Book pick: ‘Shadowfever’ an epic ending to the Mac & Barrons story January 22, 2011Posted by Diana McCabe in Reviews/summaries.
Tags: Barrons, karen marie moning, Mac, Shadowfever, v'lane
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!)
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.”
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