Sparrow's Reviews > Darkfever

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
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's review
May 18, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: reviewed, monsters
Recommended to Sparrow by: flannery and aileen
Read from May 29 to June 01, 2011

The thing I never get over, no matter how much I dye my hair, is how it changes my personality every time. When my hair was its natural brown, I was innocent and pious. When my hair was purple, I forgot all about my upbringing and became angsty and wild. When I shaved my head, I became a lesbian. When I went back to brown hair, I became bookish and respectable. Then, when I was blond, I mostly thought about clothes and sex with men. Somebody should do some kind of test on the physiological reason for this. Okay, I’m obviously a little annoyed about the hair thing anyway, so yes, this book managed to hit a lot of pet peeves of mine.

No no, you’ll say, she was still the same girl when she dyed her hair, but it was SUCH A BIG DEAL! And it symbolized her change into badass fairy slayer. Annoying. I mean, there aren’t that many substantive things that I care about it this book, admittedly, so this review is really going to focus on the petty stuff that stood out to me. The hair in this book is so annoying.

It’s different to me when a story is Buffy, and it’s a girl who is legitimately interested in clothes and hilarious and badass, and not freaking annoying. This girl, though . . . ugh. A blemish on the name of “girl.” Sheesh, what bothered me so much about his girl? Okay, here’s a thing. The book is from the first-person POV, and I just found it unbelievable. She both seemed to have perspective about how ridiculous she was and want to talk about her life from within that ridiculous perspective ad infinitum. Like, she was always breaking in and saying, “Later, I would learn how truly ridiculous I was . . .” or “I have no idea why I did that.” Okay, you need to be more present in the first-person. You can’t be so removed from first-person that there’s all this narrator dissonance from you being so freaking wise now that you can’t understand who you were then. It’s annoying. I’m the one who wants to know the things that you’re hinting at and not telling me. It doesn’t make me feel suspense for you to dodge your own topics, it makes me not trust you. Just don’t talk about it at all if you don’t want to and tell your freaking story. I felt like Moning couldn’t decide whether young, silly Mac was telling the story or old, battle-worn Mac was telling the story. Maybe Bridesmaids has ruined me on idiot girls. How shall I move forward in my post-Bridesmaids life?!

And then Barrons. I kept thinking that Barrons would be a transitory annoying character and she would meet some really charming guy, who I actually wanted to read about, later. I was waiting for the Officer Rhoades in this story, if I’m going to keep comparing this to Bridesmaids in my head. Barrons was so Jon Hamm. But a law professor. I think I will always have a reaction to people who answer a question with a question after too many of those experiences in law school. Just say, “I don’t know,” or “I’m not going to tell you that.” BUT if you’re writing a book, don’t set up whole pages of conversations just to tell me nothing! Was there supposed to be sexual tension in that? Because I just felt like I was in Family Law.

So, back to the hair thing. When I bleached my hair blond, I got two very specific reactions from people. One, I completely understood; the other was shockingly freakish. The first was that it took a lot longer to make friends with girls I really respected if they hadn’t known me with brown hair. The second was that guys were very aggressive. Much more aggressive than when I have brown hair. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my blond hair, and I’ll probably go back to blond at some point, but the whole experience made me annoyed with humans.

The other experience that is making me extra bitter about this book is last season of The Bachelor. Yes, I’ve been watching The Bachelor again, so sue me. Anyway, there was this girl, Emily, who was basically Mac 1.0:

Emily Maynard's show photo - blonde, dreamy-eyed, Southern

And then there was this other girl, Chantal, who was just a normal girl (except, you know, she was on The Bachelor):

Chantel O'Brien's show photo - dark features, not stick-insect, normal girl

And, of course, he goes for the blond girl. She had a tragic past and talked with a soft, southern accent, and, really, she seemed great and totally won the girl contest, if there’s a girl contest. But, you know none of those things are who a person is on a daily basis. So, now they’re broken up because she has a temper and swears like a sailor in real life, and her hair isn’t really blond and she has caps on her teeth (I think). Anyway, I think Mac’s kind of the same. There’s nothing to her, and there’s always something interesting to a human, blond or not. Or, maybe not, but there should be something interesting if I'm going to read about somebody. I know she loved her sister, but that’s not really a thing that makes somebody a person. I feel like this book was written by a brunette girl who thinks all blond girls are dumb. That’s not that different to me than a guy who thinks the blond girl is the dream girl. I get why we are prejudiced against girls who keep their hair perfect and blond - we think, like Mac, they've got a man-eating agenda. That seems as wrong to me as the dream-girl fantasy. Now, on this season of The Bachelorette all the guys are talking about how they wish the bachelorette was Emily. I guess it’s because men are idiots. Maybe just humans are idiots, I don’t know.

