A FAERLY BIG MAC
This seems to be my month of free e-books, which are part of a fantasy series. I found a free download of the first book in the Fever series on Suvudu, and I plunged into it, barely hours after I’d finished City of Bones (yes, I'm a little behind on my reviews).
When her sister Alina is brutally murdered, MacKayla Kane journeys to Dublin to ensure that the case is not closed for lack of evidence. Her sister’s last message talks of betrayal and urges her to find the shi-sa-du, but Mac has no clue as to what it is. After a couple of strange visions and an encounter with the enigmatic bookseller Jericho Barrons, she realizes that strange creatures lurk in the shadows. Barrons tells her that shi-sa-du is actually the Dark Book Sinsar Dubh, which otherworldly monsters called Unseelie are pursuing. Mac learns about the Fae, her ability as a sidhe seer uniquely positioned to find the Book, and grasps one fundamental truth: she is way over her head into something very sinister.
Darkfever starts off with the familiar conflict between the ignorant heroine and the mysterious stranger. It’s a little slow to begin with, but picks up speed after Mac discovers her powers as a sidhe-seer. There is a quite a bit of humour amidst all the paranormal occurrences, Mac’s reactions to Barron’s world as compared to her own are quite funny. There are hints of a romantic attraction, which are probably developed in later books, but I’m glad they are just hints because a full-blown romance while fighting faeries is distracting, to say the least. There are echoes of other fantasy books: Hallows of Harry Potter, glamour of Mortal Instruments, even the Porsche 911 of New Moon. The book ends on a cliffhanger of sorts, much like the season finale of a drama series, where you are left a tantalizing hook for the next instalment.
Honestly, Mac is irritating at first. She tries to be the sane practical feminist, but ends up sounding like a naïve blond bimbo. It’s only after she trusts Jericho and learns about the Fae world around her that her character begins to lose some of the Barbie sheen. She becomes more level-headed and brave, and a much stronger person than she was. In the space of a few days, she hobnobs with a vampire, steals from a mob boss and learns about her sister and herself. Her character develops enormously between the first page and the last, and her narration becomes a more pleasant read. I haven’t read any paranormal fantasy before, so I have nothing to compare it with, but I can say this: if you manage to stick with the book past the first 100 pages or so, you’ll like it.