Sarah (saz101)'s Reviews > Darkfever

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
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Aug 04, 13

bookshelves: urban-fantasy
Read from January 25 to February 25, 2012, read count: 1

Darkfever lives up to its name. It's dark, disturbing, and, once making it past some initial issues, I read it compulsively, with a feverish intensity. Karen Moning creates a vividly imagined world, where monsters walk city streets, hidden in plain sight, and she's here to tell you that if you see faeries in the bottom of your garden? Run like hell.

After MacKayla Lane's sister is brutally murdered in Dublin, far from her home in Georgia, Mac's happy, sheltered world falls apart. Her mother and father are crippled by grief, and the Dublin police have given up hope on the case. Naive and determined, Mac travels to Dublin to do what the police can't or won't do: find Alina's murderer. She quickly finds herself out of her depth, and rescued by Jericho Barrons. A man as frightening and dangerous as the monsters hiding in Dublin's shadows. Monsters straight from the folklore Ireland is famous for. Mac discovers she has secrets not even she knew, and Dublin's monsters are not half as benign as the fairytales claim...

Mac... Like the Burger
Dark, twisty, and seriously sexy, I wound up being utterly enthralled by Darkfever, but it took me a good third of the book to get to that point. A slow start was a small part, but my major stumbling block was rather singular: Mac. Our charming Southern belle is blonde, busty, and her fashion icon seems to be Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods. Think pink. Despite the plastic sorority-girl persona, Mac is highly intelligent, but at first her narration grated at me, and her voice came off as patronizing. Her blend of naïveté and self assurance made it hard for me to connect with her, yet she's worth sticking with. The POINT is that Mac is naive and sheltered, and as she's forced to shed her Barbie facade, look her world in the eyes, and confront an uglier side to it than she ever thought to imagine, she reluctantly changes. She grows. Her optimism gives way to a darker version of herself, and her naïveté crystallizes and cracks into a more brittle, jaded outlook.

There is real character growth over the course of this book, for better or worse, and despite my earlier issues, I wound up quite liking the brunette-verses-blonde, dark-verses-rainbow version of MacKayla Lane. The naiveté and innocence became endearing, as it becomes clear she's clinging to it in a desperate attempt to hang on to a tiny part of herself, after everything she's lost. While certainly no action-chick, Mac is getting there by the end of Darkfever, and I saw shades of Kristy Swanson-esque Buffy in her: reluctant, smart-mouthed heroine, who's just as likely to kill the bad guy as she is to cry over a broken nail (hey, she even has the sickness and cramps when she gets too close to the bad guys!).

A Riddle Wrapped In A Mystery...
One of the aspects of Darkfever I enjoyed immensely was the banter between Mac and her mysterious and cryptic rescuer/mentor/bane of her existence, Barrons. I know what you’re thinking, but this is not a love story. It's not a romance. Far from it, though it's fairly clear where this will progress with time. Barrons isn't sweet. He isn't kind. He's compelling, and seriously frightening. He's not sexy or attractive so much as carnal and pure masculine power. To me, Barrons was like watching an accident: a strange cocktail of disturbing and frightening, but compelling in a way that wouldn't allow me to look away.

Sleep With Your Lights On:
Mac's growth, outlook and voice colour and guide us through Darkfever, but the real sparkling star is the world Moning has built within its pages. Vivid, dark and terrifying, the Dublin she's imagined exists alongside our own, its frightening secrets hidden beneath fey glamours, and the simple ability of the human mind to ignore what it can't quite grasp. The imagination that has gone into raising its buildings, paving its streets and populating its darkest corners with walking horrors is immense, and the creativity with which Moning has woven Gaelic folklore and legend in with her own twisted imaginings of the Fae creates something perverse and addictive. Uh, death-by-sex fey, anyone? The monsters in this world—both the fey kind and other—are scary, rattling, and wanting to sleep with the lights on.

The Verdict:
Nothing is as it seems in Darkfever. Not Dublin, not Alina's murder, not the enigmatic, compelling, frankly frightening Jericho Barrons, not even Mac herself. It's certainly not a perfect book, but there's something deeply compelling, if not outright addictive, about Darkfever. While it ends without resolution, and I'm glad I have the rest of the series on-hand, it's certainly not in a dissatisfying way. Dark, twisty, perverse and sexy, Karen Moning has created a world dripping with menace, mystery and danger--one I can't wait to dive back into.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kristin Fabulous review! I really didn't think much of this book for the same reason as you (Mac) but I have the series sitting on my shelf waiting. I kept buying it b/c everyone else loved it so there must be something to it, huh? I'll get to it, eventually...


Sarah (saz101) Thanks Kristin! Mac REALLY annoyed me at first... and some of the writing grated (one of my friends summed it up perfectly, here), but once I kind of got passed it, I was hooked... for all the things that annoyed and grated, I got addicted to it once I really gave it a go. Err... Barrons. MUST KNOW MORE.


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