Author: Karen Marie Moning
Number of Pages: 342 (Paperback)
Published: 26th August 2008 by Dell
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.
When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’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….
As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands…. – from Goodreads
I think I’ve found a new book series to love and lose myself in. I’m having something of a Fae phase right now. I read The Falconer a while back and was intrigued by the Fae and wanted to read more about them, so went on the search for something new… And definitely found what I was hoping for, and more, in Darkfever.
Darkfever follows Mac, who ventures to Ireland after her sister is murdered in search of answers, and finds a world far stranger than anything she could possibly have imagined.
Karen Marie Moning introduces us to the Fae, but they’re not what you may expect, for they’re a million miles away from the benevolent little winged creatures who grant wishes in traditional fairytales.
Some of the fae in Darkfever are horrendous monsters, the stuff of nightmares and deadly to humans. They can disguise themselves and so drain the life and soul from an unsuspecting person who remains oblivious until it’s too late.
There are beautiful fae too, but so beautiful, so compelling that they can overwhelm and beguile, with the potential to overpower and enslave humans, who are powerless to resist the allure and glamour of these fae.
So, in the world created in Darkfever, when it comes to the fae it would appear to be a lose lose situation for unsuspecting humankind.
Amongst the horrors are the Gray Man, who literally drains the beauty from a person until there is nothing left, and the shades, who hide in the shadows, just waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Amongst the beautiful is V’Lane, a Seelie prince whom Mac calls a death-by-sex fae. He’s the only one of the more alluring fae so far, but when I say this, you will definitely not be left wanting. He’s more than enough! I doubt the pages could handle more than one with the allure of V’Lane.
Which brings me to the other main male character of the piece – Jericho Barrons.
I am SO torn between V’Lane and Jericho. V’Lane revels in all that he is, and his power to compel intense attraction in humans.
Jericho Barrons is more enigmatic. He’s secretive and mysterious, and is obviously more than he first appears to be. I feel there will be many revelations about his character as the series goes on. He can be evasive and dangerous, and it’s never quite clear exactly what his motives are or where his loyalties truly lie, but there’s definitely a sense that he would never let Mac come to harm. And he is the owner of what sounds like one of the most fantastic bookshops around. I want to visit Barrons Books and Baubles right now!!
The world building and the setting is wonderful. I like Darkfever’s Dublin, steeped in history, beautiful and picturesque, but with a dark, threatening side of which so few people are aware (whole places of the city have literally disappeared from the map, swallowed into what Mac comes to know as the Dark Zones).
I love the way that as Mac learns about this world beyond our own, and the variety of life that exists there, so do we. She records her learning as a journal, which made for immersive reading. There’s also a glossary at the back of the book which details key themes and names and points you in the right direction for pronunciation of unusual fae words, which I referred to a few times whilst reading the book.
Also, the way Mac tells the story, looking back on past events, and her comments of how little she knew compared to the way things are now really draw in the reader – you want to know what Mac has been through, and how she has changed and developed as a character.
Speaking of Mac, I found her very likeable very quickly. Whilst she’s a girly girl, interested in nice clothes and nail polish, she also has great depths, and has experienced real grief in the brutal murder of her sister. She is resilient and determined, and I loved the way she reacted to the revelations about the supernatural world and creatures lurking at the unseen edges of our world. At first incredulous and disbelieving, she thinks Jericho Barrons lied to make her feel foolish, rather than accept without question this strange new world opening up before her.
It is with reluctance but determination to avenge her sister that she decides to confront some harsh truths that throw her previous everyday existence into turmoil. Once she’s on the trail she doesn’t waver, going beyond safe and sensible, venturing alone into dangerous situations.
Darkfever is a great way to start a series, for as soon as you reach the last page you’ll desperately want to know how and when you can get hold of Bloodfever as soon as possible so you don’t have to leave behind the world of Mac and Jericho Barrons.
I am so glad that I’m late in finding this series, because they’re already published up to book 7 (which I think features a different lead character, but I’ll find all this out in time). I don’t think I would have enjoyed the wait between books being published if I’d been reading them as they first came out. For now it’s straight on to book 2.
I enjoyed the book so much it also features in my new On Reading… companion piece for those who have already read the book or don’t mind spoilers.