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Book pick: ‘Shadowfever’ an epic ending to the Mac & Barrons story January 22, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Reviews/summaries.
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Karen Marie Moning wraps up her Fever series with a finale that whipsaws the reader in an oh-my-gosh page turner that never lets up until the last page. (And that would be page 594 — so if you haven’t finished it, be warned: This contains SPOILERS.)

After waiting two years for SHADOWFEVER and debating countless theories on Mac and Barrons, I wondered if KMM could deliver all of the answers her fans demanded. I’d say in some cases she did — and in others she left the door open.

SHADOWFEVER continues Mac’s dark journey of loss and self-discovery as she hunts her sister’s killer and is surrounded by the Fae and other monsters who are overtaking humankind. We  quickly learn that the beast she stabs at the end of DREAMFEVER is Barrons. And this is where Mac starts to wonder if she’s evil  and can’t figure out who or what she really is — beyond a sidhe-seer who can detect Fae objects and is immune to Fae glamour.

In her grief over killing Barrons, Mac decides to join forces with the Lord Master and hunt down the Sinsar Dubh. Once she has the book, she plans to use its magic to recreate time — a time where Barrons and her sister, Alina, exist.

Well — that was her plan. Through a series of plot and character twists, KMM moves Mac in a different direction though, and it’s one that leaves our heroine with a major identity crisis. Is she the reincarnation of the King’s concubine? And in an even more intriguing twist, is she the King?  Or, is she  a vessel holding a copy of the Sinsar Dubh?

I found this to be the most fascinating part of the story. KMM builds her own Fae lore about the queen,  the King and the Fourth Prince as she guides Mac through the White Mansion and the Silvers for answers. This is good, creative story telling.

And Mac’s uncertainty about who she is — at times is touching and funny:

“Was I a woman, obsessed with the woman on the couch? Or was I the male King of the Fae, obsessed with Jericho? I consider myself open-minded about gender preference — love is love, and who’s to say how the body follows the heart? — but both of those scenarios were hard for me to accept for myself. Neither fit me like a glove, and sexuality should. When it’s right, it feels good on you, like your own skin, and the only thing that felt like skin to me was woman to man.”

The best parts of the book are reminiscent of the rest of the series: The witty banter that Mac and Barrons carry on without speaking; the eerie worlds KMM creates as Mac travels in the Silvers and White Mansion, and the development of V’lane — who isn’t exactly a nice Fae after all. (Not that any of us trusted him.) His role in all of this is perhaps the most shocking — and I was delighted to hear his story unfold in such a traitorous way! (I won’t spoil the rest on that story line, but it’s not over yet!)

Karen Marie Moning in NOLA for Shadowfever launch.

It’s also clear early in the story that Barrons just won’t die. We still don’t know who or what he is — only that when he dies he returns to the place of his original death before coming back. That his heart doesn’t beat — until after he feeds. And that he has a son, who is hopelessly locked in his beast state. We also find out just how entangled he is with his men, how ticked off he is at Mac for consorting with the Lord Master and how much his beast really controls him.

Much as I liked large parts of the story, I often found myself reeling with the number of “Ah-ha” moments and characters who stand in Mac’s way. KMM ties up the Rowena story line, the Isla story, gives us more on Barrons,  his men and Barrons’ child, has Dani deliver a whopper of a surprise to Mac, introduces us to K’Vruck (Death), leaves us wondering what the heck will happen to Christian and then includes a slew of characters from her HIGHLANDER series and even involve Mac’s adopted parents  in the big final scene at the end. It was way too much. Toward the end, I almost felt as if I were watching a movie and the bad guys just wouldn’t die — but kept coming back to life!

The very end was a big nod to KMM fans who wanted that happy ending. It was a little too sweet for me, with Mac’s adoptive parents moving to Dublin and getting a house and everyone getting together for a party at Mac’s bookstore — with Barrons grilling steaks. It didn’t have the same fun, edgy tone I felt was the strong suit of the entire series.

In all fairness to KMM, she wanted to wrap this story up in five books. And despite some of my nits with the overabundance of  changing story lines/characters, I still loved reading this story and will keep re-reading it.

