Reviewed: January 19, 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Fever, Book 5
Rating: 5 Stars
Length: 512 Pages
Formats: Print, eBook
Sidhe-Seer Mac Lane is stuck in the Silvers, her dead protector beast at her feet and this time, this time she may not survive the grief. She's lost the one person - the final person - the only person who she just now realizes she won't live without. Choices, Mac...it's all about choices. And Mac 5.0 is born.
This sleeker, smarter, far deadlier MacKayla Lane is released on Dublin as the search for the Sinsar Dubh and the race to save the world rockets towards its final chapters. Through grief, through loss, through torture and pain, through rebirth, with questions - endless questions - and difficult, unbelievable, inconceivable answers, this epic battle between gigantic forces teeters on the fulcrum of the sheer determination of one young woman and the monstrous forces impacting her.
Five books. One epic journey. And a conclusion that satisfies beyond my wildest dreams.
I don't know that I have the words to express my impressions of Shadowfever on its own merits, and I don't know that I should even try, because for me, this isn't about a book, it's about the story that takes place over the arc of all of the books. It's about MacKayla Lane, who I haven't always liked, as she evolves from the bubble-headed Amateur Sleuth Barbie, self absorbed and overly entitled, to Mac Lane-O'Connor, weapon for revenge for her sister's murder and to hell with the world at large, to my favorite incarnation: Just Mac. It's about growing up, making choices, and fighting the good fight. It's about deciding, and acknowledging, who you are and what you really want - and then going out with both hands and grabbing it by the short and curlies until it's yours.
It's about life, and responsibility, and love, and hate, and good, and most definitely evil. It's about a book that can unmake the world and the people who join together to fight for that world. It's about picking up the pieces and finding joy in the cracks. It's about stasis. And change.
It's about life, death, and everything - absolutely everything in the shadows between.
With an indescribable quality of writing, imaginative world building and creation that leaves me in awe, and characters that go beyond three dimensional to that iconic fourth dimension that jettisons them from the page, Karen Marie Moning has created an unforgettable, intensely layered story that will forever hold a place in my heart as one of the best in the genre - ever. And she's done it brilliantly.
I'm so glad I went back and re-read the first four books before I started this one, because the depth and texture of the overall experience, fresh in my mind, is something I wouldn't trade for anything. I am, quite simply put, humbled by the breadth and scope of the intricacies and delicacies of the tale, and I'm still shaking at some of the more in-your-face truths and truisms. Moning created this world, this broken, flawed, wrong world, filled it with all the darkness, light, danger, hope, threat, life, debauchery, laughter, murder, rebirth, chaos, and love, and gave it to her readers to embrace. And she did it with exquisite aplomb.
When I force myself to take a critical look at the book, examine the pieces and the construction and ignore the heady weight of the story, I can muster some more objective commentary. I freely admit the series in general and this book in particular could have been trimmed a bit here and there. There were times throughout the series when the pacing of the narrative dragged from superlative information dumping, when it crossed that deadly line between brilliant creation and mental overload and the mythos got truly overwhelming. And yeah, twist my arm, I think that the answers to at least some of the questions introduced at the very beginning could've been better seeded throughout the series, instead of slamming them all into this book. It might have made the first four books a bit less frustrating at times. But maybe that would've taken away from some of the intensity of their reveal. I don't know.
And if I'm to be completely honest, I wasn't always fond of Mac. In fact, through most of the series - including this book - I didn't like her. I found her immature and purposely obtuse and willfully oblivious, even as late as the middle of this book. Occasionally, she just flat out got on my nerves. I don't know that I would confidently say that I believe her character being the woman I could realistically see the mighty and mysterious Jericho Z. Barrons wanting. But hey, the heart wants what the heart wants, and there are certainly too few rainbows in the Z's past.
One true complaint, though, one genuine pea under the princess's bed: Dani. I wasn't a huge fan of her POV in the previous book, but I liked her character and the development that she was afforded. Everything about her in this book, though, I found jarring and unlikable and ultimately, inconsequential. Even her dialogue seemed off. I couldn't wrap my head around why she was in any of the scenes, and didn't like it when she was. I kept expecting there to be some tie-in, some connection to her past, some answers for her tragic childhood, some excuse for her existence. I didn't find any beyond one bizarre thread that came out of nowhere and was never resolved.
But even with that, even with the other minor issues, I loved this book and thank Karen Marie Moning from the bottom of my book-loving heart for giving us this series, these characters, and this wild and wicked, and sometimes wonderfully horrifying world that is the Fever series. I don't know where that world goes from here. Frankly, I don't care. If waiting the seemingly interminable wait for Shadowfever taught me one thing, it's confidence in Moning as an author and as a purveyor of sheer reading entertainment. I'll keep to the lights until she gives us more. Of whatever it is she's going to give us next.
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