Quick warning: long-winded, semi-coherent, and possibly spoilery words to follow in three…two…one…
Way, way back in the day, a friend told me I absolutely had to read the Highlander books from Karen Marie Moning. Time-traveling Druid Scotsmen? Why on earth would I ever read those? Fine, to shut her up I read them…and loved them. It was well before I even knew what PNR or UF stood for, but I loved them. Dageus. Drustan. Adam. Cian. The whole gang. And my love for them was part of the reason I held off on reading the Fever series. I had heard it was nothing like those great books, so why would I bother? But I kept hearing about them, over and over, and I finally decided that 2013 was going to be the year I read them. And guess what? I loved them, too. Fabulous, fabulous story. These are not quick, fun reads. They are complex, involved, and very layered. And if you are like me, you get good and hooked.
I went into the Fever world with my eyes wide open, though. I had a few spoilers, but nothing too extreme. I had heard a lot of the pros and cons many felt over the course of the first five books (or maybe I should say the first arc?). There was quite a bit of talk about Mac 1.0, the blonde barbie in way too far over her head. Her annoying accessorizing and good southern girl miss popularity routine got on some nerves. But I was surprised to say that not only didn’t she bug me at all, but I liked the fact that she was normal. She was a normal girl – well, correction. She seemed like a normal girl – in an absolutely abnormal situation. And she learned. Book after book, Mac learned, and adapted, and made mistakes, then picked herself up and started again. By the end of Shadowfever, Mac is one hell of a heroine and a force to be reckoned with in her own right.
The one thing I had heard repeatedly was that there was no other, er, “hero” like Jericho Z. Barrons. Ever. Turns out that was true. Hard to get a handle on, impossible to second-guess or even hope to control, he had no limits. At times suave, brutish, violent, protective, mocking and downright nasty, he did definitely rise to the top of the most memorable male leads from any series I have read. I don’t think you can say he is a good guy – but he is the perfect guy for Mac.
One blessing I am most grateful for is that I did not actually start these books until after the fifth one had been released, since there was no way I could’ve handled those cliffhangers. No. Way.
But then came Iced.
As much as I can truly say I enjoyed the first five Fever books featuring Mac and Barrons, I was surprised by how completely I got involved in Iced. I shared the same concerns as most others about a book that was focused on a 14 year old heroine, but in no way, shape of form is this a YA story. None at all. It is violent, brutal at times, and no one is spared. While I know many found Dani an annoying character, I enjoyed her because she is what she is. The “dudes” and “fecks” do get old sometimes, but that is Dani. A ball of energy. No whining, no self-pity, just all out fight. She jumps in without thinking most of the time because she is determined to save the day, determined to fight for those who sometimes don’t even want her help. Do I wish that as a character she had been a bit older? Sure. But the way it was written the only time I thought of her age was when someone made a specific mention of it. She will age throughout the following two books, and then things are really going to get interesting.
So, here I am. Loving me the Iced. And then…it happens. IT. The thing that bugged me when I read it, then flat out pissed me off all day today at work when I thought about it. Ryodan…and Jo. You know you have read a great book when the story sticks with you, but you might be a bit too invested when you are cranky all day at work because a character in a book hooks up with some random chick in what comes across as a…a…relationship with someone other than the heroine. Nuh-uh. Did I want Dani and Ryodan doing anything when Dani is 14? Nope. Did I want some other broad claiming some sort of rights over Ryodan? Hell no. It really bugged me, and the first thing I did tonight when I got home was do some research on this whole Jo debacle (die Jo. Die). Yes, I have gotten that bad.
What I found made me feel better. I came across a chat that KMM did back in November on MoningManiacs.com., and in it she assures that all is not as it seems. She assures that there is no blood connection between Ryodan and Dani (the thought did cross my mind once or twice myself, especially after DieJo showed up). She says that Christian is in an in-between stage right now, but that she has big plans for him. And as for DieJo, she says…
Ok, that’s it. I wrote her too good. Crimeny. You were SUPPOSED to be irritated by this. Just not quite so bent out of shape. It’s intended to make you feel all those things: Ew, Jo doesn’t deserve him, Ew, what about Dani, Ew, what about Ryodan anyway because we really can’t get a “romantic” feel for him in this book (because you’re not supposed to yet.) ICED is book 6 in the series but book 1 in this trilogy. This is the foundation where I lay out the characters, establish their flaws, point you toward the hero’s journey. Can’t be a journey if everybody’s already at the end of Perfect Street.
And when someone asked why Ryodan has a girlfriend when none of the others are allowed to because of their pact, her answer made me giggle…
Ryodan doesn’t have a girlfriend and they all know it.
Heh. That really did make me feel better.
This rant is pretty much so I can keep things straight in the probable year we are going to have to wait for Burned to be released. What did you think of Fever 1-5 and Iced? Love? Hate? Epic or not? Did you share my Fever love, and my Jo hate? What do you see happening. I will add that I do think that Shadowfever should be the end of Mac and Barron’s story. End it on top, and maybe move on to Lor after Dani and Ryodan’s turn is over. Lor, gotta love him.