Review: Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning


“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.”

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.
Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.


 

“That’s it. Fate’s a fickle whore. We’re not going. Take your clothes off and get back in my bed.”

 

Fate is a fickle whore. You heard the man, get going!

And yet: These two yell at each other for over five hundred fucking pages.

But seriously, I love slow burns and this is the epitome of good slow burn. It burns and burns and you wait for what seems like forever. Kicks fly. Remarks and comebacks become their ammo. Guns pointed at each other in that final duel. Challenges accepted. They always felt something for each other. Nothing is more satisfying than watching a good slow burn simmer and unfold for this long because it is so worth it. It’s so satisfying once you get what you want.


Silence. Mac is cold. Lonely. Miserable. She’s more alone than ever in this novel.

She see’s nothing but pain and irrationality is her best friend. She’s mean. She’s a got a plan. And she’s ready to burn the world. That last scene in book four was a terror to wait for (all ten minutes of it!), but it’s more painful to realize the reality of it.

She was once a pretty spoiled brat obsessed with pink and never giving a care in the universe. She no longer knows this woman. She’s long gone. No longer do we see the Too Stupid To Live heroine who rushes into situations. But what we never realized: there was a reason for her actions. Moning deceives us again and again. But she did it in a way that I can understand. It was always her plan. I may not like it, but I can get behind it. It was always going to be explained. Why is Mac the way she is? What is she, truly? What is her past? Where does she come from? These are questions that are answered.

Mac punches the air with exuberance when life craps right in front of her. She just walks over that shit pile every fucking time. The coolest thing about Mac is her bloodthirsty desire for vengeance. Most authors turn a previously bloodthirsty heroine into a regretful and remorseful heroine who at the last moment decides not to kill. Fucking sick of that. But no no, Moning does not give us the short end of the stick.

Deceive. Deceive. Deceive. DECEIVE. That is the book’s intent and apparently it’s also Moning’s

Now there is no possible way to review this book without spoilers, soooooooo…..I would advise you not to read this review unless you’ve read it. I repeat there are SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW. GET OUT! I was being polite about it first. But now I’m going to be an aggressive bitch about it: Get the fuck off my review unless you’ve read this book. Because when I say there are spoilers, I fucking mean it. I don’t mean there are teensy baby spoilers. I mean there are giant ass trolls of spoilers. My spoilers are trolls. Move. It.

Got it? THERE. ARE. SPOILERS. IN. THIS. REVIEW. Looks to the left. Looks to the right. Waits. Waits another minute. Quickly looks behind her. Okay. Coast is clear.

Let’s do this bitch.

Things are never what they seem. There can never be six words more true than those. Illusions are everywhere. Moning has dethroned Marchetta as the Manipulative Bitch. It’s no longer Marchetta the Manipulator, but Moning the Manipulator. She’s a genius at planting clues and foreshadows. Every single action, thought, description, discovery, emotion were carefully and wickedly plotted by Moning. No wonder her books take so damn long to write. She must have to go through every page and then go fact check them by reading previous books. She must have piles and piles of notes in order to carefully plant her clues so that everything would make as much sense as it does. I don’t think I’ve ever landed so flat on my ass before. But everyone has a first, right? I don’t think I’ve ever seen clues and conclusions plotted and planted so well and so deceptively before. Flat on my ass.

Delusions everywhere.

-First she thinks she knows who she is.

– She accepts it.

– Then: mind blown.

– Then: she accepts it.

– Then: Mind Blown.

– Again she grabs onto it.

– MIND BLOWN.

– FREAK OUT.

– FREAK OUT.

– WHAT IS LIFE?

-AM I ALIVE?

– AM I HUMAN?

– accepts it.

-MIIIINNNNDD BLLLOWWWN.

– Mac explodes.

At the start of this novel Mac is at a loss for her heart, it feels lost. Even in the face of pain and loss, she grabs onto life and grabs life by the reins. She moves on and lives. She finds a path. This is what I loved about her. That she didn’t just die in a whole like most heroines who have. She kills. She looks for blood. She joins the enemy and deceives him. I both hated and loved this part of Mac. I loved her thirst for power, but hated her irrational actions. Moning could have toned down the pity party. But then when I think about it, if she had done that Barrons’ death wouldn’t have been as earth shattering. It was already clear Mac loved him. But she hadn’t realized it yet. And if she had toned down the pity party, the discovery that he was alive wouldn’t have had the manipulative coercion that it did.

We all have our OTPs( One True Pairing). Despite my control: I think Jericho Barrons and Mackayla Lane just became one of my OTPs. Yes. I have several. I dislike many things about these books, but the overall genius of Moning and the utterly squishy heart strings I felt when reading their romance unfold had me.

BARRONS.BAR.RONS.BAR.RONS.JERICHO.JERICHO.JER.ICHO.JER.ICHO.

All I have to say is: sexy couch scene. *perv smile*

RAWR. CUE THE SEXY MUSICA.

“You’re Mac,” he says. “And I’m Jericho. And nothing else matters. Never will. You exist in a place that is beyond all rules for me…”

*whistles* look at that ass.

