Fantasy, New Adult Romance, Paranormal, Romance

My Review: A Kingdom of Shadow and Light (Fever #11): by Karen Marie Moning

Publish Date: February 23rd, 2021
Number of Pages: 496 Pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre(s): Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

***WARNING: This review contains spoilers of previous books in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review of book #1 – Darkfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #2 – Bloodfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #3 – Faefever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #4 – Dreamfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #5 – Shadowfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #6 – Iced – Click HERE

To see my review of book #7 – Burned – Click HERE

To see my review of book #8 – Feverborn – Click HERE

To see my review of book #9 – Feversong – Click HERE

To see my review of book #10 – High Voltage – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast for the whole series – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 3.5 Stars

It’s always such a bittersweet moment when you get to the end of a book series that means a whole lot to you and one that you’ve been a big fan of ever since you started it. I haven’t been a fan of the Fever series for as long as some members of the fandom, but I can say that I know that pain that it’s all over; that feeling off being lost and like there’s no longer a presence in your life that you’ve grown used to. What do you do next? What do you read next? Is it better to reread the whole series again or to just begin a new one? This is what some may call a book hangover, and they’re just about as bad as an alcohol-infused one too.

A Kingdom of Shadow and Light was one of my most anticipated books of 2021 (the only others belong to Jennifer L. Armentrout and Sarah J. Maas), and I couldn’t wait to see how Karen Marie Moning was going to end her amazing series! As I kept with the books until the very end, all that’s happened in the story has come back into my mind of when I started book #1, Darkfever: Mac moving to Dublin, meeting Barrons, Darroc, The O’Bannion brothers, Fiona, The Shades, Dreamy Eyed Guy, The Gray Man and Woman, Rowena, the Sinsar-Dubh, the walls coming down, Mallucé, Dancer, the Nine, to Alina coming back to life, to Mac being possessed by the Sinsar-Dubh and eating Jo, and meeting the endgame characters like Dani, Christian, V’lane/Cruce, Ryodan, The Unseelie King, and of course Jericho Barrons. SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED. And now we’re here, it’s the final book….ugh, so many feels!

Upon reading it, either my excitement was getting the best of me or maybe it just wasn’t up to my expectations, but I found myself kind of bored with this book. All the chapters were delving into the minds of whoever’s chapter it was, but by the time I’d reached past page 100, and it felt like hardly anything actually happened… like their chapters were only their inner thoughts filled with recaps and all the questions they had of what was going on, or about sex. They all think about sex a lot, but I’m not really complaining about that since that’s kind of been the tone of the series for quite some time.

Honestly, there’s not a whole lot of things that happened within this book that I was looking forward to, but I go more into all that later on in my review, so I won’t bore you into reading it all twice. What I will show you is my final thoughts on some of the major characters throughout the whole series below:

Mackayla Lane:

What a character… I find it so funny when people gave up on the series too early because they read the first few chapters and decide they can’t stand her and don’t wish to keep reading on. I mean, how do you explain that the Mac at the very beginning and all that she goes through, how much she changes and how much she grows? You can’t, that person just really needs to keep reading and see all that happens for yourself. I see it though, Mackayla Lane wasn’t a great character in the beginning: imagine that stereotypical blonde, bubbly, Elle Woods-esque party girl and that’s all who she was. She’d never really faced any hardships and everything was mindless and easy for her, then the news of her sister’s death rocks her and her family’s whole world apart, but the thing that immediately makes her interesting is the dark vengeance she seeks while her parents stay broken and deep in grief. She’s been through the wringer, I loved how outspoken and strong she became when she (and us readers) got frustrated with V’Lane and Barrons both tugging her along and not sharing any information with her, her relationship with Dani, to her becoming the new Seelie Queen…She’s definitely up there with a lot of the great female heroines of these kinds of stories!

Jericho Barrons:

Karen Moning’s post on the “Moning’s Maniac’s” Facebook page really goes in depth with him as a character, probably more so than anyone else would possibly be able to, but it definitely sheds a whole lot of light of who he is as a character and where he comes from in his personality and overall demeanor when you first meet him. Like Mac, he felt like an incredibly cliché character: the tall, dark, handsome, and brooding masculine figure who’s a potential love interest for the main protagonist. He’s cynical and moody, a textbook example of an Alphahole, and others would say he was even somewhat abusive towards Mac with the mind games he played and the jealousy he showed with Mac and the potential with V’Lane, and he’s most likely someone who has a tragic backstory that left him believing he was too dark to ever find love again…While after reading this series and knowing that it’s kind of true, that doesn’t mean there’s not more to him. As you slowly learn more about him and his past, he becomes so much more fleshed out and three-dimensional. One good thing about him is that he never lost his edge, even as his relationship with Mac changes over the course of the story. He never becomes the dotting, weeping, soft and confessing his love kind of guy to Mac—not that there’s anything wrong with those guys—that’s not who Barrons is. He shows his true feelings through actions and gestures and letting Mac go off and make her own choices while still protecting her when absolutely necessary. He allows her to become a better version of herself, and (eventually) doesn’t alter situations to his liking. They aren’t the perfect couple, but they bring out the best in each other, they know how they both operate, and while it’s not the most romantic love story out in the world, there’s no denying that they’re kind of perfect for each other. I suspected he was the Unseelie King so many times throughout this series too, KMM does totally play with the idea several times, but part of me was still a little put down about the eventual reveal of what kind of creature he is exactly… I was just hoping for something more? Love the character Barrons: he’s a much more complex character than some give him credit for!

Ryodan:

I liked the mystery around Ryodan as we first met him in these books. He was one of the numbers Mac was to call if she was ever alone and in extreme danger, and just like Barrons, he was a total Alphahole. It’s weird, but I hate those kinds of characters and kind of love them at the same time? It’s complicated… but part of me really liked how much of an asshole this guy was at the beginning. I think it’s the antihero character trope that I like surrounding his arc, but he’s incredibly far from our typical Superman-like heroes. Despite their animosity towards each other for most of the books if not all, I really enjoyed the banter between him and Mac. Of course, she gets another alpha male who keeps her out of the loop, reminds her of the danger she’s in, while he’s secretly wondering what Barrons sees in her—c’mon, you know it’s true, especially when they first meet!) His relationship with Dani over the course of the series is… interesting to say the least. It’s certainly not the most orthodox love story in the world of literature, and it was funny/strange/curious to see how torn the fandom was about it ever since the potential for them to end up together started in book #6, Iced. Some would call it disturbing because an ancient being is lusting after and grooming a 14-year-old girl, but their story goes through so many twists and turns that you eventually get used to it? There’s a lot of factors that come into play with it, but what I can say is that once they ended up together I exhaled a deep sigh of relief and uttered “Finally…” I will say, it felt like he was a much different character in book #10, High Voltage, and it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. He felt so much more angsty and pining and moody than he usually is, and even listens to “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus with Dani in the car…there’s more than just that, but it just didn’t feel like a believable shift for him as a character, but that book is so random in general. No worries though, still like him as a character, and his conclusion in this final book is incredibly fitting ac

Dani O’Malley:

