Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning
Mass Market Paperback, 347 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Dell (first published 2006)
I’ve been on quite the Faerie kick lately, and had heard good things about Darkfever and the Fever series. The fact that it’s about fae and also involves a murder mystery? I was so in.
Sadly, I was kind of disappointed by this one.
The story begins with Mackayla Lane at home in the southern US lounging by the pool. There she gets a call that changes the course of her life. Her sister, who was studying abroad in Dublin, has been murdered.
Without much to go on, the police close the case unsolved. Mac can’t take that. She thinks that if a member of the family was there to fight for her, the police might spend more time on her sister’s case.
So, Mac heads to Dublin. There, with limited funds, she begins looking into her sister’s life. As she does, she realizes there were things about her sister that she didn’t know.
She also learns that she’s something called a sidhe-seer, meaning she can see through faerie glamour to what they really look like underneath. When she discovers this ability, it thrusts her into an even deeper, darker mystery. And puts her in danger.
The the use of folklore was definitely the book’s strong point. Despite my other feelings, I’m kind of intrigued to read more about the Sinsar Dubh, a mystical dark book that binds all the characters in their search for it.
I’m not really one to need to like characters to find them compelling or to read about them. However, I found Mac and the narration style incredibly annoying. Mac is young and obsessed with finding out what happened her sister. That’s understandable. But she’s constantly doing dumb shit and needing to be saved by Barrons. I’m not here for that.
I’m also not here for the constant and unnecessary description of character’s outfits. I get that Mac loves clothes. I know. They say it a lot. But I don’t need to know what every character is wearing, especially when it has no bearing on the plot. Not only so, but pointing out things like this often made the book feel dated.
Then there’s Barrons. I don’t know what his deal is, but he kind of feels like the alpha male type that thinks he can boss people about and treat them badly just because he is strong and beautiful. Sure, Mac is a bit of a stubborn dingbat, but even she deserves more respect than he gives her. Not only so, but I feel like this asshat Barrons is going to become the love interest. Like, I’m always here for tall, dark, broody strangers. But this guy is an ass. I don’t care if he ends up having a heart of gold because he’s a dick.
Kelley Armstrong pulls off this type of character much better in her Cainsville series. Gabriel is hard, cold, and hard to read, but he’s never an ass. He’s always respectful and polite. He just in a way that sometimes makes him seem unfeeling. Armstrong’s female character also isn’t an idiot damsel in distress. She’s smart and fighter. She and Gabriel save each other. I don’t like the way Moning portrays her female lead.
While I found the setting and folklore compelling overall, I found that the description of most of the Fae involved seemed to be barely sentient monsters that happened to have a couple of powers and be able to disguise themselves (except from sidhe seers like Mac, of course). I want a more complex villain than glorified orcs. I know there is a villain in development and you can see that at the end of the book. But I still wasn’t really satisfied.
I’ve heard that series gets better from here, but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to read it. We’ll see. But, like I said, I do really want to know more about the Sinsar Dubh…
While I have a lot of problems with this book, I did read through it pretty quickly and gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. So… we’ll see!
Have you read the Fever series? Do you think I should continue?
Beth is the founder and editor of Fuelled by Fiction. She is a twenty-something east coast Canadian girl who loves writing about books and feminism.