Faefever: The grimmest book so far

fantasy book reviews Karen Marie Moning 3. FaefeverKaren Moning FaefeverFaefever by Karen Marie Moning

I’d die for him.

Throughout the Fever series, Karen Marie Moning has always had a penchant for telling us something dramatic and then backing up to explain how Mac got to that point. In Faefever, she takes that technique to a new level: the whole book is the explanation of how she reached that bombshell of a first sentence. Who is this man, and why is Mac willing to die for him?

The early chapters of Faefever are not quite as compelling as those of the first two books. They feel less focused. I think it’s symptomatic of Mac’s own confusion — she doesn’t know whom to trust or what the right course of action really is — but she seems more wishy-washy than she has in previous books. She wants to move out from under Barrons’s thumb, which I can get behind, but all too often that seems to mean getting under V’lane’s thumb instead. I can’t understand some of her decisions in this book.

On the upside, we get a larger glimpse of the history/mythology of the Fae and how the Sinsar Dubh fits in. It’s a tragic, haunting history and I suspect there’s even more to it than we’ve been told. Another excellent scene features Mac rigging up an invention to protect herself from the Shades. It’s ingenious… and hilarious. I cracked up, loudly, the whole time I was reading this scene, and I don’t think I can ever listen to “Bad Moon Rising” with a straight face again.

This moment of comic relief is sorely needed, too, as Faefever is the grimmest of the books so far. Moning builds up to two terrifying scenes. The first of the two scenes would be an “oh, holy crap” ending all by itself. Unlike the twist in Bloodfever, I saw this scene coming — I was able to guess what was being planned — but it was still chilling. The second scene is more personal to Mac, and just as scary in a completely different way. Moning strikes a difficult balance here, making an act sound erotic on the surface but horrific at its core. It’s a difficult scene to read, precisely because she wrote it far too well.

Once again, I’m very glad I started this series after all five books had been released. Moning’s love of cliffhangers would drive me crazy otherwise! She has an author’s note at the end of this one, reminding us that she has promised a story about light rather than darkness, but at the end of Faefever, both Dublin and Mac (and quite possibly the human race) are in pretty bad straits.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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One comment

  1. I was just recently talked into reading this series and I am now almost done with Bloodfever and I know what you mean about being happy they are all out because I don’t think I could have waited like all those other fans did..LOL

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