I did not really care for her for a good chunk of the series, specifically the first few books. A lot of other fans seemed to be so “TeamDani” or “TeamMega” and I was just not seeing it. To me she was just a bratty teenager who was the Robin to Mac’s Batman, but I will say when we make the startling discovery of her involvement of the murder of Mac’s sister in Shadowfever, I’ll admit that was when my interest began to pique. I was still not sold on her in Iced—the first book that focuses on her as the main protagonist—but she was still continuing to grow on me, but I began to like her once the whole storyline with her and her Jada alter ego came into play. I liked her a whole lot more towards the end of the Fever series, but based on my observation of her two books being my least favorite, I can also say that in my opinion, Dani was not meant to lead these books, that’s Mac. I say it would’ve been better off possibly to make a whole new series revolving around her, but the books work as a unit either way! I can say I didn’t see how Dani’s arc was going to end, I think the whole thing with the hunters is so random, but I like that she eventually ended up with Ryodan, even if the whole journey there was all over the place…

V’Lane/Cruce:

I knew there was something off about V’Lane from the very beginning… I didn’t know what exactly it was, but I knew his loyalty and what side he was on was definitely called into question ever since we met him in the very beginning. He was definitely a more well developed villain than most in a fantasy series, and KMM managed to add some real depth to him as the books still were being published by making him a character with deep daddy issues with the Unseelie King, yet ultimately turning him into a mirror copy of him too. The road to vengeance usually never ends well for the one to travel down its dark path, but Cruce kind of lost himself along the way and became the very thing he hates most in his existence, and that of course is his father. I’ll admit it was the most fun with him when he was still under the disguise of V’lane and there was some mind games/potential love interest with Mac in the first five books with Barrons as his competition. He was fun even past that phase of the whole series, and his mind games became even more sinister and insidious as he visited his enemies/victims in their dreams and delighted in their torment. Overall, he was a fun villain for the series, and it was great to see how he outsmarted Mac and the others over the course of the eleven books!

Christian Mackeltar:

I felt so bad for Christian throughout the whole series, he always seemed to get the short end of the stick with a lot of situations… not having a chance with Mac, getting sucked into another dimension, getting turned into an Unseelie Prince by Mac (on accident), plus probably more but those were the big ones. I understood his anger towards Mac and Barrons and his need to exact his form of justice, but I’m also relieved he didn’t go fully dark on us too and remained a good guy despite being turned into a bad guy’s body…I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I’m rolling with it! I liked him a lot, and I’m glad he gets his own HEA moment in this final book, LORD knows he deserves it!

Lor:

Once he became a more prominent character in book #7, Burned, I quickly grew to like him! Sure, he was a total manwhore, but at least he was upfront about it. Him and Jo had a rather nice dynamic when they were hooking up and I thought they’d make it until the very end, but then Mac freakin’ ate her! I hate when that happens… I wish Lor stayed more prominent in the series, but once his relationship with Jo met a brutal end, he kind of went back into the background, which is disappointing. I really hope KMM considers making a spinoff series with the Nine and he’s right at the forefront where he belongs!

Dancer:

He’s a really conflicting character because I really do like him, but if I can be an asshole for a second, this boy was kind of plot convenience for Dani and her eventual storyline with Ryodan. He was the younger love interest for Dani when she was 14 and Ryodan was wayyyyyyyyyyyy too old for her, and we met him in book #6, Iced, when Dani has distanced herself from Mac but still hunts unseelie fae to protect Dublin. He was adorable and kind of dorky, but him and Dani had a really cute dynamic. Part of me felt bad for him because lets be honest, Dani and Ryodan were obvious endgame since the idea was introduced to us, but so then the question was raised about what would happen to Dancer? Truth hit hard, because once his heart condition was revealed later, I knew he was a goner. I didn’t know when exactly, but no writer reveals a character has a serious medical condition like that and NOT kill them off at some point, but of course it’s after him and Dani make love for the first time…heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking. I liked him as a character, but I can’t ignore how his death was a catalyst to help push Dani and Ryodan to be together.

Kat McLaughlin:

I hate to say it, but I just don’t really have an opinion on her. She’s tough, she’s brave, but so are so many other characters… I just didn’t really see much from her that really set her apart other than how she was a great choice to become the new leader of the Sidhe-Seers once Rowena was gone. I found myself really bored with her chapters…

Rowena:

That bitch can choke.

What It’s About:

The official blurb:

MacKayla Lane faces the ultimate threat when war breaks out between the kingdoms of shadow and light, as the #1 New York Times bestselling Fever series races to an explosive revelation.

From the moment MacKayla Lane arrived in Dublin to hunt her sister’s murderer, she’s had to fight one dangerous battle after the next: to survive, to secure power, to keep her city safe, to protect the people she loves.

The matter of who’s good and who’s evil can be decided by the answer to a single question: Whose side are you on?

Now, as High Queen of the Fae, Mac faces her greatest challenge yet: ruling the very race she was born to hunt and kill – a race that wants her dead yesterday, so they can put a pure-blooded Fae queen on the throne.

But challenges with her subjects are the least of her concerns when an ancient, deadly foe resurfaces, changing not only the rules of the game but the very game itself, initiating a catastrophic sequence of events that have devastating consequences and leave Mac questioning everything she’s ever learned and everyone she’s ever loved. Now begins an epic battle between Mortal and Fae, Seelie and Unseelie, would-be kings and would-be queens, with possession of the Unseelie King’s virtually unlimited power and the fate of humanity at stake.

From the exquisite, deadly gardens of the High Queen’s court, to long-forgotten truths found in the Sacred Grove of Creation, from the erotic bed of her enigmatic, powerful lover to the darkest, seductive reaches of the Unseelie kingdom, Mac’s final journey takes her places no human has been before, and only one human could possibly survive…One who’s willing to sacrifice everything.

What I Liked:

