Thursday, September 22, 2011

There's a Bad Moon on the Rise

To continue with the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, this post will focus on the second and third books: Bloodfever and Faefever.  I'm still very much enjoying the series, as immersed as ever. The great thing about a series when blogging is that it provides the opportunity to expand beyond the basics of what makes a book good.  I can provide more depth and expound on themes and details.  This nicely mirrors what I love about series: the depth of world and character afforded by multiple books.

The Basics
Moning, Karen Marie. Bloodfever. New York: Delacorte P., 2007. Print.

Moning, Karen Marie. Faefever. New York: Delacorte P., 2008. Print.

Since my last post, I have learned that Moning (which rhymes with awning, not moaning, sorry Mom) is contracted to write at least three more books in the Fever series and is also currently working on a graphic novel featuring Mac (So fun stuff, yesh?). In these two novels, Mac descends even further down the rabbit hole, growing stronger as she goes.  However, despite Mac's character growth, the books are definitely a descent into to some quite dark depths. As of the end of Faefever, Mac is in one of the darker, more disturbing places I've had a book take me.  So much so that I am still not sure what I thought about the process that took me there.

The Books
In these next two books, Moning maintains many of the same themes that made Darkfever so addictive a read.  The humor that runs throughout the books continues to startle laughs out of me; a rarity since most books only succeed at producing a smirk accompanied by an internal giggle.  Whether Mac is getting caught dancing along to CCR's "Bad Moon Rising" wearing a light up helmet (which I swear fits perfectly in the plot) or is sneakily getting the better of Barrons only to have the rug swept out from under her feet in spectacular fashion (FF 131, 220), both Bloodfever and Faefever are laugh-out-loud funny.  And, given the ever-strengthening darkness that fills most of the pages, Moning's injection of humor provides much needed doses of comic relief, without which the books may well become too hopeless to be enjoyable.  Since maintaining hope in the face of fear is one of Moning's chief themes, her use of humor enables her to go beyond keeping hope in her characters and helps instill it in her audience.

While we're on the topic of themes, one of the most engaging in the Fever series so far has been the mystery behind Barrons's character. This particular mystery draws the reader's curiosity and keeps the audience constantly questing for additional information (especially if you're possessed by an insatiable need to know everything. Down Hermione!). Moning gives Mac just enough to make her think she might be about to discover a part of Barrons's true nature before she finds herself back at square one.  For example, Mac, being quite sure of herself and having provided a fairly convincing argument to her audience, believes she has proof that Barrons is actually an evil Unseelie.  While a careful reader will have found all sorts of holes in this theory (again showing Mac is not perfect), I still read with bated breath as Mac handed Barrons the spear (untouchable by Unseelie) only to have him hold it without flinching (FF 215-16).  Moning tantalizes us with just enough new information to keep us interested and guessing, without enough to really give us an answer.  Thus, we may discover Barrons is centuries old without learning even the significance of that information, and so we remain absorbed.

One of the more disturbing themes that runs throughout the series is that of consent, or rather the lack thereof.  Mac is frequently confronted by situations that hinder or remove her will.  At times this appears in the form of one of her supposed allies, a fae prince, attempting to control her by inciting all-encompassing lust (pick a spot; this happens repeatedly). At other times, Mac is being tested by her archenemy who uses Druid "Voice" to override her will with his own and force her to follow.  Whatever the cause, each time this occurs Mac overcomes either through rescue or regaining her will on her own.  This vulnerability makes it easy for a female reader to identify, since issues of will seems to be a timeless problem faced by women.  Nevertheless, I was a bit weirded out by this repeated theme, especially given its close association to mostly the vaguely sexual moments in the novels. But perhaps that's a good thing, and we need to be made to squirm a bit; regardless, these moments are less about entertainment and more about growth.  My unease turned out to be the result of well-crafted foreshadowing on Moning's part, since by the end of Faefever, Mac has fallen into a terrifying space where not only does she lack will, the idea of will holds no meaning for her at all. Disturbing, yes? But entirely necessary.  Moning has made it clear that these books are not about darkness but light; I suspect we'll appreciate that light much more after the dark place Moning takes us to.

Moning weaves plot threads that hold throughout her series rather than dropping off with each book, creating a really cohesive feel between the novels.  This is helped along by her pacing, which stays consistent within each book.  Moning moves her readers along in a book at a steady pace with occasional dips and spikes before dropping us off a sheer cliff face at the climax.  Rather than a steady build up before letting us roll down hill, Moning opts for a more dramatic plummet, making for an exciting finale.  I particularly like that this drop is typically followed by a chapter of recovery that wraps up nicely while leading into the next installment.

After three books (which despite the pacing of the blog, I finished in about 4 days), I'm still every bit as eager to continue in the series.  Thank goodness she's contracted for more!


  • In case you're wondering about that aforementioned book contract, try visiting this forum on Moning's website.  The forum itself is super spiffy, since Moning herself seems to be pretty involved.
  • Zomg! Moning has a BLOG! Right here on blogspot.
  • Last but not least, I direct you to the Fever series fan site Sidhe-Seers Inc. (Though the character who runs said organization in the books is loathsome so far.)



  1. Ahhhh....but after Barrons handled the spear, he shoved his hands in his pockets....

    Yes, I've been reading them. I think I'm on the third book.

    And I REALLY want some apple pie now.

  2. Mwahahahaaaaaa!!!! It was good apple pie, too. And no spoilers. The next book post is on something entirely different. ; ) Glad you're reading and enjoying the books.


You know you want to . . .