CORRECTION – REVIEW by Jena: Feverborn (Fever #8) by Karen Marie Moning – CONTAINS #SPOILERS!

FeverbornNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In Karen Marie Moning’s latest installment of the epic Fever series, Mac, Barrons, Ryodan, and Jada are back—and the stakes have never been higher or the chemistry hotter. Hurtling us into a realm of labyrinthine intrigue and consummate seduction,Feverborn is a riveting tale of ancient evil, lust, betrayal, forgiveness, and the redemptive power of love.

When the immortal Fae destroyed the ancient wall dividing the worlds of Man and Faery, the very fabric of the universe was damaged, and now Earth is vanishing bit by bit. Only the long-lost Song of Making—a haunting, dangerous melody that is the source of life itself—can save the planet.

But those who seek the mythic song must contend with old wounds and new enemies, passions that burn hot and hunger for vengeance that runs deep. The challenges are many: the Keltar at war with nine immortals who’ve secretly ruled Dublin for eons, Mac and Jada hunted by the masses, the Seelie queen nowhere to be found, and the most powerful Unseelie prince in all creation determined to rule both Fae and Man. Now the task of solving the ancient riddle of the Song of Making falls to a band of deadly warriors divided among—and within—themselves.

Once a normal city possessing a touch of ancient magic, Dublin is now a treacherously magical city with only a touch of normal. And on those war-torn streets, Mac will come face-to-face with her most savage enemy yet: herself.


 

UPDATE:  This review contains a major correction to my assessment of the book due to a misquote that had shaped my perception of the author’s aim with the story line.  


 

Note From Jena:  I don’t normally include spoilers, but this review is going to be riddled with them, so be warned.  It’s not like it’s a new release, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t read yet.  🙂

Spoilers

Feverborn
by Karen Marie Moning

Series
Fever #8

Genre
Urban Fantasy
Paranormal Romance

Publisher
Delacorte Press

Publication Date
January 19, 2016

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I tried like hell to find the perfect graphic to open this review with, but do you have any idea how hard it is to find a gif of a dude pedaling backward on his bike???

Okay,  not very.

Okay, I’m going to address the first thing because I felt a little stupid following the shit storm that surrounded this book.  I’m talking about the Phil Gigante situation.  I *always* buy the audio books of the Fever series because I loved Phil as Jericho and Ryo.  I bought the audio book without even thinking that he probably wouldn’t be the one to narrate it (I heard about the conviction back in December).  So, when I first hit play, the new voices were a bit of a shock, BUT, they’re not exactly bad, per se.

Side Note:  When I first heard about the Phil Gigante situation, I figured there had to be more to the story.  The only article I could find in December was a small-town newspaper that just discussed the conviction, and the fact that he had exchanged inappropriate messages with a 14 year old girl.  That article did NOT state anything regarding the fact that he had met the girl in person initially at a school local to him, so I didn’t know that piece of the story.  I had interacted professionally with Phil back when I was planning the original Pure Textuality Convention and he was nice as pie.  Very respectful and sweet.  A genuine pleasure to deal with.  I was a hardcore fan of his work and it’s awesome to meet someone you’re a fan of and they turn out to be awesome.  When I read the article, I was brokenhearted, but the time he got in jail didn’t fit the alleged crime.  So my train of thought was maybe he just simply didn’t know how old she was.  People lie online ALL THE DAMN TIME.  We’ve all seen Catfish….  So I figured 7 months  total (he got 3 months in county and 4 months house arrest, or vice versa) is not a lot of time given the crime he was convicted of.  Maybe he wasn’t aware that she was only 14 years old and that was his saving grace.  Feverborn came out and when it did, Karen Marie Moning stated that the media wasn’t reporting everything and that it wasn’t the full story (which was in line with my own theory).  She stated that although Phil wasn’t narrating this book, he would be narrating her future books.  Fans went bat shit and started claiming KMM was guilty of victim blaming.  Well, after reading her defense of him, a man who is her personal friend IRL, I sent KMM an email (to which I never got a response).  I told her that I was glad to see her come to his defense as I had read about it and it didn’t line up to me.  I said it made me feel better knowing that the media wasn’t covering all the details and that he actually wasn’t a bad guy.  Yeah…..  A day or two later, she recanted stating that she didn’t have all the facts prior to making her previous statement and she would not be working with Gigante in the future.  Then I saw all the new articles that popped up revealing that Gigante had initially met the girl in person and that he knew damn well that she was only 14.  Well, that’s on him and I felt sooooooooo stupid when all was said and done.  Needless to say, I imagine his career is pretty well over now.  However, should he return to narrating, I will not be purchasing any of his audio books.  I cant even begin to express the level of disappointment I feel over that situation.  He was a rock star in my eyes.  Anyway, back to the review.