This book is not for me, but it does surprise me that so many girls who have so much shit to talk about Twilight don’t have a problem with this book. Is it because she’s a slayer and she’s out for blood, while Bella’s the mediator? It kind of freaks me out if that’s why. Mac’s whole single-minded campaign of revenge wasn’t really compelling to me. I mean, she says she’s not interested in helping anybody else, but she just wants to kill this one dude? That just seems dumb to me. Not that I don’t think a person would have moments of feeling like that, but, then, maybe, a person would think, “Well, that’s not going to really get me anywhere,” and come up with a better plan.

I’m not going to continue with this series. When I read Wicked Lovely, I thought I didn’t care for the fairy thing because it was too much after having just finished all the Twilights. It was like when you’re a kid and you’ve just eaten too many jelly beans at a sleepover and now you want to puke. They were all fun until that last handful. I kind of felt the same way about this book, though, so maybe I’m just not into the fairy thing. There aren’t enough boundaries with the fairy world. Like, you’re going to give me vampires and fairies?! No, choose a mythology and stick with it. I don’t like it when there’s too much of a mish-mash of different species. It seems sloppy.

I wouldn’t say it’s, like, bad to like this series, obviously. I like Twilight myself and don't think it's bad to like it. I just don’t get this one. The pages didn’t fly for me, and I didn’t like any of the characters. Nobody was funny, unless I was supposed to be laughing at all of them, which is just mean. Time for a real break from fantasy, until I change book-moods again. I'll go read some Ian McEwan, or something, so I can feel better about humans.
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05/29 page 52
17.0% "BANDWAGON!!!!" 6 comments
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Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

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message 1: by Kay (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kay I liked this book, mainly because I like the main character and it's set in Ireland. Maybe a "B" in the paranormal series. Not as good as Patricia Brigg's series, but not ridiculous as so many are to me.

Sparrow I've heard good things. It was up for a read with the bodice-rippers, but I'll probably read it anyway. I want to get through the books I own first. The library has it for download on audio, though, and I'm considering that.

I'm not finding Patricia Brigg, but the search engine might just be messing up. What series is that?

Sparrow That's what I was worried about. I'm glad I didn't get it, then.

message 4: by Cassy (last edited May 20, 2011 01:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cassy I think Kay meant Briggs' Moon Called.

Sparrow Ah, it only came up with the graphic novel version when I searched. Thanks, Cassy!

message 6: by Kay (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kay Yes, her Mercy Thompson series, and also the Alpha and Omega Series.

Flannery You haven't finished this yet? Come on, everybody's doing it!

Sparrow haha! Yeah, I'm getting through it. I'm just off my game lately. Books have been really put-down-able, so I've been compensating by filling everyone's inboxes with reviews. I got a comment about it tonight from an IRL friend, though, so time to find a different outlet.

message 9: by Kat Kennedy (last edited May 30, 2011 10:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kat Kennedy Oh, let Meredith read it in her own time! Not everyone can be absorbed by this book's crack-like qualities. There has to be a small percentage of people out their who are naturally resistant. When we're all zombies, marching through the streets Moning (Ka-ching), "BRAINS!!!!" Meredith will probably be one of the few immune members of the human race, scrimping and struggling to survive against our collective, all-consuming hunger.

But at least we'll have Barrons.

Sparrow Not really . . . but I figured it was probably as good as Soulless to someone who was more objective? I was wavering between two and three, but I give a lot of books I really hate two, so I didn't want to lump this in with those. I felt more . . . meh.

Sparrow Well, I enjoyed it a lot less than Soulless, but I enjoyed Soulless, so it's not a total insult. It must have been those shots they were giving out at the library the other day.

Cassy The big question: are you going to continue the series?!?

I think book 1 and 2 have to be endured, but the rest are great. Then again, if Barrons does not intrigue you in the slightest, it's probably time to stop.

Sparrow I think I'm going to quit. I thought Barrons was really annoying and a little creepy. I didn't even realize he was supposed to be attractive until Kat made that comment. I'm obviously off my romance game.

You guys should hang out with law student guys more if you think that guy is hot. They will harass and look darkly at you all you want.

message 14: by Ademption (new)

Ademption Meredith wrote: "You guys should hang out with law student guys more if you think that guy is hot. They will harass and look darkly at you all you want."

I don't harass, but I do tend to look darkly at everyone until summer break.

Kat Kennedy Oh, I apologize Meredith, for making you think you were supposed to like Barrons. No. He's an asshole in the first...well, every book.

There's no use reading a series you don't enjoy! Enjoy your antibodies! I'm coming to eat your brains first!

Sparrow Evan wrote: "I don't harass, but I do tend to look darkly at everyone until summer break."

And respond to a question with a question? You know you do it. Maybe that's more law professors, but I don't think law students are immune.

Kat wrote: "Oh, I apologize Meredith, for making you think you were supposed to like Barrons. No. He's an asshole in the first...well, every book.