They had me. You got me. You made me feel things I didn’t want to feel. I didn’t want to like Barrons. But, I did. I didn’t want to like Mac, but eventually I did. I didn’t want to find their romance sexy. But, I did. While I didn’t like the lack of strong women and their lack of power in these novels, I loved the story. I loved how slow their romance evolved. I liked that Mac didn’t come to realize her true feelings for Barrons until very late in the series. I don’t even think she was a coward for it. Some people love late. And some people are hit with it in the face and still don’t see it until it’s staring at you and your ass is grass.

Things I didn’t like in this series:

I’m going to be a bit of a party pooper. I hated that a lot of the men made a lot of the important and powerful decisions. They always seemed to be in control of what would happen in the story. It’s as if Mac wasn’t at all in control of her story, but it was the men. Barrons made a lot of the plans that would be carried out. The Unseelie King even took control of what would happen to Cruce at the end. The Lord Master and everyone around Mac would manipulate and seduce Mac to make her actions based on what they did to her. All of the power was in their hands and she had to choose what the best decision was.

THAT IS SUCKY.

When you are a women in a world of men and you have to make the smart choice instead of being in charge or your choices. When one person is trying to get you to side his way, another his, and another his. What’s the right choice even when you aren’t in charge? Maybe this was a feminist idea of what it’s like to live in a world of men and still come out a strong woman? Even though I loved the story, I was saddened that Moning didn’t make the women equal power holders.

V’lane. Fucking V’lane.

I loathe that rat bastard. I always hated him for a reason. And now I know. I dislike that V’lane became the leader of the far, you know if he hadn’t been iced by the Unseelie King. In my mind it basically told me: even in the end men have all the power. He’s basically doing all the work for the Seelie Queen. He makes al the great decisions for her. The Queen is save by the King and taken away as if he’s her knight in shining armor. And it doesn’t end there. There are very few women that I felt were truly powerful and strong. The first being Mac. The second is Dani. The third is Kat. Three. Count them. Three people. That’s it. That’s a bit of a problem in this series. Men having all the power. Up until the end men were always saving Mac. I would’ve preferred she saved her own ass. I am in charge of my future no matter how many men try to get in my fucking path. That is what I want. I think she saved her ass a lot, but not at the end. The Unseelie King does. That’s totally…RAWR.

Throughout this entire novel Mac’s vagina becomes very important. That is: who gets in her pants. At the start of the novel Mac joins in with the LM to try to gain power for her own means. When she discovers Barrons hadn’t died after all, Barrons believes she slept with the LM. Long afterwards Barrons throws this in her face repeatedly. She never did sleep with the LM. This disappointed me since it came from Barrons. I know he’s not perfect. Far from it. He’s neither good nor evil. Many of his actions are seen as bad, but they are what he is. Part of what he is: a caveman. He and his men all act in a very old fashioned way in their view of women. It’s true. While he loves Mac and respects her opinions and strengths, he does claim her sexuality and body as his own. And she does the same for him. I was not okay with him slut shaming her for supposedly sleeping with someone that wasn’t him before they had committed to each other.

Barrons: 

Initially he used references to sex to shut me up. Then he used sex to wake me up. After I was no longer Pri-ya, he’d returned to using references to sex to keep me on edge. Forcing me to remember how intimate we once were.

This represents the difference in how Barrons treats sex as a way to keep Mac at a distance. He’s a caveman for sure, but he also uses sex as a device to keep her at bay from knowing that the does have feelings for her.

There’s also the way Ryodan and his men treat Mac’s sexuality: misochism? Perhaps. Or is it just part of their thousands of years old lifespan? Are they truly sexist or do they just view women in a different way? Do they view women as powerful, but appreciate their sexuality in a very old world way? Or do they truly see women as nothing but sex objects? And if this is true then why do they see Mac as a threat if all they see in her is a sex object? Why would they want to kill her to protect their order if she’s just a sex object? Perhaps there’s more to their character stereotypes than we’re seeing. One thing is for sure: I dislike how many of these men curb Mac’s ability to be a power holder in her own story:

His face hardened. “Strip if you’re coming up.”

I gave him a look. “I have on skintight clothes.”

“Non-negotiable. All of it. Nothing but skin.”

Lor folded his arms, leaned back against the staircase, and laughed. “She’s got a great ass. If we’re lucky she’s wearing a thong.”

Then:

He didn’t think I’d do it. He was wrong.

Bristling, I kicked off my shoes, tugged my shirt over my head, skinned off my jeans, popped my bra, and stripped off my thong. Then I put my shoulder holster back on, tucked my spear into it, and walked up the stairs naked. I put a little jiggle in my walk and held his gaze the whole time.

This example perfectly shows how these men take away Mac’s respect and power in this story. But what I do love is the way Mac handled it. She was confident in her actions and sexuality. She didn’t bow down to Ryodan or Lor, in their obvious desire, in their attempt to try to assert themselves in their manly macho power and lord it over her ass. She came out the victor here in her decision to walk proud in her sexuality and confidence as a woman. No matter how resilient they are in shoving their dongs in her face, she just came out just as resilient in showing her vag and didn’t care who the fuck knew it.

 

I will reread this series into the ground. B&M are officially going on my OTP list. I started out hating this series, I ended it crazed and happy.

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