Saturday, September 12, 2009

Darkfever

I was excited to start a new paranormal/urban fantasy series (because I am apparently a glutton for punishment), and I got the audiobook of this one because I was in the mood for something gripping to listen to when I work out. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

The premise is this: MacKayla Lane is a young bartender in her early twenties. She lives in the southern U.S., and her sister is studying in Ireland. Because her cell phone isn't working, she misses an urgent message from her sister, and it isn't until after she finds out her sister has been murdered that she accesses the message. When it becomes apparent that the police are giving up on the case, Mac flies to Ireland herself - against the wishes of her parents - determined to discover her sister's murderer and bring him to justice.

What she doesn't realize is that both she and her sister are "Sidhe seers" - and the Sidhe she sees are unseelie in the extreme and are bent on a nefarious plan that threatens the survival of humanity. Her sister was looking for something called a "Sinsar Dubh," Mac learns, and she decides to discover all she can about whatever that is, in the hope of discovering more about the killer.

The plot was interesting and held my attention, for the most part. The Irish setting was well described, particularly the creepy scenes in which Mac is lost in the fog or navigating the forgotten dark areas of the city. Normally I love a first-person narrator, but Mac had an annoying way of skipping over the central action of a scene (important scenes, I might add), and then describing them later, in retrospect. And there was a lot of "I couldn't have known then, but" and "Later I learned" that interrupted the narrative flow unnecessarily - and often served to dispel the tension and sense of mystery.

It was the character of Mac herself, I think, that prevented me from truly enjoying the book. She is incredibly self absorbed. She describes her outfits, her cosmetic products (and their colors, repeatedly), and her lovely body, shapely legs, glossy hair, etc. And her behavior was baffling to me. She forms a partnership with a man who is physically and emotionally abusive, who gives her reason after reason not to trust him - yet when she meets an old woman who clearly has knowledge of the fae world, knowledge that might help her track down her sister's killer, she choses not to pursue it.

Still, I kept listening, and I know many readers who adore this series - so clearly, while it wasn't my cup of tea, it could well be yours. Moning creates an interesting setting where unseelie forces are poised to break through into the human world at any moment, and there are many intriguing questions raised along the way. Some are answered at the end, but others remain to be explored in further volumes of the series.

Books in the Fever series:
1. Darkfever
2. Bloodfever
3. Faefever
4. Dreamfever
5. Shadowfever (forthcoming)

Darkfever (#1 in the Fever series) by Karen Marie Moning; narrated by Joyce Bean (Brilliance Audio, 2006)

Also reviewed at:
Beyond Books: " The foreshadowing sort of hit you over the head with a blunt object and then poked you in the eye to make sure you knew it was there....Don’t get me wrong, I liked Mac a lot and I think the plot is interesting and the writing is decent."
Cubie's Confections: "I fervently hope the rest of the series lives up to the promise of this first book because it truly blew me away- I read it and then downloaded the audiobook because I needed to listen to it too."
Eat. Sleep. Read:  "Moning did a great job of drawing me in right away. Fast paced, witty, suspenseful and completely unpredictable: I couldn't put it down!"
Lissa's Long Yarn: "I tend to like my books to be more self contained. This one felt like it was more of a set up, and full of background information for the rest of the series. So many more questions asked then answered, and I felt like there was very little resolved."
Stacy's Place on Earth: "I got quite a kick out of Mac. She's part Barbie, part fearless spitfire."

13 comments:

  1. I'm sorry the book didn't live up!!

    but to make you happy I've given you a 29 day trip to the spa! All expenses paid!! . . . ok I lied. But I did give you this!!

    http://bookwormbarista.blogspot.com/2009/09/id-like-to-thank-academy_12.html

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  2. I've been wanting to read this series for quite some time. Bummer that you didn't love it!

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  3. Mac grows as the series continues. I didn't love her at first either..but soon she turns into "savage Mac" and her selfish ways go out the window.

    But I loved Barrons from the start, and it sounds like you don't..I have heard that from some.

    Nice review:)

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  4. Thanks, Margaret - I'm excided about the pretend spa. Will they give me a pretend massage?

    Amy - Thanks! It was a bit disappointing, but it's not as if I'm not totally hooked on dozens of series I adore.

    Mandi - I have heard lots of people say they get better and beter. I actually thought Barrons was intriguing, but it annoyed me that he would basically assault Mac (giving her such bad bruises around her ribs that she couldn't even wear her bra the following day), and be so mean to her, not share information, drag her to dangerous places, etc., but she stuck with him. And didn't go after that old woman who obviously could tell her some things that might help. Ack! :-)

    "Savage Mac" sounds interesting - I may have to check out the next one...

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  5. Oh, please try the second book! It was so much better than the first and I am happy that I continued with the series! Mac's self-absorption lessens and even she makes note of that as the series goes on.

    Bloodfever is gripping and funny and I hope you give it a chance!

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  6. Well, Cat, how can I refuse you after you've put all these fantastic books on my list? I will try the second one. And I think I'll read it this time instead of listening. That might make a difference, too. I wasn't overly enthusiastic about the narrator.

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  7. I wasn't that crazy about the author's Highland series so I've avoided picking this up so far. I like the idea of the plot though so I may give it a try.

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  8. I was an established KMM fan from reading her Scottish romances. While I like these books I don't love them like most other people seem to. Let's put it this way. I am glad that I borrow these ones from the library and don't spend my money on them!

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  9. Ladytink - I'd love to hear what you think if you give this one a try.

    Marg - I understand perfectly. In fact, the longer I have worked at the library, the more superfantastic a book has to be for me to actually spend money on it. Although for some reason while I rarely buy books for myself, I'm such a pushover when it comes to buying them for my kids!

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  10. There are so many urban fantasy/paranormal series out there that I think I will give this one a miss for now. I am already reading lots and many more on my shelves to get to!

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  11. Rhinoa - I know just how you feel. I've promised Cat I'll try the next one, so I'll let you know how it goes! :-)

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  12. I had a friend recommend this series to me, because I do love stuff about the Sidhe. I was told beforehand that I'd need to fight through the first and a quarter of the second book before it really got good. So it's on my shelf waiting, and I am determined to give it a go someday :)

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  13. Joanne - There are quite a few series I've come to adore that did start out with a few bumps - it takes time to get things consistently right, after all - and I am also wondering how much the audio book influenced my feelings about this one. I'm curious to read the next one - we'll see how it goes!

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