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Monday, January 24, 2011

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning



Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (594 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: Best Book
Review by: Xeranthemum

“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.”

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.

Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.

Shadowfever is everything fans were hoping for with elements that blow past expectations to take readers on a wilder and more intricately stunning ride that they ever could have dreamed.

This is going to be one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever had to write. Initially I will say to readers of this review that Shadowfever is not a standalone read. The power and gripping effect of finally getting answers along with Mac, the heroine, can only be accomplished by reading all the other books in the series first. For readers who have read everything, probably more than once, this book does justice to the pomp and hype of its release.

I’ll start off with Mac. She’s been through a lot of emotional upheaval throughout this journey and it’s not over yet. She is still making discoveries; some will scare her, some will break her heart and some will mortify her. Betrayal and redemption come from unexpected forces and through it all she has friends that stick by her. Some even want to kill her even while working with them. It’s a rickety kind of truce and a reader never knows which way it will go. I still like Mac. I respect her character and her drive. I adore her quirky humor and her mixed and volatile feelings for the sinister and delicious Jericho Barrons. I am impressed that she never quit even when she was faced with the possible truth of her origins. Get ready for a revelation that at first seems the truth; but then Ms. Moning injects doubt and new possibilities only to top it off with a reality I never in my wildest dreams could have seen coming.

Remember Dani? The speedy kid with a heroic bent? A reader will never see it coming. I didn’t. The use of the bulletin pages from Dani was an interesting addition to how Ms. Moning told this tale. It was like reading the National Enquirer on steroids without grammar control. It captured her personality well.

And Darroc, the LM, the bad guy? He’s a big contributor of information to Mac’s goals. It’s how Mac gets that information that was a bit surprising and disturbing. Again, a reader is in for a new twist in this tale and it’s gripping.

As a reader is probably aware, Mac has never liked Rowena though I give her credit for trying. Remember Ro? She’s the head of Haven and always seemed to have it in for Mac. Ms. Moning made it very easy for me to dislike that woman all along but in this book, the reasons are cemented. Wait until you get a load of her version of the truth. I was so angry.

As for V’lane, the fae I vacillated between trust and liking, and being wary and unsure of throughout the series - Wow, I am in awe. I’m not saying another thing other than he is way more than this little mind could have comprehended or conjured. Way to go, Ms. Moning!

The best part about Shadowfever is that I finally get to see my romantic hopes come to fruition. It took long enough, sheesh! But was it worth it? Oh yes, absolutely. Why? Because the raging passion and heartfelt emotions were so poignant and violent they left a lasting impression. There is no doubt that Mac’s love is reciprocated but not in a way conforming to a reader’s expectations. It’s unique to this story and the character that returns it. Notice I’m not saying who. I’m not saying when. By the time the ride comes to a full stop and a reader can release all safety bars and harnesses, it’s practically the happy ever after that I wanted for Mac but better.

But what’s with that tease that Ms. Moning threw in? I can only think of two words -- The Keltars. I’m doing the happy dance because I got to read a terrific book that will stay with me, literally on my keeper shelf, but I am sure I found a hint that those hunky druids will be back. I am a happy reader and I thank Ms. Moning for an astonishingly well-written and exciting experience with characters that confound and amaze throughout a story like no other, and a book that showed that emotions run deeper than anyone ever anticipated.

Shadowfever is a masterpiece, the cherry on top of a sundae, the frothy cream on top of a mocha delight; it’s all of that and more. This book has adventure, great dialogue, excitement and the solving of an age old mystery. The answers to much of the oftentimes asked questions are finally revealed and I couldn’t be happier. Mac is happy and so am I. This is a must read – simple as that.

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