Iced by Karen Marie Moning
Iced is the first novel in Karen Marie Moning’s new DANI O’MALLEY series, which is a spin-off from her excellent FEVER series. Readers of FEVER know who Dani is — she’s the 14-year-old sidhe-seer that Mac befriends. Besides being able to see the fae, Dani has other superpowers — she moves “super-fast” and has super senses, too. Dani also has the Sword of Light — one of only two magical objects that can kill the fae.
Dani lives in Dublin during the year 1 AWC (After the Wall Crash). The wall separating our world from the fae has fallen down and the dark fae are preying on humanity. Dani, with her superpowers and magical sword, can handle this new world, but most people can’t and half the world’s population is dead. Dani does what she can, publishing a newspaper, helping people find food and shelter, and killing as many fae as she can every day.
Dani can’t devote all her efforts to her humanitarian mission, though, because the police inspector is trying to steal her sword, the Unseelie Princes want her dead, and Ryodan — the intimidating nightclub owner — wants Dani’s help figuring out why people in Dublin are getting flash-frozen. In addition, Dani has to juggle the affections of Christian, the half-human / half Unseelie Prince, and Dancer, the student who has become her best friend.
I was looking forward to reading this book because I enjoyed the FEVER series so much, but I was disappointed with Iced. Moning writes as well as ever, but Iced failed at all the places where FEVER set itself apart. Moning makes little use of her fabulous Dublin setting. The world has been altered dramatically, so this is understandable, but part of the beauty of FEVER was the Dublin flavor and that’s necessarily, but unfortunately, missing here.
I also didn’t like the change of perspective from MacKayla Lane to Dani O’Malley. Mac was a terrific heroine but Dani is just plain obnoxious — her personality, her language, everything. She calls herself “Mega” and talks about herself constantly — how super-fast she is, how she has super hearing, how she has to eat all the time because of her fast metabolism, how she’s so awesome at everything. All of this is with plenty of snarky Dude’s and Feck’s and other teenage lingo like “Pressure, much?” That’s just annoying.
But the biggest disappointment is the sexual tension. I praised the FEVER series for being a paranormal romance where sex took a backseat to plot (even though there’s lots of sex in it, the plot was paramount). Iced, however, is disturbing because there’s a constant sexual tension and it’s all focused on Dani… who is 14. Most of the adult male characters (whose penile positions and dimensions are often documented) are fixated on being Dani’s first. Dani, who announces to us that she’s going to lose her virginity in an “epic” way, seems oblivious to most of this, but the reader is frequently being reminded that all these men have plans for her. They are constantly (with bulging trousers) barely restraining themselves from raping her. She’s 14. This is icky. And, really, do I need to say anymore? I don’t think so.
I listened to Brilliance Audio’s production of Iced which is performed by Natalie Ross and Phil Gigante. Ms. Ross does a good job with Dani. Phil Gigante reads all the male parts and these sound dubbed in and a little unnatural — the cadence of the conversations are sometimes off because of this. It’s noticeable but not too distracting. It’s not one of the better audio performances I’ve heard, but I wouldn’t try to steer you away from Iced because of that. I’d steer you away because of the story.
If you haven’t read Karen Marie Moning yet, I highly recommend that you skip Iced and read FEVER.