I don’t usually do multiple books in one review, but I’m a bit behind so I thought this would be easier than clogging up the main page. Hence, I’ll try to do at least the ones that are part of the same series in one review, starting with the “final” three books of the Fever series. These are not in fact the final three books since there are more than five books in the series (I think from other character views?), but based on the “After Words,” Moning’s initial idea for the series covered the first five books, so this is the wrap up of that first main saga of the series.
In ways, it is rather obvious that the five books together make up the idea. The first two novels especially don’t have much of a main independent stand alone narrative (in my opinion), and are much more about set up, and learning about the world Mac has found herself thrust into. The same applies for the third book, for the most part, until the end, which is a complete game changer, and basically, I recommend having the fourth novel nearby because the way the third novel ends is insane, and requires the follow up immediately. I was actually surprised how bonkers the end for the third novel was after the relative quiet of the novel (and the previous two in the series).
The fourth novel deals with the aftereffects of the third novel, and involves Mac once again figuring out new clues and shifting stories, until finally, the fifth book gives answers and ties everything together. For the most part, I actually thought it was interesting how it all came together and the different red herrings Moning explored in figuring out the truth of the Unseelie King and Mac’s origins, but also, the end definitely had a bit of deus ex machina feel to it with how some things are resolved.
So here are some general comments and thoughts I had for the series as a whole. I enjoyed them but they never quite went above trashy, addicting, and frustrating read for me, and I definitely had some moments of hate reading when it came to the main character. I also had a hard time really buying her relationship with Barrons. Like I understood his appeal, but I also didn’t feel like they really had chemistry. Some of that was definitely related to the inability of Barrons and Mac to have a real conversation. Look, Mac, you might believe and Barrons are having these deep meaningful conversations through looks only but until he speaks, I am going to assume you are misinterpreting him. Besides, the two of them avoid so much communication, it’s not mysterious and sexy, it’s dysfunctional and obnoxious. I’m sorry, verbalize, people, verbalize. I understand being able to communicate with a look but don’t give me a page long conversation that only occurred through expressions … that’s how misunderstandings happen.
The novels definitely got better going forward and yet, I wouldn’t say they quite hit the level where I would recommend them because some of the things simply didn’t quite work for me. Still hate the Petunia thing (I’m a good Southern girl, I don’t use curse words), and the whole dark Mac vs. light Mac and the Southern belle spin on her.
The sexual politics in this one are also dark and weird, and there is a lot of rapey stuff happening, and so many consent issues. One of the more interesting sex scenes was also a situation where the woman was clearly unable to consent because she was under the influence of magic and I am not even sure how we are supposed to approach that. It made me very uncomfortable. One character is also basically “fucked better,” and even afterwards she and the character that helped her continue to act like children around each other in their inability to communicate (also, naked man dancing to Bruce Springsteen or Creedence Clearwater Revival is not an image I need in a book even once, let alone referred to repeatedly as a sign of his humanity – all I can picture is the guy’s junk swinging around, and no thank you).
Additionally, the men are so condescending towards the women. On the one hand, they are older and experienced, and Mac was a 20 year old brat for parts of the series but it was not simply her age or lack of experience. There was definitely an overtone of sexism in their treatment, and I am not sure how much I really want to read that kind of stuff, even if we are supposed to view the men as assholes. At some point, I don’t really want a novel filled with assholes and manipulative women who don’t want to work with others. Which leads me to the sidhe seers: the internal politics of the other sidhe seers had a lot of things that were irritating, even though as an idea and organization they were interesting. But maybe I am used to more competent heroines so I should probably appreciate a young, flawed woman figuring out herself and her life.
Having said that, will I probably eventually check out what she follows up this initial closed story with? I’d say it’s at around 70%. Moning definitely left quite a few openings in the new world order left behind by the crossing of the worlds, and if it is from the view point of an older Mac or completely different character, it certainly might be interesting. Certainly, she finally had learned to communicate by the end, and I did like the world building aspects even if I was mixed on the main character.