We still have a lot of unanswered questions, including who and what is JZB. And we certainly still have questions about Mac, now that we know who and what she is. But KMM will slowly reveal more to us in her next series, which focuses on Dani, Ryodan and Christian.

But yes — when I look back at what KMM has done with the series and this last book, SHADOWFEVER does deliver an epic ending to a great urban-fantasy, which remains a favorite of mine.

So as KMM says on page 594: “The end ….”  and on the next page “…. for now.”



1. Diana McCabe - January 22, 2011

OK — here’s my take on SHADOWFEVER. I loved parts of it and then didn’t like other parts. All in all — I thought it was a good read and ending to the series.

What did the rest of you think?


2. Krissy - January 23, 2011

I loved it. I had to read it twice because I was so excited about finally reading it, I rushed through it the first time and re-read it at a slower pace the second time so I could absorb all the information. The major shockers I did not see coming were Dani and V’lane. I never really trusted V’lane. He seemed like he was trying too hard with Mac all the time and what he did to her totally pissed me off. The Dani thing broke my heart and shocked the crap out of me. I loved the banter between Mac and Barrons and I was glad that they kept up business as usual when she discovered he was alive. It would not have been true to their characters if they were falling all over each other with “I love yous.” I liked when she was finally true to her feelings for him and that he basically gave her ultimatum and she was on her last chance with him. I really loved how KMM wrapped their story up. I can’t wait for the next series she writes and I hope we get to read a lot more about what Barrons is when she does Ryodan’s story. I am sure we will see a lot of Mac and Barrons in the next books and i can’t wait!

Diana McCabe - January 23, 2011

I thought the V’lane storyline was great and I bet he gets into trouble again. I like how KMM froze him — naked — at the end! And yes — Dani was a big shocker for me.

In her Q&A with fans in NOLA, KMM said even though the next series will develop around Dani, Ryodan and Christian, Mac and Barrons will be in there as well.

KMM has a live chat today at noon EST on her website — go to her forums!! You might ask about the Shadowsong CD there. (She also has a Facebook page and someone might be able to answer there. I will poke around. I did not get the CD, but in NOLA they said not to listen to it until we’d read the book unless we wanted spoilers!)


Krissy - January 23, 2011

I just got it today and the deleted scene was awesome. I don’t know why she left it out.

3. Krissy - January 23, 2011

hmm,anyone get the Shadowsong CD? I ordered it, but still have not received it. I was wondering what the deleted scene was about. Has anyone read it. I tried to google it, but nothing comes up other than ordering the CD.

Diana McCabe - January 23, 2011

Ack — so maybe I should order it. You’ll have to let me know if you like the CD.

Just got done with the fan chat w/ KMM so will post some of those excerpts later today. She will have full transcript up in a few days on her website!


TLC - January 26, 2011

Krissy- is the missing scene on the CD written inside the cover? Never heard anything about it…

Diana McCabe - January 30, 2011

I’ve ordered the CD — caved in when I heard that the scene is good. But also — why not support an author trying to do things on various platforms!


4. Dot S. - January 23, 2011

I’m still reading, only have about 15% left (on Kindle).
KMM is creative, original, brilliant at times and often redundant and confusing. Her stream of conciousness can be a bit much. Love the story and wish it had been tighter. Right now I’m really fed up with JB so I’m hoping he gets redeemed. I’m also a little fed up with Mac for being such a patsy for him.

Diana McCabe - January 23, 2011

I think she wanted to cram so much into this last book. Agree tho — could have been edited a little more tightly. That said — I do love the story! (Other folks outside of the Moning Maniacs world also get a little fed up with Mac for being such a patsy for Barrons!)


(Am cranky today. We have Santa Ana winds here. Very dry. Like under 9 percent humidity. Blech. Only thing getting me through the day — Masterpiece Theater will be on tonite! Part 3 of Downton Abbey — are you watching it?)

