Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The End of Fever?

I have been patiently awaiting the book Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning since I finished her last book Dreamfever in August of 09. It’s difficult to wait for a sequel and even twice as hard when you know that the next book is last in the series. This difficulty was expanded for me significantly because I finished Dreamfever in Dublin, the series’ location—it just made me want to read Shadowfever that much more. Shadowfever came out Tuesday, January 18th; I finished it on the 19th.


What do you say when a series you love has come to an end? How do you critique the culmination, when what lead up to it was so good? I find myself asking these questions in the dark of night, knowing that I should have some mention of this beloved series within this blog, but not quite sure how to sum up my thoughts. I’ve sat on it for several days, and hope that I will be able to successfully convey my thoughts, both praise and the occasional criticism, in a manner benefiting such a unique and thoroughly enjoyable series.

I do not wish to give any of the plot away, I hate it when people do that with series conclusions, but I will say that I was happy with where the characters end up, enjoyed their journey, and am a grateful reader now that I know Moning is working on another series within this world. I love how the characters, primarily protagonist MacKayla Lane, evolve throughout the five books. The changes in Mac from a spoiled, flighty, pink-loving bit of fluff (or Mac 1.0 as she calls herself), into a strong, damaged woman, willing to risk it all to solve her sister’s murder and essentially save the world is wonderfully done. Mac and those around her are fully fleshed, three-dimensional characters, ones you want to know, or in some cases, ones you hope to never meet. Moning brilliantly nails the emotional journey of these characters; and she does so in a manner the reader feels genuinely understands the large shifts in character that take between Darkfever and Shadowfever. One cannot help, but love her unique world, characters, and story.

That being said, it is clear that I loved the series, but I didn’t necessarily love Shadowfever. Don’t get me wrong, the characters and plot were fantastic, but Moning utilized some stylistic choices that were distracting, sometimes confusing, and extremely existential. As one reader pointed out to me, it seemed as though there was a completely different author between this and the first book. The style was so dramatically different, extraordinarily philosophical--to the point where, for the first time when reading Moning, I found myself skimming passages. Also, Moning employed a confusing dialogue style where many one-line conversations would take place between several characters at once, causing confusion as to who was speaking, what was being said, etc., something that works well when used sparingly or when used in live productions, but is just plain distracting when used as prolifically in print, as it is in Shadowfever. These style choices have not been present in Moning’s other works, and actually works against the flow of the plot, as opposed to accentuating the storyline, which is what I’m sure she is trying to do. Look, this is a paranormal series, not Nietzsche, don’t try to be what you are not, it doesn’t create fans, it just makes you seem pedantic. I want a great story, not one that puts on airs. That was my brief rant. I hated saying it, but it needed to be said.

So, Fever series? Read it. Shadowfever? Read it. Despite the excess philosophical ramblings the story is so good it would be a shame to miss it, especially as the series itself is phenomenal.



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