A year or so ago I stumbled across this fantastic series (pun intended). Often termed urban fantasy romance or just romance, The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning is one of the most complicated science fiction universes that I have ever read. Which is saying … something, as I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy series. The character development of the main protagonist, MacKayla, is absolutely amazing. One complaint I’ve had of recent television shows (Bones, House ) and book series (Anita Blake, Dresden Files), that although amazing series the character keeps doing the same things over and over, and there is very little growth. Learn something for once people! Grow up a bit! Stop doing what you’ve always done and expecting different results. Definition of insanity much? But Moning takes the character of Mac and over the five books Mac’s character goes through so many changes that it is a wonder she survives. But survive she does, to become a really strong and powerful woman. Shadowfever is the last book in the series and therefore:
I talk about the entire series in some detail but not the important things from Shadowfever.
The series begins when MacKayla finds out that her sister dies while doing a semester abroad in Ireland. The entire five books contain Mac’s (as she is affectionately called by friends and family) journey to discover who killed her sister and why. But, the sci/fi element comes in when Mac encounters Seelie and Unseelie beings of fae origin and one man who can’t be categorized as either (which is where the romance comes in of course) while searching the fate of her sister, which somehow was intertwined with the fae courts.
What has enthralled me from the beginning is Moning’s ability to bring this blond southern belle character from a sunshine side the pool tanner to a fighter who destroys shades in the shadows surrounded by the husks of dead humans who now look like pieces of paper. Once a bubbly blond bimbo Mac transforms by pulling from deep withing herself a reservoir of resolve, fight, and the ability to carry on even though the world around her is literally falling to pieces.
At the end of Dreamfever (the fourth book in the series) I loathed Moning with every fiber of my being for stopping the story at that precise moment knowing that I couldn’t read the next part for an entire year. But then I turned to the author’s note for some hope that maybe the next book would be out sooner than I expected. That hope was dashed. Instead Moning explained how the series came to her in a dream, that she had no control over the story line and was just putting pen to paper. Her blog explains in further detail:
“The entire series came to me one night in a dream. I said that in a recent interview and the person interviewing me looked at me strangely and said, ‘Wow! That must have been a really long dream.’
It wasn’t. In the dream I wasn’t actually being told the story, or watching it unfold. I was reading a book, turning the pages faster and faster, being dragged along by the throat. The feeling was both exhilarating and uncomfortable. I was thrilled to be reading it. I didn’t like anything keeping me so compulsively riveted. It’s been a love-hate relationship from the beginning.”
I was fascinated by this concept of telling a story from a dream, and so my irritation cooled, though my anticipation did not. Finally the day came when I could read the latest installment and I have been devouring it ever since I got my hands on it. I no longer loathe Moning, in fact, I think I’m in love. This series has brought me through a whirl wind of emotion and it ends in the same manner. A rough journey of emotions as the reader follows the story of Mac growing up, her redemption becomes paramount because of who Mac is, a woman who has loved and lost, grown and killed, grieved and hated, who bubbled until she could no longer hide behind her cheer and faced the truth unlike most of us ever will.
One of the first paragraphs that really caught by attention was on page 44 of Shadowfever:
“The real thinkers of the world aren’t the best dressed. Staying on top of the latest fashions, accessorizing, and presenting oneself is time consuming. It takes a lot of effort, energy, and concentration to be incessantly happy and perfectly groomed. You meet somebody like that- ask yourself what they’re running from.”
I find that to be absolutely true in a way that almost makes me panic. It is so much easier to spend all my time obsessing about how much I’ve worked out, how many cookies or donuts I’ve eaten, whether my make up is perfect without being too much, if my shoes match my scarf, than it is to think about where my life is headed. So I escape into my books and television because they bring me emotions I don’t often find in real life, as in this story, where the ending is about hope, survival, and perseverance. Mac truly grows like very few characters are allowed to in other series. Maybe that is because the end was in sight before the series began.