  1. Christian Gets A Love Interest! First thing I can say about this is FINALLY! After getting the short end of the stick for basically the entire series, KMM finally threw him a freakin’ bone and allowed him a little bit of happiness to put an end to his whole overall story arc.
  2. Someone Becomes The New Unseelie King! Yes, the floating Shades-like power of the Unseelie King finally makes a decision on who is the best choice to take over, and when you find out it’s such a Duh! moment, like once it happens it’s like such an obvious choice; how did I never even think of that?! As long as you’ve known them in the series, they showed they are more than up to the task!
  3. More Mac & Barrons Romance! So RyodanxDani fans will be disappointed, but once again MacxBarrons are put in the center of this book’s plot even though KMM said their storyline is basically done—yeah, and this series was supposed to end on two separate occasions too—but honestly I’m not complaining because I really enjoy them and their dynamic. It’s changed dramatically since the earliest books and now Barrons even sits back and allows Mac to make her own major decisions and offers his reassurance whenever she needs it, plus reminds her that no matter what choices she makes, he’ll be by her side no matter what. It’s weird because I don’t think he actually ever says the words “I love you” out loud and in that order, but his own words and actions prove it and makes their relationship more deep and meaningful than most of the other relationships I’ve ever read!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Attention on the Seelie Ice Princess… At this point in the series with it being book #11 and the final final book, why would there be so much emphasis on a character like this? I wasn’t sold on it unless KMM plans to maybe have it be a potential new spinoff series she’d work on in the future. She wasn’t a bad character by any means, but why should I care about her and the other Seelie Court royalty and not address other things that have been around in the books for much longer?
  2. Lacking Action… The first chunk of this book was boring. Just being blunt, but too much of it was just all about the introspective mindsets of most of the main characters, and by page 100 I’m like: “…Nothing has actually happened. All they’re doing is recapping everything that’s happened already…” I don’t like it when authors excessively do this… some people like in case it’s been awhile since they’ve read the books, but I know that most readers also usually do rereads before the new book releases, so a little recap is fine, but trust your readers have a better memory than what you’re giving them credit for.
  3. Where were the Old Earth Gods?… Literally nonexistent in this book…So what was the point of bringing them into the series in the previous book? Sure, the big baddie Balor was defeated and killed by Dani, but what about AOZ or the others? They were technically still alive to my knowledge, but just never showed up again? Really disappointed they didn’t make an appearance and have a badass battle amongst the Fae, who are their sworn enemies.
  4. Dani Captured… to add further disappointment to those who are really big fans of this relationship, Dani is captured and is basically separated from the whole group for the whole book! It becomes more significant when you realize why later on in the book, but this also made it so KMM didn’t give us some much needed interactions between her and Lor, her and Ryodan and Shazam, or even her and Kat, and I just find it disappointing we didn’t get these interactions in the book at all.

Conclusion:

Overall, It was a nice way to wrap up the whole dang series, but I feel like the author didn’t put attention in some the right storylines in order to make this book “great” instead of just “good.” I enjoyed the book, especially towards the end, but there was quite a few things left out that I can’t help but be disappointed that it didn’t happen. I kind of want to compare this book to Holly Black’s The Queen of Nothing from her The Folk of the Air trilogy because it has some similar issues: the romance between the two main characters is great and goes incredibly far, the heroine’s relationship with the villain is addressed and shows complexity from it’s timeline through the whole series, but a lot of the interesting side storylines just get pushed to the background or ignored entirely. Not enough factors made it into the final draft in order to make this book as satisfying as we wanted it to be.

I’m someone who only just recently got into this series, at least I got into it a lot later back in December 2019 when this series has been around since, like, 2006? I hope the readers that have been with these books since the very beginning fully enjoyed this final installment.

I can still say this is has been one of my favorite book series in recent memory; the first five books were the major highlight for me for their twisted ways of revealing backstory and lore, and how they’re more cohesive and jump off each other as a stronger unit than the books afterwards. They were more tightly packed and exciting, where the later books up until book #9, Feversong, felt like the author played around with her worldbuilding but couldn’t gain as good of a footing with the plot/major conflict of them as a whole. They’re still worth checking out, but I can’t deny it that there was something magical about the first five books.

Yet another series draws to a close, I’m a mix of emotions as these books have been a large part of my thoughts and interest ever since I started them. They’re for sure going to be taking up room on my personal shelf for quite some time, and I plan to do a huge reread sometime in the future, and I hope you readers have enjoyed the journey along with me and got plenty of entertainment with reading along with me & reading my emotionally driven reviews of each book along the way too.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, New Adult Romance, Paranormal, Romance

My Review: High Voltage (Fever #10): by Karen Marie Moning

***Warning! This review contains spoilers to previous books in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review of book #1 – Darkfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #2 – Bloodfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #3 – Faefever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #4 – Dreamfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #5 – Shadowfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #6 – Iced – Click HERE

To see my review of book #7 – Burned – Click HERE

To see my review of book #8 – Feverborn – Click HERE

To see my review of book #9 – Feversong – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series up to this point – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 3.5 Stars

Yet another crazy installment to what has very quickly been a favorite series of mine, I’m a little bummed that my reaction to it is…less than enthusiastic as it has been with the other books. This was a potential fear of mine going in since I had similar feelings about the other book that had Dani as the main protagonist: Iced. Like that book earlier down the line, I just thought this book wasn’t as exciting and was honestly just a lot more random and weird. I like Dani enough, she’s really grown into a strong character after everything she’s endured, but I guess I’m still just not the biggest fan of her taking center-stage in these books. There are other qualms I had with this book too, but don’t you worry, I have those further down in this review.

I’m not surprised but still disappointed about my fears becoming true with this book, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book by any means! It still had its high moments, mainly with how her relationship with Ryodan continues to develop and how this series is continuing overall because it’s always hard to say goodbye to a world and cast of characters you care so much for, even if it seems like this series could’ve ended twice now in both Shadowfever and Feversong. I’m still all for the next book: A Kingdom of Shadow and Light and know that Karen Marie Moning won’t let her fans down and that it will be an exhilarating conclusion to these books that have been going on for like 15 years now.

I would say this book’s biggest downfall was that it all mostly felt like setup for that final book to come. It had a lot more filler and hints at the final war several times while giving you just enough to keep you interested in reading on, but I still felt like more could’ve happened to help make this book feel more exciting in itself. You get to see just about every major character at least once in this book, some have bigger storylines going on than others like usual, but this brings me back to my comment about it all just being setup. With the exception of Dani and Ryodan, there wasn’t a whole lot of conclusions or wrap-ups for anyone else, so I’m to expect that all in the eleventh book itself.

What It’s About:

The official blurb:

There is no action without consequence…

Dani O’Malley was nine years old when the delusional, sadistic Rowena transformed her into a ruthless killer. Years later, she’s tough, hardened, yet achingly vulnerable and fiercely compassionate, living alone by her own exacting code. Despite the scars on her body, driven by deeper ones carved into her soul, no one is more committed to protecting Dublin. By day, she ensures the safety of those she rescues, by night she hunts evil, dispensing justice swiftly and without mercy, determined to give those she cares for the peace she has never known.

There is no power without price…

When the Faerie Queen used the dangerously powerful Song of Making to heal the world from the damage done by the Hoar Frost King, catastrophic magic seeped deep into the earth, giving rise to horrifying, unforeseen consequences–and now deadly enemies plot in the darkness, preparing to enslave the human race and unleash an ancient reign of hell on Earth.

