Review: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Karen Marie Moning
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 31, 2006
Series or Standalone: Fever #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 4 Stars


CW: Murder; sexual assault

I will fully admit, the first time I tried to read this book a few months back, it didn’t work for me. I think I was in the wrong headspace as I barely made a dent in it the first go around. HOWEVER. I am so glad that I picked this up again because I ended up binging the first five books in a crazy short amount of time.

Darkfever is the first book in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. It introduces us to MacKayla “Mac” Lane as she sets out to Ireland to investigate the murder of her sister Alina. When she gets there, her world is turned upside down as she learns she is a sidhe-seer – one gifted with the ability to see Fae. As Mac delves into the mystery of her sister’s murder, she constantly runs into the mysterious Jericho Barrons, who begrudgingly explains more about the world of the Fae, while also using Mac to track the mystical book, the Sinsar Dubh.

Y’all this BOOK! THIS SERIES. Oh my god. What was I thinking the first time around putting it down? The world-building, the characters, the mystery…I became fully engrossed in it. 

I will admit, the writing style did take me a little bit of time to get used to. It’s told from Mac’s point of view, but it’s a future Mac narrating the tale of everything that happened to her. It took me a little bit of getting used to as you’ll get these asides hinting at future things that haven’t been revealed yet. 

I also was not the biggest fan of Mac at the beginning of this book. She felt incredibly superficial and unmotivated. However, Moning takes Mac on a JOURNEY throughout this book and the series overall. I’ve read up to book 5 at the point of reading this book, and I cannot believe the Mac in Shadowfever is the same Mac in Darkfever. The murder of Mac’s sister truly changes Mac’s life in so many ways. Instead of taking her sister’s murder sitting down, it spurs Mac to action. I love how tenacious she is and willing to do whatever it takes to find out who murdered her sister. Even when people like Barrons tell her to go home, she knows she has to see this journey out until the end.

Speaking of Barrons, he has to be one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever seen in a novel. He’s not an incredibly likable character – he’s arrogant, overbearing and dismissive. Yet, I cannot help but be fascinated by him. He’s got an aura of mystery, and I honestly just want to know more about who he is…or should I say what he is? He knows too much about the history of the Fae and mythical objects to be fully human. As I was reading the books in this series, I kept telling myself, “I will go to bed once we find out what Barrons is.” My recommendation to you would be not to do that. It takes about five books for that question to be answered. 

Outside of Barrons and Mac, V’Lane rounds out our main cast of characters. V’Lane is a Seelie prince who has the power to inspire lust in humans. Mac nicknames him a “death-by-sex” fairy, and it’s very accurate. I wasn’t sure how I felt about him in this book as his first encounter with Mac was very non-consensual, and he seems like he has ulterior motives. 

This book has a ton of world-building in it, yet it doesn’t feel forced down your throat. Because Mac is learning the world, the reader goes with her on the journey as she learns the ins and outs of the Fae. I truly enjoyed the plot of this book as it took me places I didn’t expect it to go. I don’t want to go into too many details as it’s so fun watching the story unravel at its own pace with all its twists and turns. 

Darkfever is a promising start to the Fever series. Give it a few chapters to pick up as it wasn’t until Mac gets to Ireland and meets Barrons where I started to get hooked. This book isn’t necessarily my favorite in the series, but it does a great job introducing the world and characters and putting many of the bigger pieces in play. 

Be warned! Once you start this series, you’re going to want to keep reading the rest of the books in it immediately! I was so engrossed in the book that I didn’t even realize I was at the end! I’m so glad all the books are published as I immediately had to grab Bloodfever to continue on. 

If you’re an urban fantasy fan or like books with Faeries in them, this will be right up your alley. There are some major content warnings for future books, though, so check those out if they’re triggering. 

I think it’s safe to say, I’m fully a fan of this series now. I’m looking forward to continuing my read of it as there are 11 books total in it, even though it originally was just going to be 5 books. 

I cannot believe I have slept on this series for so long (it was published in the mid-2000s and some of the references truly date it to that time in a way that gave me nostalgia). I also feel like I haven’t heard many people talk about it! It’s a fascinating series with some of the best world-building and character development I’ve ever seen. It’s a new book I feel like I’m going to be pushing on everyone!

Let me know what you think!

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