Posts Tagged ‘karen marie moning’
Woven into four worlds of chivalry and honor, of danger and desire, are threads as fine as the touch of their creator, or as rough as the earthy desires ringing in the cash register. Containing a healthy balance of these two types, Tapestry was a good read, an in-between-er that allowed me to rest my mind from my current main read, which is Prospero’s Children by Jan Siegel.
Of the four stories, my favorite is To Kiss in the Shadow by Lynn Kurland, where a young man discovers his noble quest is to love and protect a shy young woman hiding her ruined beauty behind a tapestry frame. An Interrupted Tapestry by Madeline Hunter is a sweet tale about a wealthy trader who won the best deal of his life by finally declaring his love to an impoverished noblewoman he has loved for years, saving her from dishonor in the process. Shamelessly indulgent and escapist, Dragonswan by Sherrilyn Kenyon followed up the lust-on-first sight with an info overload of the story’s mythology so the fight and bed scenes could get it on with little competition—I didn’t care for this one.
Karen Marie Moning’s Into the Dreaming involves another Highlander, made mad from being imprisoned by the Unseelie King in an ice world for centuries; to ruin the plans of her enemy, the Seelie Queen transports a 20th-century aspiring romance novelist to 15th-century Scotland to bring some life back into the man of her dreams.This last was very funny, though I must honestly say the aspiring writer-heroine sucks at writing. Fortunately, her medieval audience are less critical of her bawdy style of writing.
With a mischievous dark elf around, how can he expect her to find the garderobe, much less use it?
Before there was the Fever series, there was the Highlander’s. A fun, light read, The Highlander’s Touch is part of a time travel romance series by Karen Marie Moning. In this book, fiercely independent but down-on-her-luck Lisa got caught up by a curse placed on a magical flask. Having fallen into 14th-century Scotland, in the castle of a forbidding warrior, she must learn to trust her captor as well as navigate a highly feudal and tumultuous time, while trying to figure out the finer points of using a chamber pot.
In tone, and, definitely, in emphasis, this one is very different from the darkness and violence of the urban fantasy that was my introduction to Moning. Though it does contain the same Celtic, Irish, and British mythological references that I encountered in Fever, minus much of the peril.
Because I had really liked Fever, I figured that her Highlander books wouldn’t be bad. Well, this book doesn’t have the tight pacing of Fever, but it’s got humor, and a bed scene that didn’t offend my sensibilities that much, not because it wasn’t explicit (It was! It was! ), but because the events leading up to that moment were carefully orchestrated so that when it did happen I didn’t feel that the heroine gave in out of the publisher’s demand for smut but as a natural choice influenced by events and emotions in the book.
MacKayla Lane Lane, fresh but bruised from her encounter with the Lord Master, who she suspects murdered her sister, is determined more than ever to locate the Sinsar Dubh, allegedly authored over a million years ago by the Unseelie King, and is said to hold the deadliest of all magic. Helping her, or deceiving her, are V’Lane, a Seelie prince, as lethal as he is sexy, and Jericho Barrons, who uses her talent ruthlessly yet who swears he will keep her alive at all costs.
Some books I savor, read slowly, rolling the taste and texture of the words, story, characters, and setting in my mouth. I feel very civilized and sophisticated when I read this way.
But with other books, I gulp, I snort down, I inhale, not bothering to breathe properly, the twists and turns, the visions that overwhelm me with every line, quote, and punctuation marks. I hardly see the words; the book transforms into a movie, and I must read, read, read so the scenes will play on uninterrupted. I am a barbarian, and I love it.
With Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning, I can’t help but be a barbarian.
And I’m not ashamed; because on top of the brisk plotting, the characters that we may hate or dislike but cannot dismiss as flat, the surface tension that’s painfully fragile over Dublin’s streets and rooftops, the machinations that have been playing out across millennia from Fae to humanity is good writing, Irish folklore infusing each light and dark passages from one scene to the next, and unimaginably powerful chemistry between characters.
This last item is something we sense only most of the time, though, as the book does not indulge in bodice-ripping, thank goodness. There is bodice-ripping in this volume, but only because he and she (won’t say who) almost didn’t make it, only did so by making hard choices.
Now, as much as I enjoyed this volume, I am apprehensive about the next three ones. I hear there are going to be five volumes to this series. When something takes that long to build up, what follows may be a long fall. I’d hate that. I have grand expectations: will the succeeding volumes be a match for them?
The Fever Series has a cool website. The intro page has this creepy animation of Dublin at night, with thunders and lightning, and shadows that are probably hiding all the creatures I’ve read about in the book…If you have trouble visualizing the setting, visiting it will make the story come alive for you. Website at www.sidhe-seersinc.com.
I discovered Karen Marie Moning’s DARKFEVER in Saigon of all places. Bought it, now reading it as I crash after days of high energy being a tourist, really enjoying it! the heroine starts out shallow but gutsy–which is not a minus in my book. The adventure is so much more intense if everything is bewildering at first, experienced by someone who has a lot of growing up to do to survive.
The story – pretty and sheltered, mackayla or mac only worries about her makeup, pink outfits, and earning enough college units to keep her parents happy. But her pretty little world shatters when her older sister gets killed in Dublin.
But before her sister dies, she calls mac on her cellphone, leaving a voice message about having to find the Sinsar Dubh. For the first time, she leaves her southern hometown and travels to Dublin to get the cops to reopen the case. But in dublin, she starts seeing shadows that move on their own and runs into menacing bookstore owner barrons, who tells her she is a sidhe seer, one who can see through fae glamor and thus a prime target for the light and dark fae.
Mac is scornful, suspicious; her modern sensibilities affronted by tales of fairies coming to get her. Then she sees more of the dark fae… and they definitely were out to get her!
So she reluctantly joins Barrons in a search for objects of power (oops, as Mac irreverently calls them). The Sinsar Dubh, it turns out, is a million-year old book containing the darkest and most powerful spells in the world. They must find it even as they discover the walls between fae and humans are falling down–more and more of the dark fae, abominations all of them, are pouring into our world, seeking life and beauty so they can steal them or destroy them…
Mac starts out as insipid, but as things become complicated we see her changing, motivated by grief, a desire to find her sister’s killer and avenge her, and maybe discovering a concern for something outside her small world defined by herself and family as she witnesses what the fae can do to people… Even the light fae destroys by sex; humans who have intercourse with the fae becomes addicted to sex, wasting away until they die of despair.
I rarely finish a book in record time these days because of so many distractions, but i did this one. The plot is gripping, the characters enigmatic (good guys aren’t really good; V’lane, the light fae prince, keeps trying to subjugate mac into acquiescing to rape by force of his sex magic), the setting exquisite (the foggy streets of Dublin, heels tapping on cobblestone roads, pubs and bookstores as beacons in a city being overrun by monsters), and there is enough tension between mac and Barrons to keep me wondering whether these two could be an item in future volumes.
Barrons is also sufficiently mysterious. Who is he really?
Tomorrow, i’m going to scour the bookstores for the sequels, else i won’t be able to sleep!