Luke Daniels is *not* Phil Gigante, I will warn you of that.  His voice doesn’t have the same heat you’re used to with Barrons, but he’s pretty good.  The biggest problem I run into with male narrators is a lot of them make me want to fall asleep.  A male narrator has to be a *really* good story teller for me to stay interested.  For example, I love love LOVE Paul Michael, the guy who narrates the Robert Langdon books by Dan Brown.  I also adore Jim Dale, the gentleman who narrates the Harry Potter books.  However, I purchased The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva and I’ve yet to be able to get through it.  Ten minutes of that narrator’s voice and Jena is ready for a nap.  I didn’t have that problem at ALL with Luke Daniels.  I just didn’t buy him as Ryo or Barrons.  That being said, he nails Lor and Christian.

The other narrator in this book is Jill Redfield and I LOVE HER!  See, I never really liked Natalie Ross.  Her southern accent kind of sucks.  Not only does Redfield nail it, but I also didn’t spend any of the Jada parts wanting to reach into my audio book and make with the big violence on her.  This is something I often did with Natalie Ross at the mic.  Her Irish accent hurts my soul, too.  Redfield has an all around pleasant voice and great cadence.  I liked her enough, I will be checking out her catalog to see what else she’s narrated.

Okay, let’s move on to the story and the backpedaling….

I hate using that term because it may not be backpedaling at all.  You and I have no clue what the writer has planned for their series unless they tell us ahead of time, but I will tell you what it looks like to me.

I mentioned this is my little KMM defense rant at the bottom of my review for Burned.  The Ryo/Dani or Ryo/Jada story line.  In my review of Burned, I defended KMM’s choice with where she took Dani (stepping through the Silvers 14 years old and returning almost 20 years old with a new name).  I had said at that point that I didn’t know if this was in direct response to fans screaming pedophile following Iced, or if it was her plan all along.  The fact is we still don’t know and never will.  However, when pedophile was being yelled, KMM came out in defense of it (obviously) and stated that there was nothing romantic there.  When Jada returned almost 20 years old in Burned, I was happy to see the issue addressed while remaining cannon to the series lore.  We knew from Mac’s fae realm adventures with V’lane that time doesn’t move the same way there.  So Dani disappearing for a few weeks and coming back 5 years older isn’t out of left field, regardless of what a lot of Burned reviewers claimed.  And if it wasn’t planned ahead of time, and it was a result of fan reactions to Iced, it was brilliantly done.  You have to give her that.

But in Feverborn, while speaking of Dani the 14 year old, Ryodan says, FLAT-OUT, “I was in love with her.”  Yeah, like that kind of love.  So, to play the devil’s advocate for one second, he’s old as shit.  lol  We’re pretty sure at this point that he comes from a time before marriage was even a thing, never mind when they married off children, so to him, it’s probably nothing.  But it’s like the author likes being bitched at.  As soon as I heard that one sentence, I could just imagine all the fans who were on fire over it after Iced coming back around saying “SEEEEEEEE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!  Pedophile.”  Having watched all this play out, from the outside, this is what it looks like:

  • KMM releases Iced, complete with a possible tiny romantic spark between Ryo and Dani.
  • KMM is verbally set ablaze by angry mob of fans addressing Ryo as a pedophile.
  • KMM answers said mob with Dani aging in the Silvers in Burned.
  • KMM is then reignited by angry fans giving her shit for coming out of nowhere with the aging.
  • KMM sits down to write Feverborn and says “Fuck it, they’re going to hate it anyway,” and goes all in with Ryo and Jada.

