By Tiffany Young
I generally don't choose dark fantasies on my own, so if you're wondering why I continue to write about them, though I rarely give them decent reviews, it's because I'm a part of a supernatural book club. As such, each month, our group joins to discuss the book we've just read and choose a new one.
This month's book was "Darkfever" by Karen Marie Moning and, though the book was told in the eyes of its 22-year-old main character "Mac" it seemed a bit more from the view of a 17-year-old wannabe sorority girl. Even so, I somewhat found myself liking Mac—the fact that she wanted to avenge her sister's death, would go to Ireland to do so and liked pink, a lot, seemed to make me think perhaps we could get along. She also doesn't let people push her around, physically or emotionally, except when it might kill her to do otherwise.
The part of the book I wasn't as keen on was the fairies, known as the Fae, which only sidhe-seers, such as Mac could see. I guess I just don't like the idea of fairies being anything other than cute little troublemakers. Maybe if they had been called gremlins, I'd have been more keen.
I keep going back and forth on how much I like or dislike the book because it's the first of a series, which means at the end of the book, there's no resolution, meaning it could be going somewhere really good or really bad. With sequels, that's always the case, right?
But I'm digressing (which if you like, you should read the book, because the author does that A LOT).
The novel begins when Mac gets a phone call asking that she identify her dead sister, Alina's, body. Alina, who Mac believes she is very close to, has been living in Ireland for study abroad. Since Mac's family is grieving and she is having a hard time getting through to her parents she decides she must go to Ireland herself and figure out who killed her sister, since the investigator in Ireland has already closed the case.
Her first night there, Mac has a run-in with an elder lady who says puzzling things, including calling her by another family name. Mac assumes the woman is crazy and goes about her business. The next day she gets lost in a bad neighborhood, but then finds herself at a bookstore, where she can call a cab, but when she asks about a book her sister had told her about in a frantic phone call just before her death, the store owner begins questioning her. Mac is saved that night by a taxi cab driver who pokes his head into Barrons Baubles and Books. Though she doesn't know it, Mac has stumbled across a place she will soon look to again and again for safety from the dark fairies she will meet.
Mac begins having daydreams as she is looking at different people in which they are monsters. She thinks she's going crazy, but when she tells Barrons, the bookstore owner, he questions everything about what she sees and tells her she doesn't know what she is. But she soon finds out shes a sidhe-seer or human who can see the fairies that appear only as human to most humans or that cannot be seen at all by most humansl.
It turns out Mac is more than just a sidhe-seer, too. She's also a Null, meaning she can touch a Fae and freeze them, which gives her time to get away or attack. Now, with Barron's help she just needs to figure out how to use her gifts, since it seems not only have the Fae found out about her, but are after her to deliver the same fate as her sister.
If Mac did not have the skill to sense the dark book (through nausea) her sister said she needed to find, she would not be of use to Barron's, but this unique skill means he has a reason to keep her safe. Though they don't exactly get along, they do put up with one another enough to use one another.
Mac finds herself far from her world of relaxing at the pool painting her fingernails to one of killing fairies, stealing magical objects and taking off her clothes in public (this part, you'll have to read for yourself).