by Karen Marie Moning

3.5 Star Review

Her Name is MacKayla Lane but it Should Be Amateur Sleuth Barbie

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Reviewed:   August 12, 2009

Genre:   Urban Fantasy

Series:   Fever, Book 1

Rating:   3.5 Stars

Length:   309 Pages

Formats:   Print, eBook

What I Read...

MacKayla Lane is a twenty-two year old southern belle from a tiny Georgia town. She's got the perfect parents, the perfect sister, the perfect life - and as you'll hear often - the perfect plethora of pastels and pinks in wardrobe, accessories, and nail polish. Then comes the phone call that utterly destroys that pretty, magnolia-scented bubble. In the aftermath of her sister's brutal slaying, MacKayla (Mac) embarks on a quest for vengeance and justice, determination and steely grief her constant companions...well, those and all the ultra-hip and heavy-on-the-pink accessories she can drag along with her.

What I Thought...

God, she's annoying. I mean seriously, thoroughly, bang-my-head-against-the-wall-at-her-insipidness annoying. With an almost pathological need to explain every wardrobe choice (not to mention how great she thinks she looks in each and every one) and all the waxing philosophic on the names of nail polish colors, Mac is the single most superficial, shallow, inane, and self-absorbed princess I've ever read as a lead character.

Trust me, that alone would usually be enough to completely strip me of any desire to continue this book, let alone get invested in the series, and yes - that's not the only fly in the ointment that is Darkfever - but there IS a lot I liked here (just about everything not MacKayla), and it's enough to make me stick with the five-book Fever series despite a lead character who has this to say: "I've always liked museums. I should probably pretend it's because I'm so erudite and scholarly and love to learn, but the truth is I just love shiny, pretty things..."

Yes, that sound you're hearing is my head impacting the wall. Again. Though admittedly, points to the twit for stellar vocabulary. And that's actually when I started to notice things beyond my annoyance - the first being, in Mac's defense, she's led a very sheltered life - and we're only starting to find out how, why, and that there really is a reason for that through this first book. And in truth, she's naive, she believes in happy endings and doesn't believe in things that go bump in the night (or better yet, Things That Can Eat You), and she's far too interested in gauzy pastels for me to ever think her normal, yet she's not stupid.

Ignorant of the full scope and breadth of just how bad her life's gone to the dogs (or Sidhe in this case), but not stupid. And as this book is told from her point of view, looking back at the happenstances of a year ago, the reader knows almost immediately that what Mac has had to become (I'm assuming we'll see that development continue through the series) resembles not at all what she is as she first steps foot in Ireland to find out who killed her sister. The way it's done is a device I don't particularly enjoy reading - too much foreshadowing and endless comments about what's going to happen and not enough seeing it unfold as it's happening - but the world that's being created by the author and the characters that are introduced around Mac are intriguing to say the very least. There is nice depth in the world building, and the magical mythos of Irish history is itself almost tertiary character that adds a unique flavor and tone. I just really wish Mac had been toned down (a lot) after the author impressed on us (see also: beat us over the head again and again) that she would mature and get with the program eventually. It would've made it a better read without losing the point.

I'll stick this series out, I think, because I've just got to find out what Barrons really is and I'm very interested to see what V'Lane's got up his...er...sleeve. This particular installment in the series gets a 3.5 from me for that very reason.

Happy Reading! ~ Tracy

...and You?

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Books by Karen Marie Moning

Fever, Book 5 Highlander, Book 7 Highlander, Book 6 Highlander, Book 3 Fever, Book 3 Fever, Book 4 Fever, Book 2 Fever, Book 1

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