Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning (audio)

Book Description:
“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.”

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.  Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.

Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card.

At last, the grand finale - the answers to all our questions!  Who was it that Mac killed at the end of Dreamfever?  Who was the beast?  Will she and Barrons ever kiss and make up and admit they love one another?  What is Barrons, anyway?  Is he even human?  How does Mac get out of the mirrors?  Will she ever see Christian again?  Will Mac ever find out who her mother really is?  The questions could go on and on and yes, they are all answered, although I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get a real clear cut answer about what Barrons really is... 

It's hard to review this book without giving away any spoilers, so this is going to be brief.  Shadowfever picks up right where Dreamfever leaves off.   We suffer with Mac as she realizes who the beast was and who she has killed.  But, she picks up the pieces, becomes stronger and more determined than ever to save the world from the Unseelies, double cross and kill Daroc and harness the power of the Sinsar Dubh and use it to make everything right again.  Not an easy task.

On audio, I enjoyed listening, but this was by far the most complex and wordy of the books in the series.  It's definitely worthy of a re-read (in print) to really get a handle on all the explanations.  Plus, it was so complicated I just need to read it again to get it all straight in my head!  There was a lot of background information to digest, lots of Fae lore, a who's who of Fae prince's, fallen prince's, former queens, the concubine.  Who was the Unseelie King, really?  Many red herrings - it was a roller coaster ride of emotions, yet there is a lot of reassuring familiarity in the book.  Barrons is around, he and Mac are forever snarling at one another, never admitting their true feelings - but of course they do eventually!  We find out what the real reason is behind Barron's search for the Sinsar Dubh, and I found it wasn't what I expected at all, it was a surprise to me and, dare I say - I bit of a let down *ducking*.

Did I like the book?  Yes, of course, but it's not my favorite in the series.  Darkfever still holds that honor.  Did it live up to all my expectations?  Yes, but there's still some unfinished business left up in the air and I felt that the ending was a bit open-ended.  I can't say I'm perfectly satisfied with it.  I had trouble with the sappy ending, which I found to be somewhat uncharacteristic of the overall tone of the series.  It felt like someone put a cherry and whipped cream on top of a very rare sirloin steak.   The whole, life is great, Betty Crocker "let's play house" and "steaks on the BBQ" scene was over the top.  Huh?  It just didn't sit right with me.    For some reason I just felt a bit deflated after it was all over, but at the same time, I'm happy for everyone and everything got resolved.

On a side note, I've been listening to the Highlander Series for the first time.  I've read it before, but never on audio.  Phil Gigante is amazing!  His voice for Adam Black, in particular, is sinful!  Plus, now I can pick up on the many references and clues for the Fever Series that meant nothing to me my first time around with the McKeltar brothers.

Speaking of the Keltar, I loved the McKeltar's showing up and oozing masculinity and tangling with Barrons.  He hated them!  I thought it was a hoot! We even have a brief cameo of Adam Black - and it sizzled!  We even see some old creepy unseelie's again like the "gray woman".  It kinda reminded me of the Seinfeld finale.  We get glimpses of some of our old favorites who all come back for the last episode, but the episode itself is a bit of a let down - or at least that's how I felt about it at the time.  I recently watched it again and loved it!  I bet I feel that way with Shadowfever too, I have to give it some time before a re-read when I will savor it slowly, mull it over and soak it up.

Overall, Fever is a fantastic series, amazingly imaginative and downright awesome! One of my absolute favorites and I'm sure I will revisit Mac again and again.  When I do re-read Shadowfever, I'll add a postscript to my review here.



Julia Rachel Barrett said...

I'm not a fan of the 'Fever' series. I was 'meh' about the first book and not thrilled with the remaining works. I do hear that the last book is by far the most complicated. Still not convinced that it's worth my reading time. I'm a huge fan of her Highlander series, especially Adam Black.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Julia - this last book was very long and I suspect, Moning's editors gave her carte blanche to ramble and go on and on about certain things. I believe it could have been whittled down a bit. Still, it covered a ton, but at times it was a bit dull. I was completely swept up by Darkfever and the rest of the books when I first read them back to back last year, it was my first venture into urban fantasy, but I think this is the only series I'm interested in reading like that. To each his own, I do love the Highlander Series (though the first books were nothing much to write about). In my re-read/listen, I started with Book 3.

Joanne said...

Hi, Julie -- I'm just beginning Faefever (the third book), and while they're not my favs, the series is a nice change of pace for me. I think it's good to branch out and just relax with something totally different from my usual HF or HR.

And speaking of relaxing, hope you have a wonderful time lounging on the beach soon! Please sip a margarita for me! :)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Joanne, Faefever I liked more than Bloodfever, frankly you almost have to think of it as one big book, Shadowfever definitely wraps it all up, I can't remember did you read her Highlander series yet?

We're leaving tomorrow - have tons to do! But, yes, I'll drink a Margarita for you - or two or three... we're going to an all inclusive place - plenty to drink - I'm sure I'll be feeling no (sunburn) pain!

Patti (Book Addict) said...

I read Shadowfever, and after hearing Phil Gigante in person I'm dying to listen to the audiobook! I, too, just started listening to the highlanders on disk - not in any order as my library only has 3 of the books, but am enjoying them immensely.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Patti, Phil Gigante's voice is sex on a stick! When I first read The Immortal Highlander in print, I wasn't crazy about it - on audio - OMG I'm in love! What a difference, and it's all due to Phil Gigante! He's great in Spell of the Highlander as well. Natalie Ross, who does the voice on audio for Mac is fine, but I think I "like" her better in print.

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