Karen Marie Moning
Published 2007 384 pages
Reviewed by Ania Tyburska
Summary (from the book jacket)
MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman.
Or so she thinks... until something extraordinary happens.
When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae...
It is a rare occasion that I pick up the next volume in the series directly after I finished the first part. And here I am, half into Bloodfever, that I laid aside in order to write the review of Darkfever, before the two books get involuntarily mixed in my brain. So let me just tell you. The Fever series is seriously addicting.
But do not let me get ahead of myself. A review should have a structure, so here comes a quick summary of the story so far. Darkfever is narrated by MacKayla Lane, Mac for short, a wholesome Georgia girl, recently uprooted to Dublin. As is mostly the case in the urban fantasy, Mac is not your garden variety human being. She is a sidhe- seer, a rare breed of people, who are able to recognise faeries in their true form. Darkfever follows her first encounters with the supernatural world and the sad realisation that the life that she knew is simply lost for good.
Soon after coming to Ireland, Mac meets Jericho Barrons and he becames her unofficial guide to everything otherworldly. Using the book's description Barrons is arrogant and cold. He's also wealthy, strong, brilliant and a walking enigma. Don't we just love those mysterious, detached types? Well, according to Mac, she doesn't and she spends most of the book denying the attraction. Never the less, if you hope for some hot, steamy action, you won't be dissappointed. It comes but in the person of death-by-sex fae prince, who by all normal standards is a rapist, so be ready for some very mixed feelings in this dimension.
There is another thing that bothers me in Darkfever, apart from the manga- esque (woman forced to feel arousal) approach to erotism. Mac is, by her own description, a native Georgia girl, blond, tanned and cherishing simple pleasures. Good Christian and a waitress. Substitute Georgia with Louisiana, does that description remind you of someone? I have nothing against heroines channeling Sookie Stackhouse, who is by far, one of my favourite fantasy characters, but the simmilarities become overwhelming at times. Mac has the same penchant for blaming herself for events that were by all accounts orchastrated by someone else and also ends up in the situation where she must kill or be killed and of course is all teared up because of that. This whole motive of trying to apply good, Christian values to the newly brutalised world has already been written and worded better.
Fortunately the decorations are so very different from the Deep South. I love the rain-drenched Dublin, cozy pubs and weird communities. What I love the most is Barron's bookshop, which reminds me of a poshed up version of Magic Box from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ah yes, vampires. They very much exsist in Fever's universe, although they have a secondary importance to the story. The whole focus is on faeries and how they are trying to slowly colonise our world. On the brighter side, they come in many shapes, sometimes much more frightening than your avarage bloodsucker.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this book, is that it doesn't sell everything at once. The reader learns the new world along with Mac and there are no enlightening conversations, that always make me think that the writer must have a really low opinion of his reader's intellect, if he or she must spell everything out. Given, Mac suffers sometimes from a mild case of TSTL, but she is aware of that affliction so I could forgive her for not being able to deduse some clues. Also the story is narrated from some point in the future, where Mac knows much more and makes numerous comments on facts that are going to be revealed on a later stage in the story, so I had a distinct feeling that the whole inrigue is thoroughly thought through.
Darkfever is not a revelation, but a decent begining to a new series, one that I cannot wait to finish. Sometimes that is worth more than an extraordinary, standalone book. I want to know more about Barrons, where is the missing dark object and where does the strange elderly beauty, Fiona, fit in. I love this feeling that the story unfolds in front of you and leads to a clear ending, not a stupid cliffhanger. I hope I won't be disappointed by the next volume of the series.
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