Format: Kindle Edition
Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (January 18, 2011)
Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (January 18, 2011)
File Size: 1264 KB
Age Range: Adult for sexuality, language, violence.
MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.
Evil is a completely different creature, Mac.
Evil is bad that believes it's good."
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 that 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 that contains 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 that haunts her dreams? More importantly, who is Mac 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 make a choice that will either save the world...or destroy it.
http://www.karenmoning.com/kmm/shadowfever.html (as well as cover image, above - fair use for review)
What an epic tale.
Many books are strong in one way or another, plot, writing, character development, suspense, romance. But it is rare that all those variables are done well in one book; especially one as exciting as Shadowfever.
It is a tough story to review. The series is beloved, and the readers are very devoted. It has also been anticipated for quite some time. Often, with a book I am eager to read, I find my expectations shattered. I was not disappointed here. This is a great read, and it is more than just a read.
Shadowfever is a hard story to talk about without being overly revelatory; each page has something pivotal to plot or character. will discuss the story as little as possible.There are a couple of themes in the book. Of course, all epic fantasy deals with good battling evil. When immortal, or nearly immortal beings come into the picture, the perspective on good versus evil changes from the short-term, human view. Another theme is truth versus illusion. Seeing what is true, is an extension of seeing through fae glamour. The themes give rise to substantive involvement in issues that reach past who's sleeping with whom. It is almost existential. It certainly is for the characters. You cannot zip through this book without thinking, without wondering about the issues brought out through the themes.
Dreamfever (DF) , Moning's last book in this series came out in 2009. As with Shadowfever I read it as if it were a coconut cream pie, but darn it all it was 2009 and I have read over 200 books since then. Smarter bloggers, I have noted, reread DF in preparation for Shadowfever. I did not. Therefore, when MacKayla would exhibit one or another ability I found myself thinking, "When did that happen?" But that wasn't a problem with the book. That was a problem with my recall, and length of time between books. The book is not really stand alone. I recommend reading the first four books in the series before jumping in here.
The plot is a continuity of the greater story line where Mac, and groups of seelie and unseelie, sidhe-seers, and collectors of rare objects whose intention is uncertain are seeking the Sinsar Dhu, an ancient text of spells, in order to use the book with ill intent of enslaving or eradicating humanity, or with the positive intents of either reinterring the book or using it to reconstruct the delicate balance between humans and fae, as well as seelie or unseelie. Moning's Highlander series overlaps beautifully without over-incursion.
The journey is essentially Mac's, told in first-person. Once in a while the voice turns into Barrons' or Dani's. We had left her, in DF, trying to get through a myriad of dimensions to rescue her parents. Finally returning to Dublin, trying to get the book now for her own intent. Much, much happens, in a dizzying progression. Twists and unexpected events constantly keep the reader on edge. And, the twists do not stop until the end. It does ramble a bit, but then, that may be a result of the first person telling of the story. Periods of intense growth are likely to be somewhat chaotic. But then the climax seemed a bit rushed. And, a few times I read eloquence from MacKayla I couldn't imagine her saying.
Moning's greatest strength is in her descriptive writing is able to eloquently describe the emotions of her characters, especially MacKayla, with a modern beauty:
Innuendo and invitation. Eternal as the rain in Dublin. I was the one the dangerous lion licked. And I liked it.(Shadowfever)
Through the writing her characters come to life. In Shadowfever the characters grow, change, become more "human," even they who are other. We learn more about Ryordan, about Barrons, Dani, Jack and Rainey Lane, and Mackayla as goes from a not unintelligent but somewhat unschooled, bar-tending, Southern girl* with long, blond hair, wonderful nails, and a great tan to a lean-mean female warrior for humanity. MacKayla's growth is born of loss, desire, and having seen and experienced things no one ever should.
Relationships are resolved as the characters are revealed. We see Barrons in a completely different way, almost gentle, possessive and loving:
Jericho Barrons was telling me to use my heart. Could life get any stranger? (Shadowfever)
If there is anything that felt off-key to me it was Barrons' transformation; his growth and well, total personality transplant. In rereading , the change does appear justified through near-tragic events. Apparently there are some things, some people, even Barrons is not willing to live without. While not a mantra, he does say that several times, and since is not prone to long speeches, it must have meaning.
There are mysteries left in the book. Hopefully in the future we'll learn them. There is a bit of a tumbling progression through the story, possibly necessary for Mac's voice and also for setting up the twists and reveals. But, the characters grow and learn, some are the characters we like. The characters we don't like are also here and several meet the end we would like them to.
I really enjoyed the book. It is not short so you certainly get a good reading value. It has substance far greater than whether MacKayla and Barron's get together without her being stricken with fae induced nymphomania. The writing is lovely, the suspense is edge of your seat exciting, and it keeps on to the end. What more could we want from a story and what more can I tell you without giving it all away? Recommended.
* Southern United States: A region of the US extending from Virginia southward and west to the Mississippi. Southerners have a different and more noticeable accent from other Americans and are strongly regional in their traditions and behaviors.