didn't like her at all at the start, but she did improve a bit by the end. I hear she gets better with each book, so I'll definitely continue on, as I really liked the st..."

I'm sad to hear that Moning doesn't plan to write books like the Highlander ones anymore. She likes writing in the Fever style. In other words - no more straight romance books.

Catherine Sam wrote: "Hey, Quinn. Great review :)

Hey, Catherine... I hated them at first too. They get better. LOL."

Thank goodness!

MelissaB Catherine wrote: "Quinn wrote: "Thanks, Catherine. Yeah, I didn't like her at all at the start, but she did improve a bit by the end. I hear she gets better with each book, so I'll definitely continue on, as I reall..."

That makes me both sad and mad :(

Catherine MelissaB wrote: "That makes me both sad and mad :("

Me too. I read it on her FAQ page.

Here's the quote:

Highlander FAQ

FAQ: Will you write another Highlander novel?

I honestly don't know if I can write a straightforward romance in which the story revolves primarily around the romance again. There, I've said it. I know this will disappoint some of my fans but the romance alone wasn't enough to keep my muse happy. I need more than that in the stories I tell. So, if the question is will I ever write a book like my Highlander series again where the primary thrust is: woman meets man, complications ensue, woman loses man, reclaims man and has a HEA, the answer is probably not without a whole lot of other stuff going on, too.

That being said, I may find myself at some point in the future, dying to re-visit the Highlands again and totally in the mood to lose myself in love for no other purpose than love's sake.

I guess the answer is: no plans to write a straightforward Highlander romance right now but I never say never.

Remember, the Keltars figure prominently in the Fever series, and Christian will be getting his own play--just not the way I did it in my Highlander series. I need a little more nitty, gritty reality in his tale. He's becomes quite the complex man.

MelissaB Thanks, I had read that awhile ago. I am still kinda bitter.

Catherine Me too. I read that when I wasn't very impressed by this book. I was crushed that she'd be leaving romance and going to UF only. I really prefer her romances so it was a sad *cough*angry*cough* moment for me.

message 32: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH I agree...I would love to see more of her highlander books. They were a lot of fun to read and a lot of fun to share with friends.

Catherine AH wrote: "I agree...I would love to see more of her highlander books. They were a lot of fun to read and a lot of fun to share with friends."

Me too.

Catherine Sam wrote: "One of my EX-friends called her first highlander book "old-lady-porn." Bitch. LOL."


MelissaB Beyond the Highland Mist wasn't great but from Kiss of the Highlander to Spell they are great.

Old Lady porn? If you don't appreciate Hawk's hotness, maybe SHE has the problem.

Catherine MelissaB wrote: "Beyond the Highland Mist wasn't great but from Kiss of the Highlander to Spell they are great.

Old Lady porn? If you don't appreciate Hawk's hotness, maybe SHE has the problem."

I agree with that. The beginning ones were kind of rough. But Kiss and especially Dark and Immortal were great.

message 37: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Loved those books - Kiss/Dark/Immortal - So good!

message 38: by Buggy (new)

Buggy Thanks for the honest review Quinn, I've been thinking about starting this series but the 1st person narraative, no romance and heavy Urban Fantasy have me nervous. Mercy Thompson was DNF for me and I fear this would be too

Quinn I haven't tried the Mercy Thompson series, Buggy, although I've heard she's great. :/

I've been told by everyone that Mac gets better as the series progresses so I've got the next book on my pile and my fingers crossed!

It was tempting to DNF this one at the start, but I'm glad I kept going as she did improve and the actual story is great.

message 40: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Quinn - The Mercy series is great. I've actually been reading Mercy concurrently with the Alpha and Omega series and it really enhances that reading pleasure. I'd recommend reading the first 2 Mercy books followed by On the Prowl (Alpha and Omega:Briggs) (Inhuman:Wilks) (Buying Trouble:Chance), then Cry Wolf, then back to some Mercy books. Some of her characters are in both series and it makes sense to read it this way.

Mac really does get better - I don't want to spoil - just keep reading. She really does develop as a person and a character. And you are lucky that if you keep reading, the end is near as Shadowfever comes out in January. No long cliffhanger waits for you.

message 41: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH P.S. You need to read On the Prowl before Cry Wolf otherwise, it feels like the first 3 chapters of Cry Wolf are missing.

Quinn Thanks heaps for the advice, AH. I'm definitely going to give the Mercy series a try, so I'll make a note of your recommended reading order. I didn't know the series were connected, but I don't really know much about either.

Yes, I did luck out with my timing on starting the Fever series. I hate cliffhangers because by the time the next book comes out I've usually forgotten what's going on!

Catherine I second the Mercy and Alpha & Omega series rec! I prefer A&O because I like third person and the focus on the relationship, but Mercy's still good and sets up the world and people that are in A&O.

Quinn Thanks, Catherine!

message 45: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Volz I'm almost finished darkfever and it took me a month because I couldn't get into it however only20 pages left I cant wait for bloodfever!

Quinn I'm sure you'll find it worth it in the end, Sarah. They keep getting better and better! It ended up becoming one of my favourite series.

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