Novel Review: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

You all know how I love recommendations. Well, Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning was kinda sort of a recommendation but not. You see, I’d been seeing Shadowfever pop all over the place on blogs. People were excited; I was out of the loop, and of course, I was curious. I felt like one of those people who’d never read a Black  Dagger Brotherhood novel by J.R. Ward. So, I decided to start at the beginning–Darkfever. How about the blurb from Ms. Moning’s website:

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…

Tastes are so subjective, the value of them can be questionable. That’s the dilemma I faced with Darkfever. Okay… let’s just get to it. Darkfever wasn’t my kind of read. What’s interesting is I can see why a lot of other people would like it for the very same reasons I didn’t. 🙂

Let’s start with the main character, Mac. She reminded me a lot of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse. In fact, I wouldn’t even be surprised if the two were related. Southern bells, blond, perky cute, and both prone to getting into situations most would avoid. Although, I do believe Mac is a wee less intelligent than Sookie. All-in-all, the Mac/Sookie persona isn’t bad. I admit to being a Sookie follower, even if I think she’s too stupid to live at times. But really, one Sookie is enough for me. Despite the subtle differences, I just couldn’t get into the Mac girl. *Subjective dislike*

Barrons, on the other hand, I liked him. I guess, liked isn’t the exact word. It’s not like I’m fond of him as a person. I’d certainly never befriend him. HOWEVER, the character added a unique flare. Is he good? Is he bad? Just who is this guy? I liked the mystery of Barrons, but would have liked to have learned something significant about him by the end of the story.

Okay… some weird turnoffs for me.

I’m not into fashion. Here’s where my husband had to remind me tastes are subjective. Lots of women are big into the glamor, makeup, clothes, and accessories. The main reason I wear clothing is so others won’t be embarrassed. Some days you can catch me gardening in a nightgown or bathrobe. I don’t think I’ve worn eye shadow since my wedding day, and even then it was so light folks probably didn’t notice. Mac focused A LOT on fashion. As for me, I could care less what funky name her nail polish had or what shade of pink her hair bow was. Frankly, I got tired of reading about her attire and accessories and found myself skipping over paragraphs of description, given in a laundry-list style, to get to the meat of the story. *Subjective dislike*

Then we had the Fae, which is a huge part of the story. Okay, without the Fae, there would be no story. I discovered after reading the Iron King by Julie Kawaga that I wasn’t a fan of the Seelie and Unseelie courts. I like my faeries to be like Tinkerbell… not human-sized beings of royalty. This is where the importance of reading blurbs come into play. Still, I’d heard of Ms. Moning and had wanted to read her works for awhile. So the Fae might not have been a big enough discouragement to have avoided this novel. *Subjective dislike*

Even before I realized this was a Fae novel, I remember thinking this might not be my read, even as early as page 8. You might wonder why I kept reading, because I had contemplated shelving it. I remembered the slow start of Unearthly and how much I loved that novel once I hit around page 40-60. So many people boasted about the Darkfever series, I pushed onward, thinking it might be a funky start.

Well, it wasn’t. The writing style wasn’t to my preference. It was rather rambly. Before you mention Ramblings of an Amateur Author, keep in mind I’m a hypocrite. 🙂 I do things I don’t always enjoy in others. Rambling–yeah… not so fond of listening to others do it. Told from the first person point of view, Mac loved to ramble. I could almost get over that, except she ruined the story in other ways also.

The way this was written was as if Mac was telling me, the reader, what had happened during her adventure in Dublin. I’ve started books written with sentences like you’d never imagined life would be so tough, but I’ve never warmed up to the style (*Subjective dislike). Mac took it one step further with foretelling at the end of most scenes and sometimes in the middle, which made an otherwise okay storyline too predictable for words, and frankly, rather anticlimactic.

Here’s an example by what I mean. I’m all excited about an upcoming fight. I can feel my heart pick up speed in anticipation. Yeah… I get that into books. My eyes are glued to the page. Mac reveals her plan, and I’m like oh yeah! Let’s do this thing. I’m tensed, and then she narrates:

“It could have worked that way, it should have worked that way, but I made one critical error.”

At that moment, I put the book down and contemplate tearing it in half. Why in the world did she ruin the surprise? If anything ruined the book, it was stuff like that in every single scene. Seriously. I’d be hard pressed to find a scene without that kind of foretelling. What’s wrong with slamming a reader with the unexpected when it happens.

Story also hopped back and forth between time rather just telling it in a linear fashion. I hated that. I thought a matter was settled and was ready to move on, since we had. Then she popped back to the time directly after two scenes ago and filled in a gap. Why not just fill in the information so the gap was never there to begin with? *More subjective dislikes*

Finally, the tense wasn’t consistent. Others might not notice or care, for me the switches between past and present tense were jarring. Yeah… I’m all over the place in this post with tense…. but remember… hypocrite.

So Darkfever wasn’t for me, and I’m certainly not ragging on it. This novel/series has received a lot of praise, and I’m sure for good reason. If you’re into the Fae, fashion, and Southern bell-like heroines, you might really dig this work.

I did have a favorite passage. 🙂 Perhaps it’s because I’m as morbid as Mac.

Don’t accuse me of being morbid when I’m merely the product of a culture that buries the bones of the ones they love in pretty, manicured flower gardens so they can keep them nearby and go talk to them whenever they feel troubled or depressed. That’s morbid. Not to mention bizarre. Dogs bury bones, too.

One other thing, if you’re looking for a story with a finite ending, this isn’t it. Darkfever is only the beginning and very open-ended.

Darkfever by Karen Moning is available at:

Barnes & Nobles

Book Depository