There is no future without sacrifice…

With the lethal, immortal Ryodan at her side, armed with the epic Sword of Light, Dani once again battles to save the world but her past comes back to haunt her with a vengeance, demanding an unspeakable price for the power she needs to save the human race and no one—not even Ryodan who’d move the very stars for her—can save her this time… 

What I Liked:

  1. More Mythology Explored! I was curious to see how this book was going to keep the series alive because let’s be honest, KMM could’ve (and kind of did) end this series twice now! It felt like she’s ended the books at both Shadowfever and Feversong (the blurb in the book even said it’s the final installment I’m sure), so what else could possibly happen?! I’ll tell you what: more Irish Mythology, that’s what! KMM has used small chunks of certain stories within as inspiration to her own world-building and adding her own twists to it, and this time she uses another race of beings to stir the pot and add more tension! I won’t go into details past that, you have to read to see what I mean.
  2. Dani and Ryodan’s Relationship! First thing I can say is FIN-AL-LY! These two have been so back and forth in revealing their feelings for each other and all that’s gone down, I’ve been to the point of wanting to shake them and be like “JUST F*CK ALREADY!” (They could both literally kill me in the worst ways if I ever did that, and I can say I was like this once Burned happened for statutory reasons). I’m just happy they can finally, like, be together because talk about being drawn out longer than needed…Sure, I did feel like there wasn’t nearly as much sexual tension as there has been in the previous books; the scene in a previous book where he’s tattooing her and licks her had more heat than anything that happens in this book, but I liked them finally being together at the very least!
  3. Dancer’s Letter! Holy Crap…somehow our lovable little boy genius can take our hearts away even post death because that letter he ended up leaving for Dani HURT. Like, ouch that ached like a mofo right in the chest! Without saying all that it reveals, it certainly shows everyone including Dani herself, not only how much Dancer cared about her but Ryodan too! Man, oh man…read it yourself and try not to get even a little teary eyed afterwards.
  4. Shazam’s Random Twist! Okay to be honest, I’m actually pretty torn about this whole development…I wouldn’t say I love it but I don’t hate it either, the whole thing is just so super random! It’s like, what was the point of all this?…Maybe it was all a part of KMM’s plan to help Dani and Ryodan stay together forever so they can be immortal together too? I really don’t know…
  5. There’s A Lemur! A random little tidbit really, but Mac conjures up one to hang out around one in the bookstore as part of her training to work on her magical abilities, and seeing how pissy Barrons gets about the creature making a mess in the store was just such a random delight!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Writing Style Just Felt Different…Something honestly just felt off about this book, kind of like how I felt about Iced since that’s the other book that centers around Dani more. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t like how KMM tries to sound like a 14 year old in that one then a 22 year old in this one, but it felt a little out of place when compared to the other books with Mac on the forefront. There did seem to be a lot more pop culture references than usual, and maybe that’s the author’s way of being in Dani’s head? Maybe it’s just how with Iced and Burned the overall series plot became more muddled? I’m honestly not sure…
  2. First Chunk Missing Major Characters…Right off the bat it’s revealed that pretty much all the main characters whom anyone who’s stayed with this series up to this point loves by now: Mac, Barrons, Lor and the rest of The Nine, Kat, and even Ryodan all leave and are off to do other things. They all just leave Dani in Dublin, and having that happen right away in the beginning was a major turnoff for me…It’s like when you’re out with your friend group at the bars, and suddenly they all get up to go to the bathroom together, and you’re stuck there alone with one of their random significant others whom you’ve never interacted with up until that point! I like Dani, don’t get me wrong, but she certainly can’t carry my interest through the whole book by herself. This made it hard to want to keep reading on, especially as I’m in a major book slump at the time I’m typing this.
  3. The Plot Is Overall Slower…Like with how the writing just felt off about this book, the plot felt so much slower too. Everyone leaves Dublin to do other things and tasks, and once we even get a sliver of something interesting with a new villain emerging from the shadows, there’s only one scene with them and then that’s it! The boss villain who they work for also didn’t really appear all that much either, and I think this book could’ve been a lot more exciting in that regards.
  4. Ryodan Felt Off…There was so much angst rolling off his wide and sexy shoulders, his time away from Dani in the beginning felt like he’d transformed into a lovesick emo kid who listens to Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” too much in his freetime. Sure, he finally just grows a pair and reveals how deep his feelings for Dani really go, but I felt like the cool, calm, and collected asshole nightclub owner shifted and became a much different character. I’m all for growth and development of a character through a series, this is why I freakin’ love Barrons, but this development for him felt like it wasn’t as successful. His new nickname for her: “Stardust” also felt a little cheesy for me, but I did like the image of him, Dani, and Shazam frollicking around on other planets together in their beast modes. It was still very cheesy, but also at least got a chuckle out of me.
  5. Random Character Death…While I’m glad he’s gone, I thought even this character deserved a bigger death than what he got. He’s able to spread out with thousands of little bodies to spy on whomever he pleases, but having his death only mentioned by a different character in the end felt really anticlimactic…

Conclusion:

Well there’s one more addition to this series, and I gotta say that it’s quite a random addition too. It’s still good, it’s still enjoyable, but it feels like it’s reaching a little bit further by this point in order to stay alive and interesting. Most fans seem to enjoy it, but I’m wondering to myself why I consider it one of the weaker books in the whole series, the other one being Iced? Maybe I’m not as big of a fan of Dani as I like to try and convince myself I am, because those are her two books!

They’re still enjoyable to read, and I am in a bit of a self-diagnosed reading slump at this moment in time in the middle of a really (really) cold winter and still being in a pandemic along with the usual issues with anxiety and depression…but besides all that, I wasn’t up late into the night wanting to see what happens next. I got a glimmer of excite when another race of beings were reawakened with the Song of Making in Feversong and their feud with the Tuathe de Danann (the Fae) is adding fuel to the war that’s to come in the next and final book of the whole series, but it wasn’t explored enough as I’d hoped. It was merely hinted at and was set up for all that’s to come in The Kingdom of Shadow and Light, which I’m glad to say is coming out in just over a week from the date I’m typing this.

I feel like this series has been with me for so much longer than just a little over a year now, but maybe that’s because so much happens and the characters have gone through so much and have grown all alongside it all. I can’t imagine how some fans must feel that the series is drawing to a close after 15 years of being a part of it all! While my reaction to this book was lukewarm, that certainly doesn’t deteriorate my excitement for the next and final book! I will definitely be going to my local B&N to grab a hardcover copy to add to my shelf once I read it.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

My Review: Feverborn (Fever #8): by Karen Marie Moning

Publish Date: January 16th, 2016

Number of Pages: 436 Pages

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

***Warning!!! This review contains spoilers from the previous books in the series, continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!!!***

To see my review of book #1 – Darkfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #2 – Bloodfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #3 – Faefever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #4 – Dreamfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #5 – Shadowfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #6 – Iced – Click HERE

To see my review of book #7 – Burned – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 2.75 Stars

When you love too hard, you can lose the will to live without them. Everywhere you look is a great big sucking absence of what you once had and will never have again. And life gets weirdly flat and too sharp and painful at the same time, and nothing feels right and everything cuts.”

– Karen Marie Moning, “Feverborn”

I’m going to start off by saying how I find it so strange how torn the Fever series is ever since Karen Marie Moning continued after the fifth book, Shadowfever. I will say, the first five books do stand together as a united front while it had a lot of the issues tied up to reach a reasonable conclusion while a few story aspects were left up in the air, and all the books past it have seemed to veer off, or teeter totter, to explore more uncharted territory while not feeling like KMM is fully latching onto one main conflict anymore. Some people loved Iced, some didn’t, and the same can be said for Burned and now the latest book I’ve read in the series: Feverborn. I try to see all sides in the points made from other reviewers as to why they liked or disliked the books, all while making sure I kept my own opinions on them, and I can conclude that I’m in the subgroup that wasn’t a huge fan of Iced, I loved Burned, and I liked Feverborn just a smidge more than Iced, but I still didn’t love it.

