Sunday, September 21, 2008

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning ****

OK, I did it, finished the free podcast audiobook of Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning before taking off on my trip tomorrow.

This is my first by KMM, although I know she has a big following both of the Fever series and her Highland romances. This is the first book in the Fever series, in which we are introduced to MacKayla aka Mac. Mac is 22 years old, living at home, taking a few classes, working as a bartender and enjoying her summer weekends at various lakes around town. The book opens with her sitting by the pool - her cell phone got dunked a few days earlier and she hasn't bothered to get a new one. She gets the call from the police on her parent's phone: her older sister Alena was studying abroad, in Ireland, when she was brutally murdered.

Mac isn't happy with how the case is being handled, so she heads over to Ireland to get her sister's effects and find out more about what happened. When she gets a new cell phone, before heading overseas, she picks up her messages and has one final, desperate message from Alena that makes no sense to her at all.

Once in Ireland, she is on a journey she never expected, into the world of the Fae.

In her quest, she stumbles into a bookstore called Barron's Books and Baubles, where she meets the owner Jerricho Barrons and his employee Fiona. It's apparent soon enough that both Jerricho and Fiona know what she is and what her powers are, but it isn't clear if they have powers of their own, or even what their relationship is...

Now, this is a fantasy subject I haven't done much reading in, so I had a little bit of a hard time keeping up (especially in audio) with the bad guys and their various forms. There was a hierarchy of fairies (or maybe they spelled it faeries), I believe 4 levels, with some good and some bad. If I understood it correctly, at the King/Queen/Prince/Princess level, good and bad looked alike. Mac and her sister were born sidhe-seers, pronounced "she-seers", meaning they could see the true forms of the fae even when regular people only saw the human form. They also had the status of... (sounded like: null?) which meant they could also freeze fae creatures.

Mac undergoes a transformation - a sort of Buffy the Vampire Slayer-type transformation - from pampered Southern belle to kick-ass Fae stomper in the course of the few weeks she is there. Her life is turned upside down and inside out and she learns that something much bigger than than the murder of her sister is at stake.

The book is about Mac's quest to uncover the whole truth behind her sister's gruesome murder and to learn what she really is - and since it's the first in the series, we only get so far. She learns that her sister had a boyfriend, whose description sounds suspiciously like Jerricho - not Irish, older, dashing, rich, handsome. Jerricho doesn't really develop a thing for Mac, though, and he seems to wonder who she is, so if he was the boyfriend, he's keeping it under wraps. He trots her out into underground worlds as if she's his woman in order to uncover who is good and who is bad. (wish I had a hard copy so I could see the spelling of the creatures...)

It was fun, action-packed and sorta spooky, although listening to it in 20-minute bursts with commentary on either end was not the same as listening to it in a regular audio book. It breaks up the tension to stop between each chapter. It isn't exactly romance, either, as the ending didn't qualify for HEA, and if Jerricho is meant to be the hero aka love interest, that isn't made clear. He does have a slightly out-of-character tender moment right at the end...

4 stars. If you want a copy, go to the Darkfever Podcast website.


Icedream said...

I bloghopped over from The Book Girl because I spotted the title of your blog and I suspect that you are my Shelfari pal Rowena. And I am just now finding your blog!
I really am a huge fan of KM Moning and enjoyed Darkfever. I am on the hold list at my library for Faefever, I can't wait to read it!
Stop by my blog sometime and say "hi". It seems like since I started reviewing I barely have time to visit Shelfari anymore.

aunt rowena said...

welcome! I'm not Rowena at Shelfari - I just use "Aunt Rowena" as a... sort of character name, not really as my name. It's a long story!