Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shadowfever: 20% Awesome, 80% Yawn

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385341679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385341677

My review: 3 Stars

Let me preface my review by saying I really enjoy Karen Marie Moning's books, and loved her Fever series, and the overall story arc. This just wasn't my favorite.

Shadowfever was surprising, and clever at times, but 80% of the book left me waiting for something truly amazing to happen. Perhaps my expectation was the problem. The last 20% of the book makes up for it; the ending is awesome, and I love how she pulls things together. It's a must read if you've been following the series.

All questions were answered, but without Moning's usual finesse. I can not say this enough. Normally, she is an eloquent writer, but Shadowfever seemed plain, riddled with cliches. I want books to lure me in, seduce and enchant me, whether they're book one or book five. It felt like the author already had us hooked on her series line, so she just pounded out words to get to the end. It didn't even seem like she tried to make it pretty. Mac's internal dialogue was redundant, and at times a struggle to get through.

The eroticism of the male characters, and their effect on Mac was over emphasized, and it seemed silly; in some instances it felt odd and inappropriate for the circumstances. Hot, sensuous males is a Moning trademark, but in some scenes, it just didn't fit. I just saw you die now I have to *&^% you. I get where she's coming from--the male expressing emotion after a traumatizing event-- but it doesn't flow, and to me, comes across as ridiculous, laughable. The picture Mac finds of Darroc is creepy, and there are no words she could throw at it to make it anything else. Oh, and poor Darroc, the Lord Master. The resolution of his storyline is sadly anticlimactic.

Finally, we find out what Barrons is. I'm not upset at what he turned out to be, but after the big reveal, he's no longer the classy, barely- contained sexual Barrons we've come to know and love. He's suddenly just a boorish tough guy. The sexual tension just isn't there and that's a sad thing because Moning writes it very well.

I was very surprised to learn the mystery behind the sounds in the garage, but even this was fumbled by Barrons pretending to fall for a lie Mac tells him. He smiles his winning smile because the lie makes him realize Mac loves him. What? After all his suffering, a MILLENNIUM of pain and suffering, and suddenly rainbow girl loves him (he's only know her a few months) and all is right with the world? NO. WAY. It would be far more palatable for Barrons to be angry, hurt, disappointed (pick your adjective), and have these feelings force Mac deep within herself in search of a solution to help the man she loves.

Moning wanted to create a monster unknown to readers, one that would defy categorization and labels, but Barrons is just an amalgam of all the fiendish horrors without all the brooding and self pity.

When done well, I love young adult novels full of raw, coming-of-age emotions, and I enjoy young characters in adult fiction, but Dani, the fourteen-year-old sidhe seer, is simply annoying--no funny snark there. Moning needs to practice writing a YA character that is believable to the reader. Portraying young adults is a completely different animal, and not just an adult projection of what a young adult "should be."

Shadowfever gets a generous three stars for the few surprise appearances and revelations in the magical denouement of the fever series. It's obvious the author is planning to write more in the fever world but this reader is done, done, done. My curiosity hasn't been piqued quite enough, and I have absolutely no interest in Dani at all. Wait! But what about Christian? Ahh. Never say never.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Favorite Books of 2010

Reading is my favorite past time. My husband has labeled me a crazed bibliophile and rightfully so. I have stacks of books all over the house. I'm not talking bookshelves, or even neat stacks, but Jenga style stacks on the floor that sway with the slightest vibration. Our bedroom looks like a used bookstore. I love it, however he isn't too terribly fond of the clutter. He bought me a Kindle for Christmas in 2009 in an attempt to steer me in a more organized, neat, de-clutter direction. But no. I'm crazed. Completely. Totally. Now I purchase books on my Kindle first, and if I like them, I buy them in precious book form so they can take their rightful Jenga place with a book plate in them. I want to look at the cover art, smell the pages, feel them beneath my fingertips, hear the delicate sound as they turn. It's deeply satisfying to sometimes glance at a book, remember my favorite scene, wonder what the characters are doing now (kudos to the author so skilled at character development that they seem as real as you or I.) So what books did I read in 2010 on my Kindle that I absolutely had to buy...again?

Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor. A collection of three short stories about first kisses. The stories are original, wildly imaginative and beautifully crafted. Everything about these stories--setting, characterization, storyline, dialog-- is evocative of old world, magical folktales told 'round a crackling fire. It's Young Adult, but females of all ages will love this book. I've recommended it often and everyone that read it is now smitten with the author.

Faithful Place by Tana French This is a great murder mystery. Detective Francis Mackey-Frankie-returns home to Dublin after deliberately staying away for years when an old suitcase is discovered during the renovation of a house in his old neighborhood. The story is not only a whodunit, but a study in family relationships told with wit and charm as only the Irish can tell it. Great story with excellent characterization. I wonder about Frank even now.

I read only thirty books in 2010 (my reading has a job problem.)

Other books worth mentioning:

Darkbringer and Silksinger by Laini Taylor. Excellent reads, highly recommended. After reading Lips Touch, I just went out and bought these in hardback because I knew I'd love them forever. This author has another book due out sometime this year, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I can't wait!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins The final installment of the Hunger Games. Great. Can't wait for the movie.

The Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Adventures of Jacky Faber,on her Way to Botany Bay by L.A. Meyer, the eighth book in the Bloody Jack series. While vacationing in Maine this summer we stopped by The Clair de Loon in Bar Harbor, the author's gallery and shop, and he autographed all of my books, and then some. I asked Mr. Meyer how long he planned to continue writing the series and how he might end Jacky's epic story. He said he'd keep writing as long as his publisher kept asking for more. He was tight-lipped with the details of how Jacky's story would end, but he did say her final book has already been written, and is locked safely away. Jacky Faber is such an epic character-opening with her orphaned on the streets of London after her family succumbs to the black plague on that dark day to sailing her own ship on the South Sea- and it would be so distressing if she just dropped off the map never to be heard from again. I'm so relieved there will be a proper ending to the story.

Speaking of endings, Karen Marie Moning's Fever series concludes on January 18th with the release of Shadowfever. O.M.G. I've waited three years for this. The 15th is my birthday and I've taken the week off to read it. What an awesome gift-to find out the truth about Barrons and see what crazy fate befalls our precious Mac. There's a launch party for the book in New Orleans, but how can you go to a party lasting a whole weekend and read? I was so tempted to go to NOLA, but I chose devouring the book at home.

So, what are your most memorable books of 2010? What are you looking forward to in 2011?

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