For me, I’ve been pretty open to the spread out feeling that KMM has given us with this phase 2 of the series as I like to call it. Both Iced and Burned allowed her to explore new ideas as to where the series could possibly go next. There are several big conflicts with Cruce and the Black-holes that both threaten the future of our world, and there’s a much larger cast of characters to develop now that the spotlight is shining away from Mac and Barrons a little bit more. Characters like Dani, Ryodan, Christian, Jo, Jada, Kat, and Lor have been given excellent development and only add to series in a positive way—although I like how people are torn about Ryodan showing more emotion in these later books.

I guess for Feverborn, I’m officially at the point of impatience and I want to look at KMM and be like “Girl… just pick a direction already… and stop with the so many recaps we get in literally every book!” This book just felt off because not that much really happened. It’s another thick volume to add to the stack, but that’s only because it’s once again filled with the many inner monologues/thought processes and the many recaps we’ve gotten so often before. Sure, I’m binge-reading these back to back and not waiting a year like if I were to have been reading these books as they release, but c’mon Karen… we get it already! It’s book 8 in the series already, and honestly I thought we’d get further along by now with all that’s going down.

For me, this was just a slower read with a lack of REALLY important plot points happening not until the last fifty or so pages when all of a sudden everything is happening at once, and at least then it seriously revived this book. The ending was the saving grace with all that happens with Jada, Ryodan, and Mac of course! I won’t spoil it, but wow does Karen know how to leave a heart-wrenching cliffhanger!

I’m not gonna lie, this book is making me not want to immediately get into the next one, Feversong, quite as quickly even though there’s that killer cliffhanger I mentioned. I don’t know… maybe I’m nervous about me losing faith in Karen and the series because it’s been so back and forth with these last three books in the series. I love the continuation and the fact that we’re getting more material, but I can’t disagree that it’s been majorly inconsistent when compared to the first five books, and there’s even sub-groups of the fandom that only regard those as the actual series.

There were plenty of things I did like about this book, never fear! There was more romance than normal in this one which I can appreciate; Karen has been matching her characters together and so far I haven’t been disappointed with any of the actual pairings. As we’ve known for awhile now, Cruce is not completely out of the picture and is plotting his escape, so I can’t wait to see when that finally happens. and of course, that cliffhanger ending that has us absolutely terrified because it reveals something maybe all us fans were afraid was going to happen at some point.

What It’s About:

Continuing immediately off the previous book, Burned, we’re back down in Ryodan’s office with our favorite blond member of the pack of nine, Lor, and an invisible Mac to discover something quite unexpected: Dageus Mackeltar isn’t dead! In fact, by the look of it, he’s become a tenth member of the pack of nine… Ryodan is keeping him in a dark cavern while the new member is getting used to his new situation.

The issue of the black holes forming all over is still becoming a huge issue too. In book #6, Iced, a powerful unseelie monster that was known as the Hoar Frost King left these vortex’s that are pretty much mini black-holes wherever he appeared and caused frozen destruction. He’s gone, but these black-holes aren’t, and if they continue to grow and pop up like they are, it’s only a matter of time before the whole planet is sucked in and life as we all know it is absolutely fucked…

There’s an organization called “WeCare” that’s printing off dailies like Dani’s, and they have officially put a price on the heads of Mac, Jada, and the pack of nine…

Cruce is still plotting to get free from the Abbey and is getting some help…

Christian might have to make uneasy alliances in order to help reunite him with his uncle…

Lor and Jo continue doing their thing…

And someone you never thought you’d ever see again makes a shocking return…

What we achieve at our best moment doesn’t say much about who we are. It all boils down to what we become at our worst moment.”

– Karen Marie Moning, “Feverborn”

What I Liked:

  1. New Monster: The Sweeper! Yet Another nasty boss character is introduced into the series: an old, “god-like” character called “The Sweeper” who is actually the real leader behind those weird-ass, creepy cloaked ZEW’s—Zombie-Eating Wraiths—that have been following Mac around since Iced. Not much is known about him, and what is known is revealed in this book and I can’t spoil that for readers, but just know going in that it can’t be good if even the Unseelie King, or technically “Dreamy Eyed Guy,” warns Mac to stay away from him like he did in Burned!
  2. Lot’s of Romance! Like a Sarah J. Maas novel, it seems like all the main characters are getting paired off into couples, some are further along than others, of course. With this is mind, there’s a lot of sex in this book! Like, more sex than usual within one book in this series, which I can’t complain about! Barrons and Mac are still one of my favorite literary couples ever, and they go at it no-holds-barred whenever they get the chance! The romantic tension between Jada and Ryodan seductively continues into this book as well as they slowly but surely learn they need to rely on each other and earn each other’s trust once again, but not without some steamy tattooing scenes between them.
  3. Cruce is Plotting! It’s still moving at a slow pace, but Cruce is still very much in the picture, and he’s not working alone… More happens along these regards, but again, I don’t want to spoil too much!
  4. New Major Goal: Find the Song of Making! So I love how KMM is incorporating more of what happened in Iced even more relevant towards the whole series plot, which are how the black holes that are popping up in every location that the Hoar Frost King had struck. Soon, the entire world could be sucked away and just disappear forever, and it’s learned that the only way to save everyone is to find a spell to use The Song of Making: the Fae’s most pure and powerful form of magic, the most powerful force in the universe. All forms of life stems from it, and it’s a tool that has been passed down from every Seelie Fae Queen to the next, and it’s only to be used in the most dire of emergencies. Ryodan and Barrons have a plan to find out how to use it to save the world!
  5. That Cliffhanger Ending! Wow… what a cruel way to end this book! I loved it even though I’m not okay after it, and I also read it close to 4 in the morning and couldn’t fall asleep afterwards! Worth it though! I won’t give it away, but all I can say is that you’re rewarded with a small victory for two main characters, but then something that we’ve all feared happening becomes canon… do with that what you will!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. It Felt Like Not as Much Happened…Not gonna lie… Except for the last 50 or so pages, it’s exactly what I said for this point. There were some startling discoveries here and there, but overall I felt like it was the slowest moving book of the whole series! I still liked it more than Iced, but even that book had more going on than this one! It was just a lot of filler with recaps and repetitiveness that we’ve seen since the beginning of the series that we really shouldn’t be seeing by this point.
  2. Where’s the Unseelie Princess?…Where’d you go? I miss you so. Seems like it’s been forever… that you’ve been gone. Okay seriously…. where this bitch at? She has probably one of the coolest introductions into this whole series in the previous book, Burned, and she doesn’t even make an appearance in this one! She’s only mentioned, but c’mon, if even Cruce and the Unseelie Princes are shocked about her, you can’t just leave her out like that! I WANT MORE
  3. Jada’s New Friend…Turns out Jada has a new roommate that goes by the name Shazam. They met while she’d been in the Mirrors for five and a half years, and it turns out she’d brought him back with her into the Abbey with the other Sidhe-Seers… There’s more to this development, but honestly, I thought it was a bit of a stretch. Not that I’ve experienced trauma quite like Dani/Jada has, but this whole storyline just seemed odd to me, and I’m still not entirely sold on the whole “Jada” alter ego thing either…
  4. A Surprise Return…I’m not going to say who, but someone who you believed to never to be seen again makes quite a shocking return to Dublin, and you’d actually never guess who! While I certainly love the unpredictability of it, I’m also extremely torn because it also ruins a character’s whole story arc at the same time. I’m really hoping there’s more explanation on this in the next book, where I feel like their presence will help against how this book ends.