There's no use reading a series you don't enjoy! Enjoy you..."

hahaha! No, it just filled me with dread to think that eventually I am supposed to like Barrons. I usually have a pretty good radar for first-impression mistakes in genre books, I think, but I was shielding myself from the truth here. Asshole with a heart of gold? Not for me.

Sparrow Exactly! I didn't like ANYBODY in this book. But, I don't think the one being annoying justifies the other one being annoying.

message 18: by trivialchemy (new)

trivialchemy I haven't watched TV in many years, so I'm deeply ignorant about this sort of thing, but is it correct that in the show "The Bachelor," the women basically compete for the affections of a man in some sort of televised format? I think I saw about 5 minutes of this show in a cafeteria a few days ago (or some facsimile of that show), and it was profoundly disturbing to me. Seriously, just thinking about what was going on filled me with more anxiety than thoughts of the holocaust.

Can you explain the appeal? What are we supposed to be enjoying when we watch that show? Is it not humiliating to the women? I would think that being in pornography would be less degrading -- more empowering -- than being on a show like that.

Sparrow The Bachelor is where women compete for a man and the Bachelorette is where men compete for a woman. Bachelor Pad is really the best version because it gets all of the craziest people, and a few nice people, from past seasons of the show, together in one house and they have to compete at things like kissing contests and twister to go on dates and win roses. It's really amazing.

So, hmmmm. Do you like melodrama? I really like melodrama. I think much of entertainment, even outside of reality TV is about women competing for the affections of men or men competing for the affections of women, but pretending not to. It's kind of refreshing to watch people openly admit that they'd like to not be alone anymore. It is also really interesting to me to see how a lot of different people approach relationships. It is an almost scientific study of relationships.

Also, a lot of them are probably clinically insane, but there is still something sympathetic about the insane ones, so that is compelling. And it is compelling to watch the other contestants deal with the insane person (usually there's only one, maybe two). There is probably a humiliating factor in anyone admitting that they are alone and don't want to be anymore, and there is probably a humiliating factor to reality TV in general, but I'm not sure I think it is humiliating for valid reasons. It used to really bother me to think about the show, but I also used to think that it was humiliating for people to admit they wanted to get married. That seems pretty nonsensical, though, right?

I was talking to a friend last night and she was saying that it's her theory that, for the most part, women approach relationships from an almost scientific perspective - studying them, picking them apart, and viewing them as things to develop and build - while many men are more instinctual about relationships, and see them more as something that happens or doesn't happen, regardless of outside influence. Whether this is true or not as a male/female thing, I think that many women, including myself, think that it is interesting to watch relationships and figure them out, and the Bachelor/ette is fascinating for that.

message 20: by trivialchemy (new)

trivialchemy Sorry for not answering this. I've been doing this thing lately where I don't have time for Goodreads, but it's been so long that I've had time that I want to pretend I have time. So I'll jump in somewhere and get off one inflammatory shotgun question and then not ever come back to follow-up, defend or disavow.

In any case, here I do get the sense that my question was somewhat ill-posed and possibly antagonistic (not necessarily my intention) but you're a civil gal and you gave me a civil response anyway.

To the point, I understand the puzzle principle you've suggested in your final paragraph. I guess you could liken it to the appeal of playing a matchmaker. I've noticed that particularly women in established relationships enjoy the exercise of trying to predict who would make a good romantic partner for whom. It's a sort of social detective work; pick up the cues of people's romantic intentions, desires and compatibilities, and match them up to those attributes in someone else according to a game of ineffable rules.

However, I guess that clinical explanation of the appeal doesn't manage to ease my very serious discomfort. I just get the sense that something sacred is being violated. Maybe I'm more old-fashioned than I think.

My main objection to the humiliation in the show is that your defense, "it's kind of refreshing to watch people openly admit that they'd like to not be alone anymore" doesn't seem to apply here. I mean, sure, it would be refreshing if over beers one of my close friends admitted he didn't want to be alone anymore. But my appreciation of that gesture would be inextricably tied to the intimacy of our own relationship. Similarly, it might be refreshing for a soldier to admit to his wife that he has grown weary of war; but to lie down in a fight to rest? That would humiliate him before everyone.

Maybe the soldier analogy seems non-sequitur but I'm trying to get at something that feels very important regarding the modern tendency to pointedly ignore the dissolution of the public/private barrier. I think this is particularly problematic in television. Cues and activities should not yield to us meaning completely devoid of context. It is pathological to view proceedings in public as though they were a private, intimate enterprise, because the rules in each situation should be so profoundly different. Confusing them is autistic.

This disordered state of affairs reminds me of obsession over the private lives of celebrities. It has been hypothesized by clinicians that the irrational attachment to celebrities and interest in the minutiae of their daily affairs is caused when people mentally place celebrities into an ersatz family category. Every once in a while you'll hear about someone being arrested breaking into Angelina Jolie's bathroom to find out what color toothbrush she uses, or some such. What has happened here is that this individual's sense of what exists publicly and what privately has completely broken down.

