Review of DARKFEVER by Karen Marie Moning (see her website)
Delacorte Press, November 2006
MacKayla (Mac) Lane tends bar, thinks about college (some day), works on her perfect tan, and enjoys being blond, beautiful, and virtually Barbie. But when her sister is murdered while an exchange student in Dublin Ireland, and the local police are unable to make progress, Mac decides she needs to do something. That something consists of ignorning her parents' advice and flying to Dublin in an effort to get the police to re-open the case. Somehow or other, Mac intends to find her sister's killer.
Dublin is strange to a young woman who's only been outside her small Georgia town for a few (essential) shopping trips to Atlanta. The bar scene is super-active, but Mac is shocked to see beings that appear sometimes as beautiful people and simultaneously as horrible monsters. The monsters are devouring people, swallowing their beauty, or simply promising to give them so much sex it ultimately kills them. When she openly stares, a stranger calls her a strange Irish name and demands that she not give herself away. By luck or fate, though Mac's search brings her to a strange bookstore in the midst of a dead and deserted part of the city. Its owner, handsome but dangerous Gabriel Barrons, knows about the monsters. After first demanding that Mac run for her life, he abruptly switches tactics and demands that she join him to prevent the Unseelie from destroying the world.
Mac can't decide whether Barrons is on her side, her enemy, or (which seems most likely) on a side that's completely his own. But he is interested in the one clue that her sister left--and the two form a grudging partnership. Their partnership takes them into some of the most dangerous places in Dublin--including a possible vampire's den and a gangster hangout.
Author Karen Marie Moning (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Moning) writes a compelling paranormal adventure. Barrons is a wonderfully mysterious hero--dark, dangerous, and keeping secrets that just might be deadly. Mac begins as a complete ditz, more interested in her nail polish than in the possibility that all humanity is threatened, but grows as a character without really loosing that ditzy charm. Moning offers a take on the Seelie Courts that is darker than most modern fiction and I found this a refreshing difference.
DARKFEVER is clearly the beginning of a series and neither the romance nor the danger was brought to conclusion, but my interests were definitely engaged and I found this a hard book to put down. I'll definitely look for the next book in this series, and am happy to recommend DARKFEVER for those who enjoy paranormal romance and truly dangerous alpha heroes.
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