Published by: Delacorte
Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning
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….
As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands….
So this is one of those series that I liked despite myself. I can still recognize the things that I would not normally like: an overaggressive, ruthless alpha male (actually, many, many alpha males), an annoying narrative technique (Mac has moments when she says stuff from the future as in 'Later he would tell me X and X' even while we've just met Barrons for the first time), and as Kat Kennedy wrote, the sexualization of violence. Mac gets brutalized pretty badly at several points, and that could serve as a trigger so take this into consideration when deciding whether to continue. As Tatiana wrote, it also takes a while for a lot of the plots to be resolved and in the first book, there is not a whole lot of romance; there is the hint, the set-up of it but nothing concrete. (At this point, the sequels have been released so at least you can continue onward to find the fulfillment of that set-up and read past the cliffhangers.)
That being said, I liked this series. A lot. And why am I posting about an adult urban fantasy series on a book blog specializing in young adult literature? (And why am I not doing a ten like/dislike list? Too many books to put into that format). There has been a lot of fanfare over new adult vs. young adult novels, and this one seems to fit the new adult bill. It's not about college, I guess, more about twenty-two-year-old Mac afterward and how she handles herself in the face of grief, but I think that the series would appeals to fans of YA crossover, new adult, and adult urban fantasy novels. It reminded me of Richelle Mead, Charlaine Harris, and Melissa Marr a bit, but don't let that fool you because this series stands well enough on its own.
The good things:
- Excellent world-building. And if you ever get confused, there's a glossary of terms in the back that's even done in Mac's tone of voice and reminds you of how much you/Mac knows up to that point about each creature, etc.
- The characters. And their shadowy motivations. And their histories. The mystery of them all - even Mac, because like with Barrons, you're never really that sure what she is. And she doesn't know, so you can't get pissed at her for that either.
- The stakes. Part of the world-building, I guess, but I loved how the stakes were so high for this series. So many people chasing after the same thing but for different reasons... and all of their reasons were well developed. The author lays out the framework very nicely here (but watch out for spoilers).
- The mix of humor and grief and drama etc.
- Character development. Because Mac changes a lot in this series, and it's heartbreaking but also connects you to her more.
- The romance. I was a bit shocked, when reading the first book, to see how... bad Barrons is with Mac at first. He truly is ruthless. It was like a slap in the face, but it was also very true to his character, so I appreciated that and seeing how their interactions changed over time. How they became very sexual and sensual and heated and yes, they have great chemistry after a while.
I recently finished reading Iced, the first in the Dani O'Malley trilogy, and the sixth book in the Fever series. (Goodreads lists there as being at least ten books, two more for Dani and a couple for Mac and the gang afterward). And I know that this is a series that I will continue to read and watch out for in the coming years. Thanks to Jenny and the other reviewers I've mentioned for making me curious about Mac and Jericho and the Fever world. Definitely did not regret the hours spent :).