*GoodReads: 4.31 out of 5 Stars (12,550 Ratings; 1,207 Reviews)
Reading is Fundamental-
*Note- Ratings and statistics current at the time of writing.
I've been told on countless occasions, that whether you liked the first two books or not, here is where the Fever series really begins to shine. I mostly agree with this assessment but it’s difficult to pin down why. Faefever is a "middle" book in every sense of the word. Third of five, it spends a great deal of time on exposition. As was true of the first two books, Karen has not really attempted to set up much of an independent story for this installment, but I think the first two had more focus than this one. Each of those culminated in a climax, that events native to the particular book, were tied to. To an extent that’s also true here, BUT Mac’s attention is spread across multiple players. The connections between her discoveries and the closing of Faefever is more tenuous than in the first two.
Despite its internally disjointed structure, this book moves the meta plot in a major way. Mac spends a great deal of time confronting the various camps searching for the Big Bad Book ("BBB") and learning new and important things. I know that doesn’t sound all that exciting, but Karen imbues each situation with just the right amount of tension to keep it interesting. We learn a lot about what have heretofore been periphery players and the more information we are given, the more questions that information seems to generate.
Interpersonal relations become considerably more defined in this book as Mac spends more time interacting with a multitude of characters. Dani, Rowena, Christian, and Jayne all get more face to face time with Mac. Barrons, of course, makes more than a couple appearances, but he is not the presence he has been in the previous books. Instead it is V’Lane that gets the lion’s share of development. Given the title of the book, I doubt that will surprise anyone.
I once again must praise Karen’s character development. I have rarely read, in ANY genre, more realistic growth of character. In this volume, Mac continues her steady evolution from pink Barbie girl to pragmatic predator. She and Barrons are two of the best rendered characters I have EVER come across.
I was somewhat shocked by the direction Faefever took as the page count wound down and I’m somewhat frustrated that I can’t expound upon that in even a general way without using a spoiler because I think it’s a tremendous selling point of this book. For those of you who have not read it yet, suffice it to say that Faefever has an element that is germaine to many of the best urban fantasy series, but I’ve never seen it depicted this way before. For the rest of you, click the link!
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What does Kim Harrison’s The Hollows, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake and Charlaine Harrison’s Southern Vampire Mysteries all have in common (aside from the paranormal creatures, smart a$$)? They all have a major event somewhere in their past in which the cat is let out of the bag. In both Anita’s and Sookie’s worlds the supernatural simply stepped out into the spotlight and said, "we’re here, deal with it," but in both The Hollows and Kate Daniels there is a cataclysmic event that forces the world to acknowledge the existence of the paranormal. In ALL of these cases, the "outing" event has occurred off stage and well before the protagonist ever takes up her narrative.
The Fever series on the other hand represents that cataclysmic event. I would be lying if I said this didn’t surprise me. Honestly, up until the end of Faefever, I expected the series to be the story of how the merger of our world and faerie was prevented. All of a sudden there’s rioting on the streets of Dublin as humans are herded into Dark Zones. Having not realized what was actually happening, I kept thinking, "Now how, in the hell, are the unseelie gonna keep this quiet. You can’t make the population of a city the size of Dublin disappear and think it’s going to go unnoticed!" Well, duh, Chris, get with the program, something epic is happening here. And now I’m wondering why this hasn’t been done more often in the U/F genre, cuz quite frankly, it’s brilliant!
These books are dark from beginning to end and this one has absolutely the bleakest ending I have yet read in the genre. The only thing I can say about it without spoilers is that this is the quintessential cliff hanger. The book really only comes to an end in the sense that there is a final page after which you have to pick up the next book in order to go on. The internal plot of Faefever itself can only loosely be described as having been resolved. I’d have been pretty frustrated by this had I read it at the time it was originally published.
There’s NO WAY I can close this review without talking about the ending, even though some of you won’t be able to read it, but I’m going to get to that in just a second. First, I have to take Karen to task. I’ve said it in my previous reviews. Girlfriend, you were seriously brave to tell this story the way you did. I give you props for that. The cliff hanger I’m about to talk about? Again Karen, big time ballsy. Your little author’s address at the end of the book? Not so much.
Have the courage of your convictions, Karen, don’t temper the darkness with a half ass attempt at a night light. Trust your readers to trust you without having to ask them for it. I would be very surprised if you kept a single reader from walking who was inclined to do so after finishing Faefever. If they left the series here, I guarantee it wasn’t for lack of hope or faith. If they left here, it was because you offended their sensibilities and there was no way your author’s address was going to rectify the problem.
Now if THAT doesn’t make you wanna read Faefever just to find out what I’m talking about, nothing else I could say will. For those of you that have read it my personal take on the end is this...
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Wow. To me, it was one of those Janet Jackson clothing malfunction moments. You know, where you sit up and say, did that just happen? There are two books left, so there’s no way she can possibly remain pri-ya. My hat’s off to Karen for going such a controversial route. I just wish it had been written a little differently. I understand the mechanics that Karen has established, that the event is so immensely pleasurable that the individual cannot resist and becomes addicted, but the gang rape of any character should feel more tragic than this. I would have liked to experience more of a duality happening in Mac’s mind where before she is completely overwhelmed she conveys an awareness and sense of utter despair at what is happening to her. This scene SHOULD have made me cry for Mac’s loss, but it didn’t.
There is another writer in the genre who has written a similar scene with similar, albeit different mechanics that was handled much better. I don’t want to list the writer, the series, or the character here, because if you haven’t read it yet, I don’t want to spoil it for you later. If you don’t care about spoilers and want to know, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll tell you. If you are GR member you can contact me on GR (my user name is Chris (Master Roo)) or leave a comment with your user name below, I’ll check your book list to see if you’ve read it and provide the info if appropriate. Of course, if you HAVE read it, you probably already know what I’m referring to.
A word about the narration of Faefever. Joyce does a fantastic job with this story. I have Faefever on my Kindle as well. There were some periods while I was listening to the book that I had an opportunity to read along. It was interesting to notice that Joyce made some (extreamly) minor changes to the text as she would read to make things flow more naturally. Her pacing was excellent.
Dramatically, her southern accent is very good and worked pretty well for Mac. My only real complaint is that Joyce's voice is a little more richly sophisticated than I imagined Mac to be, but that's really a triviality. She doesn't try to over sell her male voices so I didn't find them jarring in the least.
In closing, despite not having a clear focus, Faefever was an exciting read full of dark tension from beginning to end. I strongly recommend you have a copy of Dreamfever on hand before you come anywhere near finishing the book, because the ending is a doozy.