This also strikes me as the salient disorder in The Bachelor discussion. It's not unique to this show, of course; emotional attachment to any TV character is in a very real sense psychotic, yet it happens all the time. But at least when shows pay lip service to the art of storytelling, what you've created is nothing worse than any fictive character. In this show, however, you've moved a private life into a plastic public crate and ask it to be treated as individual pathos. I can't come to terms with that.

message 21: by trivialchemy (new)

trivialchemy Wow that was long. I'm surprised this issue disturbs me as much as it does. Cursory replies pre-emptively forgiven.

message 22: by Sparrow (last edited Jun 11, 2011 09:30AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sparrow Well, I think I do disagree with your basic point, though - that some activities are inherently private and others are inherently public. My theory, instead, (and I have no real evidence to back this up, other than the very fact that reality TV exists and doesn't involve slaves as far as I know) is that some people are private and others are not. I, honestly, don't think it is disordered for someone else to show on public TV what I wouldn't show, and I don't really think it's disordered for me to watch what I wouldn't show. Not that you were, like, accusing me of that, or anything. I just think the one implies the other.

I think people are really different, and while it would be my worst nightmare to have a public life, I do have my own version of that on goodreads. I'll tell semi-personal, or very personal, stories about my life, and to me it's not giving up my human dignity to do that. In some ways that's really different than being on the Bachelorette or the Real Houswives, or other reality TV shows, but in other ways it's kind of the same. People draw their lines at different places, and that doesn't seem bad to me. I think people are really interesting. Even your example about a soldier not fighting any more - I think that laying down arms in battle could have a lot of dignity, if the right person did it for the right motives.

Someone was talking last night about how trashy the Bachelorette is. I have to think more about whether I even think it's actually trashy. Maybe trashy in terms of turning relationships into a competition and because of the really cruel people who go on those shows, but that doesn't seem so far from reality either to me. I think the matchmaker analogy with the Bachelorette is a really good one. And there is a certain satisfaction in guessing the outcome. I'd imagine it's similar to picking brackets in sports. Is that what it's called? Brackets? Anyway, and then for the single gal, there's always that reassuring (depressing?) confirmation that guys are the same everywhere, and you're not the only one who gets burned.

No worries about replying whenever, or not replying. I was super busy all week, too, but I have this morning off, so perfect timing.

new_user No, choose a mythology and stick with it. I don’t like it when there’s too much of a mish-mash of different species. It seems sloppy.

Ah, yes, I usually don't like this in urban fantasies either. The more mythologies thrown in, the less each is developed. There are simply not enough pages. It also demands more suspension of disbelief. It's also a little indulgent on the part of the author, I suppose. "Oh, that's cool, and that's cool too." Then again, best not limit a writer.

Sparrow True. And I think it appeals to people who really like fantasy and world building for its own sake. I more intended to say it doesn't appeal to me than that people shouldn't do it.

message 25: by Kiki (new) - added it

Kiki Ok but the hair thing is an actual legitimate phenomenon that should be studied. I went from brown hair to orange to red to black to bright blue to purple, cutting and growing and braiding and shaving along the way, and I went through a rollercoaster of personalities that got me a weird reputation as "the hippie-ish, worldly one". It was like trying on a different head each time. Now my hair is short and black and I feel radical. Yeah, fight the power!

Can we get some sort of funding to study this for real?

Sparrow Anyone who has experienced this should put in money to make it happen! It is so ridiculous! I have to say that my most extreme experiences were shaved head and blonde. People have such severe associations with those two.

message 27: by Ademption (new)

Ademption Sparrow wrote: "Evan wrote: "I don't harass, but I do tend to look darkly at everyone until summer break."

And respond to a question with a question? You know you do it. Maybe that's more law professors, but I ..."

Nah, I dislike when I'm peppered with questions instead of ever getting an answer. I just go silent or deflect with other statements if it is adversarial, or say "I don't know, but I'll find out" when it isn't adversarial. Silence tends to generally freak out North Americans. And some people respect the honest "I dunno," but more often people are just surprised when I say it.

Sparrow Ugh, when I first started working at the firm I work at now, my supervising attorney would send me emails saying, "I'm asking this as a pedagogical question . . ." It made me want to punch her in the face.

message 29: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Sparrow wrote: "Ugh, when I first started working at the firm I work at now, my supervising attorney would send me emails saying, "I'm asking this as a pedagogical question . . ." It made me want to punch her in ..."

Is there a point of job security at which you can in fact punch her in the face?

Kelly H. (Maybedog) Oh thank god. I thought I was the only one.

Thanks for the review that reminded me why I hated this book.

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