Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Fever, #5
(The series turned PNR later)

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever. — Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh -- a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.

“Dying is overrated. Human sentimentality has twisted it into the ultimate act of love. Biggest load of bullshit in the world. Dying for someone isn't the hard thing. The man that dies escapes. Plain and simple. Game over. End of pain...Try living for someone. Through it all-good, bad, thick, thin, joy, suffering. That's the hard thing.”

A Re-Read

Shadowfever delivered all the series build-up promised and is one of my favorite “series enders” ever. At a healthy length of 671 pages, MacKayla has come full-circle on finding out who she is, how she’s changed, who she can really trust, and what horrors the future has in store for her. Finally we get a proper balance of the relationship that’s been back-and-forth between her and Barrons, finally we know what he is, finally we find out why he has been hunting the book. Finally we find out who MacKayla really is and what she’s capable of. It was well worth the wait.

The second half of the book is better than the first half, which does have a few small annoyances. Moning writes unbearable grief well, forcing MacKayla to confront her emotions and horror at losing an important part of herself. Forced to do things she never thought she would, there was some misunderstandings about that which gritted my teeth a bit, but once that was resolved again I could breathe a sigh of relief and get back the nitty-gritty of the story.

“I hate fate. I don’t believe in her. Unfortunately, I think the bitch believes in me.”

Of course fans of the series will delight in the relationship connection with Barrons – how my heart and hormones did stutter – but there are also so many twists and misleads and awesome surprises in this book that it shines full-force plot wise. Yes, there is a reveal with the Unseelie King and it’s epic. Yes, there is more with V’Lane and all is revealed to surprise me. Yes, there are surprises with several other characters. Yes, there are some more demented but powerful scenes with the book. There’s fun, there’s humor, there’s excitement, there’s drama, there’s mystery, there’s romance, there’s lust, there’s thrill.

Small annoyances aside, it’s not a perfect book without flaw but it is a five-star ending that dares to be more clever than the previous books and ties all sorts of loose connections. There are a lot of little things that have been leading up to bigger things, and it wasn’t always possible to spot these until reading THIS book.

The ending is as close to an HEA as a series like this could get, but of course since the world-building is so dark and tainted, it could never be rainbows and roses.

While Barrons is more likable the more secrets that are revealed and the more connected he gets to MacKayla, but he and his men will never be “good guys”, and MacKayla herself will never again be the pure Georgia girl who donned herself in rainbow colors and was obsessed with the different shades of pink nailpolish. I was happy she did get back to some of her roots (hair) and seems to settle into her new skin with a little more style and ease.

Even though Moning made the book much longer than the others, there’s still so much going on here it’s almost overwhelming. Lots of emotion, quick pacing, but it’s still glorious. The series would have been great ended here – but there was a spin-off of sorts. Still, for the first five being a standalone series this ending fifth was a winner. 



Book Quotes

“Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best, and then there are those remarkably rare, addictive ones who just bring out the most. Of everything. “

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