Thursday, September 29, 2011

Darkfever, by Karen Marie Moning


Title: Darkfever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Publisher: Gollancz (UK)/ Dell (USA)
Release Date: 8th September (UK)
Source: review copy from Gollancz
Notes: Book 1 in the 'Fever' series

Description from back cover: MacKayla Lane's life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she's your perfectly ordinary twenty-first century woman... until something extraordinary happens.
When her sister is murdered, Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister's killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed - a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae...

My thoughts: I have heard a lot about the Fever series from book bloggers in the states, so I was interested in finally getting to read it. I love the cover for this book, especially the cobbles! It's very simple, but gives a great feel for the book.

I feel like you get a lot more information about the Fae, and what's going on, in the prologue than you do in the next several chapters of the book. It gives clues to what the book's going to be about (and I hope the series) and I got really excited reading it, but I think there's a lot of things still to come that were hinted at here, then never showed up in the rest of the story.

Chapter One starts 'a year earlier', with Mac sitting by a pool, wondering when she's going to hear from her parents, and generally enjoying summer in Georgia. Then her sister dies, and her lovely happy world breaks apart. When she finds a voicemail message her sister left her the day of the murder, she realises that maybe her sister hadn't really been telling her everything, and, despairing with the Dublin police, she decides to go to Ireland herself. She's very lost and lonely there to start with, which I liked - it seemed much more realistic, and fit with what we have so far of her personality. She hasn't been there long before she starts seeing strange, horrible things, where it seems like no one else can see them, and understandably starts to think she's going crazy.

Then, enter Jericho Barrons. He and Mac are both looking for the same thing, and neither will tell the other what they know. When Mac learns more about what's going on in the city, and why she's seeing the strange things, she goes back to him for help, and they spend a lot of time together in the book - and Mac spends a lot of time wondering whether he's to be trusted. I'll be honest - I don't really know what 'role' he's supposed to play in the book - I've heard other bloggers speak reverently of him, along with the gorgeous heroes in other stories, but although Mac emphasises that he's attractive, I never felt like it was anything more than that. Barrons is more than a little intimidating and creepy, I think - he turns up at the inn where she's staying, in the middle of the night, and threatens her! And then she starts trusting him! Crazy girl, I think.

I feel like, with the way Mac's character was painted at the start, the book played out accordingly - everything fit with her, and the pace of her change towards a more kick-ass heroine was realistic - she doesn't just wake up overnight and lose the, well, bimbo-ness that she seems to have to start with. I enjoyed hearing the ridiculous names for the various nail varnish colours that she would wear, but that's about as far as it went - I'm very glad that by the end of the book she was growing up, and starting to be a bit more like an urban fantasy heroine. I hope there's a little bit of a time-period break between this one and book two, so that she's more mature again, but even so I would definitely read on.

I really enjoyed the plot, and the world that Ms Moning has created here. The writing really pulled me in - I started reading at abot 2:30, and didn't stop until I was finished later that night. I loved the portrayal of Dublin - I've only visited it once, very briefly, but I could relate a lot of the things described in Darkfever to Edinburgh (where I live) - the confusing streets, old buildings, general spookiness at times ;) I am really looking forward to the next book - luckily Bloodfever, book two, comes out in October, so I don't have long to wait!

Overall, I think I'll give this 7 stars.

Thank you Gollancz for the review copy!

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