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Darkfever by Karen Marie MoningTitle: Darkfever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
ISBN: 9780440240983
No. of Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 31 October 2006
Bottom Line: Surprisingly fun and interesting

“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….”

Thoughts: For those readers who may be leery about starting the series because of its marketing, rest assured that Darkfever, at least, is not what it claims to be. The publishers market the book as paranormal romance/erotica; this first book in the series does not quite live up to that label. There are sexy moments but those moments are more humorous than hot. The story is actually quite tame from a romance perspective. However, there are plenty of hints that Mac’s life gets a little more intense romantically in future stories. The scenes now are just teasers of possibilities. Honestly, there are more explicit scenes found in books not categorized as erotica than anything found in this one.

Mac is one of those characters about which readers will waffle in their feelings. On the one hand, she is incredibly self-absorbed and shallow. Her laments about her hair color and nail color, her clothes, her shoes, and every other material thing get old very quickly, especially as these discussions/descriptions persist well past the point where her search is not just a search for her sister’s killer but also to help save the human world. On the other hand, for all her shallowness, she never backs down from a fight and refuses to take no for an answer. Her willingness to uproot her comfortable existence and face down the things of which nightmares are made is impressive. She may think her appearance is of the utmost importance, but she has a backbone and is willing to do what it takes to solve her sister’s murder. This contrast will have readers rolling their eyes in impatience at the same time as their body responds to the increased tension and anxiety at her fate.

As one would expect in the first of many books in a series, Darkfever leaves readers with plenty of unanswered questions. However, Ms. Moning does a great job of at least addressing some of the more immediate questions first raised while hinting at answers to the rest. She by no means makes the rest of the series in any means predictable, but readers get enough glimpses of potential plot paths to pique interest in future books.

Darkfever is what happens when Barbie meets the Fae, and not the good Disney version of fairies. Mac, for all her perseverance and commitment to her sister’s memory, is the quintessential Barbie model – blonde, self-absorbed, shallow, and just a bit lazy; her redeeming qualities are that she is very capable and determined. She may enjoy coasting through life, but she buckles down when things get tough. The Fae are every bit as dangerous and sexy as one would expect. Together, there is an explosive potential for all sorts of sexy goodness and pure evil.

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