How do I review Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning? Do I caution readers about the fact that it is book five in a five book series? That previous events are not described and characters come into play with little explanation? Or do I discuss how enthralled I was by the story? How I could not put it down, even without understanding a lot of the plot?
The plot of Shadowfever is hard to describe. The main character, Mackayla Lane, or Mac, came to Dublin to find out who killed her sister in the first book, Darkfever. Not long after she arrived, the walls between the human world and the fairy world fell, bringing together both good and bad fairies, the Seelies and the Unseelies. It destroyed Dublin as the two groups fought each other and the humans. Over the course of the series, Mac learns about her sister’s life, about her own past and its connection to the fairy world and the keepers of the magic, and meets her lover, Jerricho Barrons. Shadowfever brings her story to its conclusion.
Much of the book is hard to follow, if only because the elements are unfamiliar. The book opens with Mac mourning the death of Barrons. The scene is long and painful, but without knowing who Barrons is, it has little impact. Mac has to find the Sinsar Duhb, which is both a book and a sentient being. There is lots of fighting between the various groups looking for the book, and without a chart, it was hard to follow the various groups, between the Seelie, the Unseelie, the Druids, the Abbey, and the humans. The narrator even changes without warning.
But, despite all of this, I was hooked on this book. Once I was able to situate myself in the story, I had a good sense of the characters and the basic plot. Mac is a wonderful character, strong, powerful, and complicated. All of the other characters, good and bad, fairy and human, are interesting, if leaning a bit too much toward “perfect,” “complicated,” and “sexy.” Still, trying to figure out who they were was interesting.
If you are a fan of urban fantasy, I recommend the Fever series, but I would start with the first one.