Shadowfever (and thoughts on the whole Fever series) by Karen Marie Moning
Phew. Picture me whistling right here, because this was one hell of a book, and one hell of a paranormal romance series.
For those of you just joining us, you should probably go back to the first book and start reading there, because this is one of those series that is one big story spread across five books, and the last book is over 500 pages. It was long, sure, but I think I read this book even faster than my #1 Paranormal Romance Boyfriend Book, Lothaire.
Okay, sorry, tangent. For those of you just joining us, MacKayla Lane journeys to Ireland to investigate the brutal murder of her sister and finds out that she’s part of an ancient line of sidhe-seers (people who can see fae) and oh, there are fae, and also one of them is an incredibly sexy prince who kind of goes Edward Cullen over her, then she falls in with an EVEN SEXIER AND MORE MYSTERIOUS bookstore owner named Jericho Barrons. These books are erotic (there’s no other word, I’m sorry, one day I’ll go into why I hate that word, but that’s what it is) even though sex doesn’t appear until the very end of the third book and even then it’s NOT what you’re hoping for. They’re exciting, and they’re well-written. This series has about twenty important characters, more recurring characters, and an incredibly convoluted and complicated plot BUT it’s still easy to follow.
Can you tell I finished this book today? I’m still in gush phase. I JUST COULD NOT WAIT, YOU GUYS.
MacKayla is a terrific character. She’s believable. Throughout the series, she made decisions that, even if I wouldn’t have made them myself, I understood. Even though she starts the series as naive and overly perky, she never once veered into Too Stupid To Live territory.
Barrons … well, I gotta be straight with you. He can be a total asshole. He can be creepy. He is most definitely an alpha dude. If that floats your boat (I say, “Anchors away, Captain!”), then you’ll enjoy it. If you are really NOT into alpha dudes, stay far, far faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrr away because basically every dude in this paranormal world is BRVTAL.
The worldbuilding is terrific. It’s not as seamless and gorgeous as, say, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and there are times when it gets a bit infodumpy, especially in the last book. There’s a few scenes where villains do that whole movie villain thing where they wax their mustaches and say “DON’T YOU WANT TO KNOW EXACTLY HOW BRILLIANT MY EEEEVIL PLAN WAS?” But at the end of the day, Moning did a great job of incorporating fairies (or faeries, I guess) into modern Dublin, and an even better job after something INCREDIBLY SPOLIERY SO I WON’T SAY IT happens.
There are times when the writing is strained, and there are a few metaphors that are just BAD (the peacock who’s lost its feathers and grown claws was a particularly clunky one), and there are points where something SUPER EXCITING happens and there’s a chapter break and some narrative introspection before we pick up the action again, and can I just say, that is a terrible writing device and let’s all send it back to Satan and whatever terrible thriller novels he’s writing in Hell and shipping up to Dan Brown.
Still, I’d say this is a stellar paranormal romance series. There are 600+ Amazon reviews and also a FeverCon and people apparently love this series so much they get Fever-inspired tattoos on their body, so I can say that I am officially late to the game on this one. I’m kind of glad, because I didn’t have to wait a year or more between books, and since the series is really one long story it helps to have a clear memory of what happened in the last book.
On the other hand, her next book isn’t coming out until Halloween. God dammit, what am I supposed to do until then? Someone talk me out of ordering $30 Fever-themed tarot cards.