Smart is the new cool.
Shadowfever is the fifth and final novel in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Readers will be pleased that it’s longer than the previous books, yet still chock full of plot.
After the horrific cliffhanger at the end of the previous book, Dreamfever, we find out that things are pretty bad for Mac — worse, in fact, than they were at the beginning of Dreamfever. Much of Shadowfever is emotionally draining as Mac deals with grief and starts to become harder and tougher. The result is a young woman who doesn’t quite know who she is. This change is painful to watch, yet it’s not unwelcome, and sometimes it’s amusing (now she’s likely to be wearing a semi-automatic weapon strapped across her pink Juicy shirt).
There’s also much joy in this final novel, and Moning brings everything together into a complex and satisfying conclusion. There are a lot of new revelations in Shadowfever, some that I saw coming (though none were so obvious that I was certain about them), others that truly surprised me, and a couple that I thought were slightly unbelievable (but I didn’t really care). Thus, like the previous installments, Shadowfever was a quick read that kept me on the edge of my seat — a place I like to be when I’m reading a book.
I don’t read much romantic urban fantasy because I usually think that the sex and romance overshadow the plot, but Moning’s Fever series is the best romantic urban fantasy series I’ve read. It’s got a complex twisty plot, a wonderful setting (I can’t wait to visit Dublin someday!), great characters, mystery, a pleasant writing style, and plenty of tension-relieving humor. What I liked most, though, was Mac herself. She’s a smart and strong heroine (though she doesn’t know it) who I can understand. She’s sweet and self-confident, sassy but not snarky, and she knows she’s in way over her head. She admires the alpha male and is strong enough to resist being pushed around by him, but she has her own goals and realizes his value as a tool to reach those goals. I found their behaviors and relationship to be believable and was pleased that the series didn’t devolve into a sap-and-sex story. (There is a lot of sex in the last two books, but it’s an integral part of the plot.) I’m glad that I started Fever after the final book was published because I flew through them in a few weeks and would have been seriously disgruntled about those nasty cliffhangers if I’d had to wait.
This is a great series to read on audio, but be warned that the narrator changes after book 3. I was so absorbed in the story that this change was a bit upsetting, but I adjusted. The narration on the first three books (Joyce Bean) was excellent — I especially liked Ms. Bean’s male voices. In the last two books, Natalie Ross reads Mac’s parts perfectly. Phil Gigante’s male voices were sometimes over-the-top in the fourth book, but they seemed more appropriate in the final dramatic volume.
If you’re a fan of urban fantasy and you haven’t read Fever yet, you’re missing out!