Monday, January 24, 2011

Review: Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Because everything after this is a spoiler for the first four books, and I truly believe it's a journey that's best enjoyed the way the author wrote it, I'm going to offer up a mini-review first.

It's amazing. Epic. Beautiful. I loved it from beginning to end. If you haven't started this series yet waiting for the end - to avoid cliffhangers - this is the final book, now go and enjoy!  For those that need to know if there's an HEA (and I have a lot of friends where this is a requirement):

Title: Shadowfever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Series: Fever, Book 5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: January 18, 2011

From Author's Website:

"Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believe 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?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.

I've always been a little incoherent about this series. Usually the most I've been able to manage is: "It's awesome! Read it! You'll love it! Read it!Read it!Read it!Readit!" I'll try not to devolve into that here today, though there's likely to be some squeeing fan-girl moments.

From the start, Darkfever, this has all been about Mac's journey. When we first joined her she was somewhat sheltered, a little self-centered, full of light, rainbows and love and absolutely comfortable with her place in life – which involved never leaving her small southern hometown. Throughout the previous four books we've seen her worldviews shattered and her convictions tested.

We've also had a lot of questions come up. Honestly, I was a little worried how Karen Marie Moning was going to fit all the answers into a single book and not make it seem like one big info-dump. Then there were my worries that my expectations were so unbelievably high that there was no way she could possibly produce a book that would live up to them. I spent months trying to lessen my anticipation – without success – and then worried some more. Happily, I needn't have worried at all.

Karen Marie Moning manages to answer all the questions that need answering, as well as taking us on one hell of an emotional, action-packed ride. I cried, I laughed, I grinned like mad, cried some more and by the time I was finished I felt like I'd taken every step of this right alongside Mac.

I've spent over four years speculating on so many different aspects of the books, so I was a little worried that I'd have figured it out before hand. And there was stuff I did figure out, which left me cheering and grinning because I'd gotten something right. But there were more things that I didn't even come close to unraveling. Which made me even happier. Karen Marie Moning once said:
"I believe a really good story gives you enough of the facts so that shortly before the truth comes out, you're onto it, and hopefully, when the time is right in this series, you guys will know in your gut whether it's a baby grand or a couple of sofas pushed together, before I yank the sheet off the covered furniture you've been staring at for several books."
And she absolutely succeeded! There's nothing I love more than a series that makes me think, and still doesn't let me get it all before the author shows me what's been hiding just below my vision.

The author deftly shows us Mac's, at times chaotic, thoughts and emotions. They're striking and hers and very, very real. I felt each one with her. And while there is growth in Mac, throughout the series and in this book, I feel that the author managed to do something spectacular in keeping the character true to herself. She is who she always was. Perhaps a little more stripped down, a little more 'savage,' but she's still Mac. The same girl that got off the plane all those months ago looking for her sister's killer.

All in all, it was a fantastic conclusion to the series. For days afterwards the only thing I could say about it was 'It's Epic. With a capital E.' I still feel that way. It had my brain, and my heart, engaged from beginning to end. It's the best series I've ever read. I couldn’t ask for more than that.

I've got to add one other thing – it's a minor spoiler, concerning a major character in the series. I'm putting it in a spoiler button because there's a lot of questions going into this book. Click at your own risk.

Grade: A+

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook | kobo | Borders eBook | Sony | Book Depository | Delacorte Press

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