Conclusion:

Feverborn is Another thrilling and unpredictable addition to Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, but probably the slowest of all the books too. It felt like not as much happened in this title, and I wasn’t as into it until the very end when everything goes wrong. I still say I liked it more than Iced, but that doesn’t mean I still wasn’t disappointed with Feverborn, or that I don’t wish more happened in this book. The issue was the too many recaps that occur… sure, a lot is going on in this story and a lot has also already happened to get us all to this point, but I read the hardcover version of this book, and it is a thicccc volume when it feels like it didn’t need to be.

I love the higher number of romance scenes in this title; FINALLY we get past the sometimes juvenile arguments between Barrons and Mac and just let them be together and put more angst on the other developing couples.

That cliffhanger ending is one hell of a doozy, so of course I want to sink my teeth into the next installment, Feversong, which is already the second to the last book of the whole dang series! I feel like KMM has announced that this series will end, like, three times already but then just keeps going with it anyways, which I won’t complain about, as the Fever series is probably the biggest literary obsession of my 2020.

Maybe with how the next book is set that KMM will finally crank up the nitrous oxide and speed us to where the series should be at this point; we will have to wait and see.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, Paranormal

My Review: Burned (Fever #7): by Karen Marie Moning

Publish Date: January 20th, 2015
Number of Pages: 457 Pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

***Warning!!! This book contains spoilers from the previous books in the series! Continue at your own risk, you’ve officially been warned!!!***

To see my review of book #1 – Darkfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #2 – Bloodfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #3 – Dreamfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #4 – Faefever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #5 – Shadowfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #6 – Iced – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

With the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning getting up there in the number of books it holds, it still manages to completely thrill, completely keep me guessing what will happen next, completely OBSESS over the couples developing and the romance in general, and continue to introduce intriguing characters to keep the story feeling fresh!

I liked but didn’t love the previous book, Iced, but that’s just because I wasn’t completely sold of having the story shift over to the 14-year-old Dani O’Malley, who for awhile was Mac’s partner in crime and best friend until their falling out when it turned out Dani had a hand in the murder of Mac’s sister. That truly made Dani a much more interesting character for me, but I still wasn’t completely behind having her become the main protagonist. I liked her a little more after reading Iced, but I still think she has a ways to go before I’m 100% behind her. With all this in mind, I was happy to see Mac return to the spotlight in this book.

Now, while I loved Burned, I do need to give somewhat of a warning that it doesn’t have all that much of an actual plot, it’s more about developing a lot of the characters. By plot, I mean it just lacks a more direct focus like the previous books did. One of the main points of the story is defeating the Crimson Hag and rescuing Christian Mackeltar from her clutches, but there’s so much else that’s going on it’s actually kind of crazy, but I go more into that in the next section. What I can say is this book may feel like a bunch of filler/set up for what’s to happen later, but that’s not exactly anything too new when it comes to this series… This book is just more substantial in size when compared to the earlier books before Shadowfever, and while it may be a lot of filler material, that in no way means this book is weaker in comparison to the rest of the story so far! The character development is absolutely top notch, and there’s so much depth added to those that you honestly didn’t think it’d happen for! Ryodan, Dani, Kat, Jo, and even Lor get some major limelight cast upon them and you read more into them and the relationships they’re forming amongst the growing cast.

I was especially surprised at how much more I liked Lor after reading this book, but it just further proves at how KMM really knows how to write alpha-holes. She may even be better at it than Sarah J. Maas, but I’m still up in the air about that comparison as both do such an amazing job! Lor was actually a really fun character to get inside the head of! He turned out to be a hidden treasure. I mean, he’s a total beef-head himbo who only cares about tits and ass and long, blonde hair, but he still has his moments; he especially shines when he gets with a certain character, and shows his protective side with Dani. He totally gives me Chris Hemsworth as Marvel’s Thor vibes, or his character in the Ghostbusters female led reboot, and I loved every second of it, especially when he…

***Spoiler Alert***

…goes Pri-ya!

This was definitely the funniest book by far with the rest of the series so far too! Lor got involved with some of it which is also partly why I love him now, but KMM allowed for a lot more humor to show up with one particular character gets themselves into a little conundrum, but takes advantage of it all the same! I go more into it down below!

Ryodan also really surprised me in this book too! Multiple things get revealed about him, but one thing in particular I need to address is when he’s talking and admits a bit of his history with Dani and how he’s been watching over her over the years as like a guardian-angel sort of figure, not that she was aware of it. It’s not as creepy as it sounds, but what he says was actually really touching and made me absolutely, 100% behind him as a character and now an excellent candidate to add to my ever-growing list of book boyfriends (click to see my list so far, part 2 is coming soon!)

One thing I’m confused about is the idea of the trilogy that was supposed to focus on Dani and Ryodan that started with Iced… is that still a thing, or was that plan crossed out? Will other books go back to them, or it’s just done and forgotten about? If anyone wants to get back to me on that, it’d be greatly appreciated! I didn’t find anything myself after a google search, but I might have skipped over it without even knowing it. I admit though, the idea of this side trilogy may be put on hold/cancelled after what happens in this book too, but who knows honestly…

Overall, Burned is yet another great addition to what has to be my top pick for favorite book/series of 2020 so far: the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning! While it lacks a main focus/conflict, its main focus was the character development, and boy was there an amazing amount of it! So much is explored and hinted at for more to come, and even though Cruce is defeated… for now… there’s still plenty of danger to go around and plenty of drama to keep the series thriving and our minds racing!

What It’s About:

Burned continues immediately after how Iced ended: Mac and Dani finally have their much anticipated face-off. We learned back in Shadowfever that it was actually Dani who lead Mac’s sister, Alina, to her death by an Unseelie monster which lead Mac to coming over to Dublin in the first place. However, we also learned that Dani’s former leader, Rowena, actually used her Sidhe-Seer abilities of coercion to make Dani perform the terrible act, which Dani doesn’t know that Mac knows about that. It’s all a very twisty circumstance, but both sides desperately just need to hash it out already in order to make amends and get on the same page again, so long as they can actually face not only the other person, but themselves…

The Unseelie Princes have teamed up, and are gaining Pri-ya followers, a new Seelie ruler, plus a new group of Sidhe-Seers, led by the mysterious and lethal Jada, who’ve set their sights on Dublin, so there’s an epic turf war waiting to happen on who will gain control of the city, and ultimately planet Earth…

Mac also discovers a shocking secret about Barrons that will put a real test to their relationship! While dealing with that scandal, she’s also on the hunt for the Unseelie King to hopefully make another appearance and help her with the Sinsar Dubh, or to get rid of it from her mind entirely, but of course, he’s nowhere to be found after being reunited with his Concubine…

Ryodan continues to have his little minions everywhere to be able to whisper into his ear all the happenings of what’s all going down so he can make sure he’s able to stay three steps ahead of everyone…

There’s the hope of a search and rescue mission for Christian Mackeltar, who was snatched up by the Crimson Hag in the climax of Iced

… And on top of all that, the Hoar Frost King, the villian we met in Iced, has left aftershocks of where he’s literally iced folks all over, and they’re turning into blackholes that threaten to continue to tear apart our world until it is no more…

Yeah, we thought it all ended with Cruce and his plot to take the Sinsar Dubh for himself, but it turns out he was only the beginning! There’s something brewing, and the world KMM has created in these books is far from over!

