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BOOK REVIEW: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

| 14 January 2016 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Gollancz
August 2008
Paperback, £7.99 GBP
Reviewed by Aly Locatelli

7.5/10

1451694

 

You want to believe in black and white, good and evil, heroes that are truly heroic, villains that are just plain bad, but I’ve learned in the past year that things are rarely so simple. The good guys can do some truly awful things and the bad guys can sometimes surprise the heck out of you.

MacKayla Lane has her life together: a loving family she adores, a sister that is also a best friend, a job that pays in the environment she thrives in (partying) and courses at the local community college to keep things interesting (and her father off her back about finding a “proper” job). Everything is just perfect.

Until Mac’s sister, Alina, is found dead in a trash-filled alley in Dublin, where she’d gone to study at Trinity College. With no suspects, evidence, or arrests, the Dublin police make quick work of the case and waste no time in closing it.

 

Alina wasn’t just my sister; she was my best friend. Though she’d been away studying at Trinity College in Dublin for the past eight months, we’d emailed incessantly and spoken weekly, sharing everything, keeping no secrets.
Or so I thought. Boy was I ever wrong.

With a family torn apart by grief, Mac decides to take matters into her own hands and fly to Dublin. She was going to catch the killer herself, or at least convince the Garda to reopen the case, thanks to a voicemail left by Alina on Mac’s the phone hours before she died.

 

“Oh, Mac, everything has gone so wrong! I thought I knew what I was going, I thought he was helping me, but — God, I can’t believe I was so stupid! I thought I was in love with him and he’s one of them, Mac! One of them!

But once in Dublin, Mac realises things aren’t going to be as easy as she’d hoped, and that Dublin in’t what it seems. Abandoned streets, strangely forgotten by the public, lead her to Barrons Books & Baubles one foggy, wet night.

 

Barrons Books & Baubles seemed to stand bastion between the good part of the city and the bad. To my right, street lamps spilled warm amber light, and people called to each other, laughing and talking. To my left, what few streetlamps still worked shed a sickly, pale glow, and the silence was broken only by the occasional door banging on broken hinges in the wind.

That night, she meets the enigmatic Jericho Barrons, book collector and owner of Barrons Books & Baubles, and he is nothing if not forceful and adamant that she must leave Ireland.

 

“You, Ms. Lane, are in way over your head. Take my advice and extricate yourself while it’s still possible.”

Barron’s is dead set on running Mac out of town, but then he realises they could be of use to each other. Mac, he discovers, is a sidle-seer, a powerful human being that can see the face, and her unique gift of sensing Fae Hallows is of much use to him. Soon, Mac and Barrons forge a reluctant partnership — Barrons will keep her alive in a world quickly being overrun by paranormal monsters, and in exchange, Mac will help Barrons find the Sinsar Dubh.

 

“The Sinsar Dubh is a book.”
“A book? THat’s all? Just a book?” It seemed terrible anti-climactic.
“On the contrary, Ms. Lane, never make that mistake. It is an exceedingly rare and exceeding ancient manuscript countless people would kill to possess.”
“Including you? Would you kill to possess it?” I needed to know exactly where we stood, he and I.
“Absolutely.”

There are numerous reasons why I love the Fever series: the setting (Ireland and Scotland have been two obsessions of mine from a very young age), the characters (Mac and Barrons in particular, but the entire cast is just wonderful and perfectly done), the plot, histories and legends incorporated so well you’d think Ireland truly was infested by murderous castes of Fae ready to take over the world.

As this reader’s second reread, Darkfever, the first book in the series, revealed many plot points easily missed or overlooked the first time. In a fantastical world on the bring of a terrifying, supernatural war, it’s a race against time to find the Sinsar Dubh. Everyone wants it, and they will go to extreme lengths to get their greedy hands on it.

Karen Marie Moning’s very clever creation of a “rainbow” girl (a lover of boys, gossip, clothes, parties and expensive shoes) turning “dark” illustrates how desperately this particular character wants to survive and avenge her sister’s brutal death. Each character is completely and wildly different to the next, bringing new excitement to the page as it is difficult to predict what will happen next.

Also, the tension is one to savour. With battles that spike your adrenaline and thick mystery you can cut with a knife, Darkfever is definitely a book to read and, hopefully, adore.

(Darkfever is the first book in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning.)

Aly Locatelli

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

21. A reader, a writer, a reviewer and a full-time sloth lover. I am addicted to coffee and my laptop, and love reading especially when it's rainy outside.

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