It cannot be denied. Karen Marie Moning can build a world like no other Urban Fantasy author I have ever read. She completely reels me in. Captivates me. Enthralls me. Makes me go without sleep to find out what happens next. She did it with her original five Fever books and she has done it again here, with her first Dani O'Malley spinoff.
To be fair, it's not exactly a spinoff at all. It's not narrated by Mac, but otherwise, this book is 100% Fever. The tone is the same. The feel. It's gritty and dark and sexual. It brings back all the core characters and picks up their lives exactly where they left off at the end of Shadowfever
. It was awesome.
Before I started, I was really worried about Dani as a main character. She grew on me, though. I was surprised to find that I liked her. But I was even more surprised at all the men
in this book who liked her... really liked her
. The one thing that kept clogging the book up for me was that these grown men all want to make her their woman. She four-fecking-teen. One of the guys --Dancer-- I could wrap my brain around. He's 17. They were friends first. But Christian? A pseudo-Unseelie prince who is 11 years older than her and wants her for his bride? Ryoden? An ancient mind-reading, bad ass puppeteer of the masses? Um... nooo. I will grant you, Dani is tough, smart, special and has a heart of gold, but I just don't get it. She is growing, but she is overwhelmingly immature in many ways. Maybe the Gray Woman gave her more of a boost than we know in that last book. (The more I think about that explanation, the more I dig it.)
There are multiple POVs, which I actually really liked. We got to see inside of characters that were all on the periphery of Mac's world. I didn't like everything they did. Jo, for instance, was... disappointing. Kat was surprising. And Christian was --well, Christian was a freak. I hope he can be redeemed. Not as a love interest, but just as a man. As for Ryoden, I know most people are going to see him as the love interest. After all, he's the Barrons of this book, right? But it's not what I want. A man who is thousands of years old, who began stalking Dani when she was nine just does not feel good to me. It most assuredly does not feel sexy. I am hoping for a Dancer HEA, because I really think there is more to him than meets the eye. And it doesn't squick me out. Ryo is this intensely sexual being and Dani will only be 17 when her three books end. It just doesn't work for me.
I have faith, though. As scared as I was about the direction this book would take, I loved 97% of it. And I am betting KMM makes me understand the other 3% before she is through. She hasn't let me down yet.
P.S. If you're wondering whether this book ends on a Fever-esque cliffhanger, the answer is no. There is a minor one, but nothing like we saw at the end of Dreamfever
. I say --don't wait, read it now.