What I Liked:

  1. Mac is Back! Our familiar protagonist and main character, Mackayla Lane, returns in this book and immediately brings the series back to it’s well deserved glory! It was a huge relief because of how meh I found Iced to be with having Dani as the main character. We’re also given back our lusty tall, dark, and handsome Barrons too for anyone possibly worried about that as well. It was just good to see the story once again come back and focus around them as the core central characters.
  2. A Secret of Barrons Get’s Exposed! It’s actually revealed in the prologue of the book and brings up an important scene from the very first book that will surely make you not able to look at Barrons the same way ever again. Even better is that he explains his actions within the book as well too, so it’s definitely a not-miss moment you need to read it to believe it. I for one think it adds so much depth to his character, because everything he does thats questionable to readers, one thing we can all agree on is that his actions are all about his need to protect Mac, even if it’s from herself. How can you not love a guy who’d go to the ends of the earth for the one they love?
  3. New Character: Jada! There’s a new badass Sidhe-Seer babe in town who’s shrouded like a certain group of shadow-groupies with mystery and grandeur, and her name is Jada. As soon as she makes her first appearance in the book, major change within the realm of the Fever series is abundant, but that’s not all; there’s a big reveal with her you won’t see coming.
  4. Major Character Development for Ryodan! Ryodan continues to develop so much, even more than in the previous book, Iced. You learn even more about his background and his character overall has unexplored depths that are no longer hidden; he’s quickly becoming a huge favorite character of mine because of all this. His development with Dani really takes on a heart-wrenching development, and his admission about her was actually so touching! I actually—legitimately—had tears in my eyes when he talks about Dani and his history with her; it was the moment that Ryodan became a favorite character of mine!
  5. The Humor! Burned was definitely the funniest novel of the series, and all because ***SPOILER ALERT***—a character goes invisible and doesn’t know how to change back! I will at least leave their name out of it, but what I can say is it gives them—and you, the reader—a backstage pass to get away with some hijinks, also Lor gets involved in probably the best way possible, and you see and learn things that you’d never have believed if the character wasn’t secretly there to witness it all firsthand.
  6. New Monsters! The Unseelie have some more faces to reveal themselves, and while I won’t give too much away, the female monsters are the MVP’s of the bad guys in this novel, and there’s even one more type of monster to debut… all I can say is, watch what you say around cockroaches!
  7. Character Development: Lor! You get inside the head of another member of the pack of 9, and this time it’s the big, blond, caveman-viking-like Lor. You met him in Shadowfever, you got to know him a little better in Iced, but in Burned you even get inside his head a little bit, and wouldn’t you know it, you fall for him too just like Ryodan and Barrons. Absolutely loved him in this book, and may or may not even be a part of another ship for you to stan in this series!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Return of the Highlanders…Once again, the Highlanders of KMM’s other hit series make an appearance, and I only say I don’t like this just because I haven’t read them, nor do I really plan on reading them either, so their appearance is very meh for me, just like it was in Shadowfever. I know they hold a special place in the hearts of a lot of other KMM fans, so feel free to take this criticism with a grain of salt.
  2. Jada’s Big Reveal…So I mentioned this big reveal earlier, and while it’s big and makes you stop and make sure you read it right, I still can’t help but feel so conflicted about it… The main reasoning behind this is because it almost ruins another character entirely… It’s a confusing plot twist, and I feel like maybe this book explains it enough and I still don’t entirely follow it. Maybe there’ll be more justification in the next book, but I’m not entirely sold on it, especially if it means we’re possibly saying goodbye to another beloved character for good.
  3. The Drama That Goes with Barrons’s Secret Revealed…While I appreciate the author going back to maybe add some justification to a scene that many people have criticized in the past and that is a huge reason some readers don’t like Barrons, what I wasn’t a fan of was the drama it caused to happen between him and Mac. I said this before, but it’s kind of getting annoying at how these two end up going in circles right back to where they started in terms of arguing with each other… can we please move on from it already? Let’s put some angst into other’s relationships, but can Mac and Barrons just move on already?? It’s showing a lack of development with her two main characters that started this whole dang series!

Conclusion:

Another scorching addition to the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning; this series still somehow continues to impress me and throw me through a loop every time I open whatever the next book is, and it’s actually so unpredictable. I swear, every time I think I have it all figured out, KMM manages to throw in something that blows away the path I think the story is traveling down, and I absolutely love it!

It’s the only Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance books/series I’ve really read, but part of me worries if it’s considered one of the best ones, what other ones would I be able to enjoy at this point? I mean, I’m going to compare any other books/series to it after this, so who has any recommendations? I’m all ears, be sure to leave me a message somewhere to let me know (scroll up to the CONTACT INFO tab on the main menu), or we can just gush about this series and others we’ve read too, I will never say no to a convo about books!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, Paranormal

My Review: Iced (Fever #6): by Karen Marie Moning

Publish Date: October 29th, 2012

Number of Pages: 512 Pages

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

***Warning!!! This review contains spoilers from previous books in the series, continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review of book #1 – Darkfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #2 – Bloodfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #3 – Faefever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #4 – Dreamfever – Click HERE

To see my review of book #5 – Shadowfever – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 2.5 Stars

The Fever series has become a total book obsession of 2020 for me, and is easily probably my favorite set of books so far this year too. It was originally said the series would only be five books, and I could see the series ending based off all that happened in the previous book, Shadowfever, but I’m not going to complain that there’s a whole lot more books to be added.

I’m sad to say that Iced is also probably the weakest book of the bunch so far, at least that’s just my opinion. Even though I had lowered expectations going in, the book wasn’t able to exceed them or even really meet them either. I’m going to put the blame on how this book shifts from Mackayla Lane to Dani O’Malley as the main protagonist, but who also isn’t nearly as developed of a character. Sure, this opportunity would allow her to do just that, but I was hoping she’d be further along in her development before she took center stage. She’s just too immature for me, with all the brattiness, the “fecks” and “dudes” constantly said, and all the cocky bravado she repeats to herself in her many many inner monologues… Those inner monologues are also the main reason this book is so thick.

Iced is 512 pages, but it felt like it needed to be a much shorter 300 pages instead. With the many inner monologues of Dani, and characters like Christian and Kat, they really fill the book up and make it as substantial as it is when it wasn’t completely necessary. Sure, we could say it’s been like that since the beginning back when Mac was the main focus, but now it’s a little annoying now that we have three characters whom we’re following in this story.