5. Aisha - January 24, 2011

Hey Diana! Like your website. I think you’ve done an excellent job of surmising the plot and NOLA events. I agree with your review. I did find the cook out just a bit cheesy. I didn’t understand why the 8 allowed Fiona to live or know about them. I thought that there were no exceptions. I found that Ryodan changed a bit in character as well. I liked Mac growing up. She was living a shallow bubble gum life in the South. I’m not sure that I agree that JZB molded her to his liking either. Events made Mac change. She had a choice. She either lived with him or without him. All in all- it was a great book. I find Dani annoying, but I’ll read the series in order to hear more about mac.

Diana McCabe - January 24, 2011

Hi Aisha!!!! Good to see you on the blog!

I’m gonna have to haunt KMM’s message board. You’re totally right about Fiona — and I wish I’d thought to ask that question in the Q&A in NOLA and in the fan chat she had the other day! I’ll have to post that or look and see if someone has asked that question bc she was an exception!

I think KMM did a great job trying to wrap things up — but it’s the nature of the fan to pick things apart! There was so much in this book. I agree — Mac did change and did choose. And I’ll be curious to see if she changes even more. And I need to check out KMM’s site to see if she’s posted the transcript of her fan chat. She had some interesting things to say about Barrons and V’lane so will flag you when it’s up.

Yeah — Dani was bordering on the YA teen so she started to get to me, but I think KMM will have an interesting triangle with her/Ryo/Christian. Not sure where Dancer fits in but guess we’ll find out. I will definitely read the series to hear more about Mac though!

So what are you reading next!


Aisha - January 25, 2011

Regarding the triangle . . . I’m a little tired of that. All authors seem to have several men after 1 woman who can’t decide. Ah well. As to what I’m reading next . . . Just finished books 1 &2 of The Iron Fey series. Feb brings Deadly vows & Black Veil. Also I’m on the request list for the penultimate Wheel of Time series. How about for you?

6. naoual.elkhadiri@gmail.com - April 21, 2011

first of all, i adored this storie. i was quite hesitant at the beguinning because not really used to paranormal romance. but this simply blew me up, read them all in less than a week, and i work 10 hrs/day, my eyes are red, and im tired, but i wouldn’t have missed it for the word.

We don’t know what barrons is, we know he is older than dirt though..definitely not fae, (i knew that from the 2nd book from the way he was treating V’lane and calling him fairy 🙂 )
we also know he is actually more beast than human. and i believe that KMM didn’t tell what he is ‘cos she s planning on doing for the newt serie…but he is not human, and not fae, and not one of the Daghar (those are evil, and barrons is NOT, he s just a grumpy, sarcatstic, sexy as hell beast:)

so the happy after was a bit icky really, Barrons grilling steak??!!! i would ‘ve loved an ending where they roam the streets killing rhino boys…and keeping on the sexy banter:)

Diana McCabe - April 21, 2011

re Barrons — In subsequent posts and chats on her website, KMM says she didn’t want to define Barrons. When she started writing the Fever series, there were a lot of vampires and werewolves etc out in novels and she says she didn’t want him to be defined by those stereotypes. I like that she did that — but it still is human to wonder what the heck he is! (And yes — I think having Barrons grill steak at the end was stretching things a bit! Painting Mac’s toenails — yes!)


naoual - April 21, 2011

completely agree with you…wouldn’t have liked it, if she d said plain that Barrons was a vampire…like to think of him as a man:)
and yes..that part when he was painting her toenails was so sweet, and then Mac wanted to ask him a favor and he said: I’m not shaving your legs:) that’s what i liked about this guy:) in your face kind of answers! we need more guys like that in books!

7. Sheila - October 7, 2011

I think it’s great to have a happy ending. I hate it when my hero and heroine die at the end, or their loves is not finally realized. Had they both not beent through enough – to dispense with all the BS – and decide they love each other, and love is really all you need. I mean really, isn’t she entitled to a happy ending. I loved the ending. That’s what I want – give me a fairytale happy ending any day. I hate it when my characters die, or worse – once I’ve invested all that time and energy into reading the books. They take you on an emotionally roller coaster, and I’m glad Ms. Moning – gave us that happy ending. Thank you.

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