Series: Fever #1
Published by Delacorte Press on October 31st 2006
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death—a cryptic message on MacKayla Lane’s cell phone–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.
Mackayla (Mac) Lane has a sweet easy life in Ashford Georgia; loving parents, a sister she adores, and long sun-filled days. With her parents on vacation, and her sister attending school in Dublin, Mac spends her days bar-tending part-time and hanging by her parents pool. Life is sweet. That is until she receives a phone call from the Garda, the Irish police, informing her that her sister has been murdered. As her world unravels, she realizes that her sister left her a cryptic message on her cell phone before she died; from there her life is forever changed. And so begins the world that author Karen Marie Moning created in vivid detail, of the fight for humankind from things that are not to be believed.
The best way to start with a novel like this is to jump right in. So, what’s my favorite thing about this book? Far and above, it has to be the characters. These characters are so ridiculously well-developed, I was immediately able to form a connection with them. I felt like I knew them. I knew who they were. I understood their fears, their motivations, their desires. I was in their heads, looking through their eyes and experiencing everything that happened to them in vivid detail. It felt like I was simultaneously watching from afar, and yet I was there in the room as one of them. Talk about getting sucked into a book. I especially loved the fact that despite Mac growing as a character, and going through all this darkness, she still retains her Southern Belle charm and love of all things pink. It’s both a testament to her mental fortitude as a character, and Moning’s ability to write strong female personalities. That’s why character development is so important. If you can’t relate, understand or feel some attachment to a character, then how can you expect to get wrapped up in a book? Luckily, that’s not a problem here.
While characterization is incredibly important to most every type of book, romance novels live or die on relationships. They don’t call them “romance” for nothing. So was the romance any good? I mean yes and no. Nothing particularly happened romantically in this book per say, but you can see a potential for a romance brewing between Mac and JZB. As the story unfolds you see why they need each other. But at the same time your left wondering: is JZB simply protecting his investment, or is it more than that? It’s this unknown that makes their chemistry just so damn good to read. So while we don’t read about making love on a beach, or kissing in the rain, or any other stereotypical “romance” crap, we do get the beginning of a potential real relationship. It’s this realism in a fantasy world which makes this and other relationships in this book top-notch in my mind.
So it’s got great characters and great relationship potential, what’s left? Well we’ve gotta talk about the setting. There’s nothing more engrossing than reading a book that paints a picture, and in this respect Moning is a true artist. She creates these settings in such colorful detail that you can actually visualize the subtle texture of the cobblestone sidewalk, hear the low din of pubgoers conversing over a meal, and feel the darkness and pain of battles yet to come. It’s a sensory experience to say the least.
Magic abounds everywhere in this novel. It’s in the very essence of the story. From the Seelie and Unseelie, to the Objects of Power and even Mac herself. They’re all a part of what makes this a fantasy. But what’s really baffling is that despite these things being inherently unbelievable, Moning makes them more than just believable, they’re factual. It makes me want to look over my shoulder… just in case.
Of course, you can’t have the good without the bad. So what’s so bad about this book? The truth, nothing. I’m sorry, that’s just how I feel.
I suppose, if I was forced to come up with something, I’d have to lighten up a bit on Mac’s naïvety as a character. I mean I get, I do. It’s part of who she is, and by keeping her a bit naïve, Moning maintains the characters core. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t times when I didn’t want to slap the shit out of her for just not GETTING IT…. ok, I’m cool now.