One positive thing I can say is the whodunnit mystery that’s the main plot. Basically, there’s someone or something that’s going around Dublin and literally “Icing” people, both fae and human, to death. They become solid blocks of ice that explode into shards, and Dublin is supposed to be in it’s summer season, so it won’t survive if this keeps going on unchecked. Rydoan “asks” Dani for her help in trying to solve the case, and several other characters get pulled into the story, some new and some familiar. There’s Christian Mackeltar, who’s even further along in becoming the fourth Unseelie Prince and almost completely turned over to the dark-side with a strange obsession for Dani, and there’s a new character named Dancer, a 17-year-old genius who helps Dani set traps to try and save the city.

This book wasn’t as romance filled as some may believe, even though Dani has 3 potential love interests. Out of them all, only one actually seems like a non-creepy option. There’s Christian, Dancer, and even Ryodan who all seem to be drawn towards Dani O’Malley, who let me remind you is only 14. Christian is in his mid-to-late 20’s, but is going dark and is basically becoming a demon, and admits how much he wants to have sex with her… I’m not joking. Ryodan, who’s probably thousands of years old, is much more silent and vague about his feelings, but it’s obvious he’s drawn to her is some way. Both are willing to wait for her to come of age, which can be seen as either romantic or creepy depending on how you look at it. Dancer is the only logical choice right now, but how I see it is that he’s the nerdy best friend who’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, and hasn’t Cassandra Clare already written that trope to death? He’s a sweetheart, but I know he’s not going to end up with her, it’s most likely going to be Ryodan, but I’m curious how KMM is going to develop it and (hopefully) make it feel less child molest-y.

The Book is entertaining enough; I was glued to the pages deep into the night like pretty much every other book I’ve read in this series. My real complaint is that I didn’t get enough growth from Dani O’Malley as I’d hoped, and she really so desperately needs it. She’ll get there, and she is starting to grow on me, but she’s still not the 100 emoji for me yet.

What It’s About:

The Official Blurb:

The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.

What I Liked:

  1. Dancer! He’s a new character who was mentioned in Shadowfever, but now makes his physical debut as a close & personal friend to our new protagonist. He’s a tall, lanky, dark hair + blue eyes combo, 17-year-old male who has the whole cute’n’nerdy thing working for him because he’s a total genius! He traveled over to Dublin before the Walls came down to tour Trinity, but was on his own until Dani came along. He’s a great sidekick who obviously has strong feelings for her, but as our empath Kat mentioned, he’s got some dark secrets brewing beneath the surface, so there’s more than meets the eye with him… just like pretty much every other male character in this fecking series.
  2. Cruce is Still A Threat! Still loving how I totally called it that there was something majorly off about V’lane the whole time! Quick recap: V’lane turned out to be Cruce in disguise, the Unseelie King’s first and most powerful dark prince, who’s been masquerading as the Seelie Prince, and has been plotting for almost a million years to capture the Sinsar Dubh and completely take over our universe. When we last saw him, the King had encased him in an enchanted ice cage to keep him at bay deep below the abbey for the Sidhe-Seers to once again watch over and protect the book… but of course he’s not completely out of the picture. He sneaks into the dreams of the women and tempts them into helping him escape, and there’s a lot of raised eyebrows at how things will develop with him!
  3. New Monsters! With the addition of Christian Mackeltar going all Unseelie royalty on us, there are two new big monsters to make life in Dublin even more difficult for everyone! I can’t give too much away, but one I also want to mention is the Crimson Hag. I’m going to leave it there for you to think up what exactly she may be… For shits and giggles, imagine the Witch’s Ghost in that Scooby Doo animated movie mixed with Lady Gaga when she wore the meat dress at the VMA’s and maybe that will give you some amazing visuals!
  4. Ryodan! He really grew on me in this book; he showed more personality behind the eerily veiled threats and little smirks. He’s still a total alphahole; it’s basically a prerequisite in order to be a part of the pack of nine, but we interact more with him and see more depths to his character… the sexual tension with Dani O’Malley was a bit creepy to say the least, so hopefully KMM shifts it so that if they do end up together while he’s waiting for her to become of age, it’s not child molester-y.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Hardly Any Mac or Barrons Sightings…What made the first 5 books in the series so memorable was having Mac and Barrons be the main focus and following them, and in this book, they’re probably the characters you see the least of. Their absence was definitely felt; I know this book is supposed to focus on Dani now and give her a redemption arc, but wow… this book suffers without the Fever series’s OTP.
  2. Dani’s 14 and has 3 Potential Love Interests…So Dani’s a 14 year-old girl out on the streets, kicking ass and taking names, and all the while she’s got 3 love interests: Dancer, Christian Mackeltar, and Ryodan. Dancer is obviously the safest and most logical choice, but he’s doomed since he falls under the nerdy friend who’s secretly in love with her. Christian is at least 10 years or so older than her and is going through the final stages of fully crossing over and becoming the fourth Unseelie Prince, and while he’s fighting his dark and perverted thoughts because of it, he’s also pretty blunt about his sexual appetite and his yearning for our 14 year old MC which gets pretty weird, not gonna lie… Ryodan is also a potential love interest, even though he’s “boinking” Dani’s friend and fellow Sidhe-Seer, Jo. It’s never fully confirmed or spelled out for you, but similar to Mac and Barrons, if you read between the lines and pay attention to his wording and his actions, it’s obvious there’s something there. Both the (much) older suitors are willing to wait for her until she’s of age—thank god—but the whole thing is still a little odd to say the least… but it is the Fever Series, so I guess weirdness is kind of expected?
  3. Christian Mackeltar Continues to Get the Short End…This poor Highlander continues to have just about everything bad happen to him…I don’t need to go into specifics, but it makes my chest hurt when he internally admitted how much he hated Mac and Barrons and wants revenge on both of them! I mean I get it; they’ve both done him dirty too many times to count by now and have basically been the cause for all that’s caused his life to go down the shitthole… I really feel for him and hope he gets better. Hopefully a nice woman—or man, if he’s swings that way too at all—comes along and helps give him an HEA moment that he deserves!
  4. Still Not Completely Sold on Dani O’Malley…After reading this book, I like her a little more and have seen some growth in her character, but I’m still not completely sold on her like I am with Mac. I’ll admit, when we found out about Dani’s involvement with the murder of Mac’s sister, Dani became 100x more interesting to me, and I really want to find out more from Dani’s perspective on it, and I supposed maybe you kind of do, but it felt like it wasn’t enough with what we’re given, and all we really hear is how guilty she feels while avoiding Mac all together. You do learn more about her terrible upbringing and what she’s gone through, and it really makes you feel for her, but I’m still just not fully behind her. We’ll have to see what else happens in the later books.

Conclusion:

After taking a brief hiatus from this anxiety-inducing series, I have to admit that this book is probably my least favorite of the bunch so far. This doesn’t mean I necessarily hated it; I still cruised through the pages to see what all happens, but with Dani O’Malley shifting towards the front and leaving Mac in the background, I just wasn’t as invested in this story as I have been in the past.

Not to worry though, I’m still so heavily invested in this series and definitely plan to keep going on with the rest of the books because I’m not ready to leave these characters behind or stop learning more about the mythology and history of everything, plus more. With new characters along with adding much more depth for more established characters, more questions keep arising along with plenty of tension and opportunity for more drama to happen in order to make this an even more addicting series!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell