Christine: This is the first of another feature where we’ll be focusing on the “adult” part of young adult by reviewing and recommending series or stand alone books that bookstores shelf in sections other than YA or Children’s.
And we’re going to start it with the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. Yay!
Katie: As adult books go, this series is easily one of my favorites. It’s fantasy and philosophy, romance and adventure, and equal parts frivolous and gut wrenching- all things it’s hard for me to find in any book, nonetheless one I think is mistakenly put in the romance section.
Christine: Honestly, I was surprised at the lack of romance, especially since I’ve read a couple of Karen’s Highlander series. But I have to agree, it has a little bit of everything, which is what makes it so great.
Katie: I guess since we love it so much, we should probably tell them what it’s about, aside from AWESOME, huh?
Christine: You mean us saying “You must read this now” isn’t enough? …Oh, alright. Darkfever is the first book in the series. At the beginning, you meet MacKayla Lane. She’s an uncomplicated 23 year old girl from Georgia who likes pink, bartends, still lives with her parents, and loves her sister. When she finds out that her sister, Alina, has been murdered in Ireland, she sets out to find the killer. But while hunting down clues, MacKayla (or Mac as she insists) is lead into a world she never knew existed. One where she quickly learns everything is not what it seems, especially when dealing with the Fae.
Katie: I think it’s important to note that we’re not dealing with the typical Fae we see in the YA books we’ve been reading lately. These are aliens in the truest sense of the word. Moning delves into the heart of the oldest Celtic lore surround the Fae as the Old People, perhaps the first race on earth who are are omniscient and omnipotent. They can live forever and up until recently, could move freely through time. While technically the Seelie are nicer than the Unseelie, historically speaking they’d be just as likely to inflict eternal misery on a human as their counterparts. As is the way of things that are bad for us, the Fae are also irresistible, tempting even the strongest to give up their will and submit to their most primal urges. A fact that Mac, who stumbles into the realization that she’s a Sidhe-Seer (Sidhe is another word for the Fae), nearly learns the very, very hard way.
Christine: Besides the Fae, we’re also introduced to Jericho Barrons, the owner of a bookstore that Mac comes across one day. No one’s really sure what he is, but he’s definitely not entirely human. And his interest in Mac almost borders on obsessive, especially when he realizes she can lead him to the Sinsar Dubh, which is a powerful Sidhe Dark Book.
Katie: His male counterpart and nemesis is V’Lane, a Seelie Prince whose mere presence essentially puts mortals in heat to the extent that Mac calls him a “Death-by-Sex” Fae. He claims to be a good guy, or at least better than Barrons, but he too wants Mac to find the Dark Book, and as a one-of-a-kind, she’s the only one who has a chance of doing it. Both Barrons and V’Lane are the quintessential alpha males and are both out to use and help Mac. Her problem is it’s not always apparent when the helping ends and the using begins.
Christine: And you would think with such great male alphas, the steamy scenes would be abundant. But it took me until Faefever to see Mac with either guy because you’re still figuring things out about them, going back and forth on who to trust, just like Mac does. Let me reiterate that this is not a romance series. The adventure, suspense, cliffhanger endings and characterization make it so much more. MacKayla’s growth from that uncomplicated girl to a badass Sidhe-Seer is fascinating and very convincing. You want her to survive. You want her to find Alina’s murderer and bring him (or her) to justice and then hunt down the Sinsar Dubh and save the world.
Katie: I love Barrons. I love his huge garage full of super-charged cars. I love the feel of Dublin throughout the books. But more than anything else I love Mac. I’m hard on female characters and she’s easily one of my favorites of all time. She starts off as the carefree college girl and evolves into a badass who learns exactly who and what she is and what she’s capable. Perhaps some of the most horrible things (sans death) I’ve seen a character go through happen to her and yet she can still stand up and fight back. Her devastation over her sister’s death breaks my heart, and as a sister myself, I know I’d do everything in my power to avenge her death too. Whatever feelings she may develop for either the enigmatic Barrons or the, in my opinion, smarmy V’Lane, are pushed aside because of her need to find Alina’s killer, her need to preserve her crumbling world, and her bone deep resolution that she will have a world to come back to that she can decorate in rainbows when it’s all over. I admire her and I respect her, and that is quite the feat.
Christine: I have to admit to loving Barrons as well. The way he acts in Darkfever was unnecessarily rude, in my opinion, but as the books continued, I could see flashes of a person who feels things beyond where the next Sidhe artifiact is located. And what he does for Mac in Dreamfever… on one hand, you could argue that he did it for selfish reasons, but I choose to think he did it because he truly cares for her. There are so many questions we want answered in Shadowfever, the fifth and last book in the series. I hope one of those answers will deal with Barrons’ past because I need to know everything about him. What makes him tick, what he actually feels toward Mac, and most importantly, what he is.
Katie: Barrons never crossed over the line to be unforgivable for me. He’s been honestly dishonest with her from the start, and while his methods are draconian, more than anything they are exactly what Mac needs. He might omit the truth but he’s taught her how to survive to fulfill her mission and his, which I’m willing to bet are closer to one another than either suspects. Mac and Barron’s dynamic, while riddled with sexual tension, is complex and utterly fascinating. She routinely gets on her Southern-belle manner’s high horse about right and wrong, and he knocks her back down again. When it comes to life or death- of yourself, of your race, of your world; methodology doesn’t matter. As Barrons says, he’s the one that won’t ever let her die, and no one else can say the same. I hope they get a happily ever after, though I’m hard pressed to imagine it. Perhaps that’s why Shadowfever is going to be twice as long as all the other books.
Christine: The ending of Dreamfever scares me, though. I’m not sure how Karen is going to pull off a happy ever after, if what I think happened actually happened. But that doesn’t mean everything won’t work out. I didn’t see Mac coming out alright after Faefever, but she’s still around and fighting. The other major thing that I’ll be happy to learn is who killed Alina. Once and for all, knowing without a doubt, the answer to the question that started this whole thing.
Katie: All I know is it won’t be what I expect. Nothing about the Fever series has been, and that’s what has me itching for January 18, 2011 to be around the bend. I just want closure. For Barrons, for Mac and for all her long suffering readers!
So it is now all of your jobs to go out and read the first few books so that when the final installment is released you can come back here and read our review of it without being spoiled. For those of you who know it, comment below and tell us what you loved about it and don’t forget to tell Karen Marie Moning the same @karenmmoning. For those that haven’t, who are your favorite adult female leads and what draws you to them?
The Fever Series, in order:
ShadowFever (coming January 2011)
If you want to read an excerpt, the first chapter of DarkFever is available on Moning’s website or on Random House’s website (sans Prologue).