Monday, February 21, 2011

The Fever Series – Part II

Dreamfever and Shadowfever: Books of Revelations.
February 21, 2011

Books: Last two books in the series
  • Dreamfever (2009) - 3 out of 5
  • Shadowfever (2011) - 3.5 out of 5

Author: Karen Marie Moning  
Narrators:  Natalie Ross and Phil Gigante

In the beginning of Dreamfever, MacKayla Lane, the heroine previously summarized here, is in the hands of the Darroc, her dead sister’s former lover who commands the dark fea.  She has been reduced to pri-ya, unable to talk, with no sense of self.  Dani, a 13-year-old fellow-sidhe-seer, rescues her from Darroc and the dark fae.  All other sidhe-seers except Dani are convinced that Mac is a traitor to the cause, that she booby-trapped an object of power that was necessary to keep the walls up, helping Dublin fall victim to the dark fae.  It appears that some among the sidhe-seers are trying to have her killed when Jericho Barrons steals her away and restores her memory and sense of self.  Now, more than ever, Mac must find and contain the Sinsar Dubh, return her world back to normal, kill as many dark fae as possible, and take revenge on her sister’s murderer.  

The End is Nigh:
These two books are the books of Revelations in Mac’s world.  While the first three books in the series, reviewed here, take place in a typical urban fantasy world where preternatural creatures are hidden and unnoticed by everyday people, Dreamfever and Shadowfever are post-apocalyptic, taking place in a world fallen victim to the preternatural where fae no longer conceal with glamour hunt humans with reckless abandon. 

It was Halloween – and the end of Faefever, book three -  that became the day of reckoning, when the walls that separated our world and the world of the fae came tumbling down.  We start Dreamfever with 2 billion people dead.  The internet, electricity, and other major forms of infrastructures are broken for good. Karen Marie Moning describes four dark fae princes as the four horsemen of the Apocalypse by name.  Houses are empty, cars are empty, streets are empty.  Everything living, every bit of greenery in all of Dublin, has been devoured by shades – the lowest cast of the dark fae that can hide in people’s shoes and suck them into husks through one touch. The police become the Guardians, eating dark fae flesh so they can be a match against the dark fae.  The fae become the new vampire, a macabre latest attraction at nightclubs with willing humans trading sex, freedom, and will for the high of eating fae flesh. 

Dreamfever and Shadowfever are also the books of revelations because in these two books, especially the last, the listener receives the answers to questions raised in the beginning of the series.  The listener finally learns what Barrons is, why he wants the Sinsar Dubh, what's in his basement, how does he get there, where does he go during the day, why he can’t become emotionally involved with Mac, what’s his deal was with V’lane and his relationship with Ryodan.  The listener finally learns who Mac is, who was her mother, why the Sinsar Dubh wants her, why the grand mistress of the Sidhe-seers hates her, what the prophecies say about her, why V’lane’s really interested in her, why she has such unique gifts when it comes to sensing the book, and who actually killed her sister. 

The first three books are about 9 hours each.  However, Dreamfever is 12 hours long, while Shadowfever is almost 20 hours long.  Yes. 20 hours long. In other words, the last two books are longer than the first three, and the last book is absolutely huge (metaphysically speaking. As an audibook listener, I haven’t seen or held a book, but I'm assuming it's enormous).  As noted, I consider the last book as book of revelations, but I don’t quite understand why Karen Marie Moning held back so much until Shadowfever.  A lot of mysteries could have been revealed earlier on without hurting the impact of Shadowfever – such as why Barrons and V’lane hated each other, the nature of the Sinsar Dubh, the Dark Fae King’s reasons for creating it, maybe even why Barrons wanted the Sinsar Dubh to begin with.  Shadowfever has so many new mysteries, so many new twists and turns, that holding so much back doesn’t seem necessary. 

Also, Shadowfever elaborates on a few earlier characters in a way that makes you wish there was more of them, except the last book is too full of information to give more.  For example, one of the MacKeltars is described as a man burned in fire to be pure of heart – doesn’t it just scream “tell me more!”?  And Barrons apparently has 9 more men just like him, very reminiscent of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  I’d love to hear their stories and wish these characters had come out to play earlier in the series.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for perhaps a spin off or two.

On Narration:
As noted in the prior review, the first three books are narrated by Joyce Bean.  However, these last two are narrated by Natalie Ross and Phil Gigante.  Natalie Ross does a fine job, but she doesn’t even try a Southern accent for Mac.  Phil Gigante is incredible.  Down-right incredible.  When his voice makes its debut appearance as Barrons in Dreamfever, I literally jumped (I hadn’t been paying attention that there were going to be two narrators and was not expecting it).  I wouldn’t say that Dreamfever is a metaphorical page turner, but I got through the book faster than usual because I wanted to hear Phil Gigante's voice reading Barrons’s lines.

Spoiler Alert:
I was a bit disappointed in the use of one specific tension breaker in Shadowfever. Click below to find out why, but it will give away a portion of the book.
In the beginning and throughout most of the first part of Shadowfever, Mac is convinced that she killed Barrons.  Karen Marie Moning does a fantastic job describing Barron’s death and Mac’s reaction. She convinces me, as the listener, that Barrons must be dead.  She also does a fantastic job describing Mac’s impressions three days (5 hours of the audiobook) later at first seeking Barrons alive again.  Mac logically explains that it must be the Sinsar Dubh playing with her.  She explains exactly why this Barrons cannot be real.  I should have been convinced as a listener, like Mac, that he was an illusion.  However, right in the middle of these two wonderful scenes, we have a quick narration from Barrons’s first-person point of view, making it damn clear that he’s perfectly alive and well.  I don't understand it. If not for the tension breaker, I would have been on edge the entire time Mac agonized over her belief that Barron is a figment of her imagination.  Instead, I spent a half-hour listening to Mac’s internal dialogue, waiting for her to wake up, accept that Barrons is alive, and move on.

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