Following the original review yesterday, I received a Facebook message from Karen Marie Moning stating that her camp had brought my review to her attention due to the part shown above crossed out.  She was concerned because I had quoted Ryodan as saying that he was in love with Dani when she was Dani (paraphrasing since it doesn’t matter at this point).  KMM informed me that she was worried that the narrator had taken artistic liberties with the text because what she wrote was “I loved her,” not “I was in love with her,” as I had quoted.  Her main concern was that is not at all the direction she was bringing Ryodan and Jada/Dani and she still insists that it’s not a romantic relationship.  I was 99.9% sure that what I heard was what I heard because I was driving while listening to it and I about spit my coffee all over the steering wheel.  

Well, all I had purchased was the audio book, and since finding the exact part again without a print book to refer to was impossible without re-listening to the entire thing, I dropped the $13.99 on the Kindle book and searched the text for the quote she provided.  For the record, I did not return the Kindle book when I was done.  I found the excerpt, jumped to that portion of the audio book and listened to the chapter again.

And KMM was absolutely correct.  I had misquoted, and the narrator did NOT change the text of the book when reading.

So, with that being said, that completely negates everything I said about backpedaling on the story line in my review.  Therefore, I am reposting today to let you all know that my review was in fact misquoted.  I apologize for the error.  I was SURE what I heard was correct.  My greatest apologies to the author.  However, the rest of my review still stands.  I will also be correcting my review on Goodreads (I hadn’t posted to Amazon yet).  

I think in the last three books, KMM  has sacrificed too much of her story to try pleasing the fans.  These are her own words and I feel like she needs to get back to this:

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There are things that are changing, fundamental pieces of character personalities, and it’s very in-your-face.  Jericho Barrons was probably the biggest disappointment for me this time around.  The sheer cockiness of the character is what I love so much about him.  Still, to this day, regardless of any other conversation they’ve ever had, my favorite Barrons quote is still this:

God Said: Let there be light!
I said: Say please.

That one tiny statement spoke VOLUMES on the character’s ego.

In Feverborn, that level of ego is just………gone.  In all honesty, he comes across kind of needy in this book.  It felt way out of character.

I also found Feverborn to feel very aimless.  I actually restarted the audio book at one point because the story line was so fragmented and all over the place that I had no clue what was going on that I thought I missed something.  Listening to it the second time through, I realized the problem wasn’t my listening skills.  The story line jumped all around filled with seemingly pointless shit totally unnecessary to the story.

Like Lor’s long-winded speech about clits…..

…………

……

I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but the point she was getting to in that little speech, and there was a point, was so far buried an KMM’s attempt at shocking fluff that I cant remember what the point was now.  All I remember now is how annoying the clit speech was.  I don’t think that was supposed to be the object of that scene.  It felt like she was trying to recreate his epic chapter in Burned, which was funny and not fluff-filled.

Another fluffy annoyance was the three or four times Mac went on waxing poetic about how much she likes to bone Barrons.  We get it.  We got it three books ago and this time around, it wasn’t hot.  They’re usually a HOT couple and it all felt very forced.

And Alina.  Now, you want to talk about a story line coming out of left field?  Alina?!  Really?!?!?!  We’re pulling that one out of our asses??  And Feverborn gives you absolutely NO answers where that one is concerned.  There is a metric shit ton of build up as to whether or not it’s really her, and then it just doesn’t get addressed again before the end of the book.  So who knows?

All that being said, the final two chapters of the book had me reduced to tears.  The ending will tug really hard at your heartstrings.  We come to a point between Mac and Jada I have been waiting on since the end of Iced and it hurts.

Overall the book wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t feel like KMM was behind the wheel on this one.  The flow of the book is erratic at times and it feels like the story is lacking direction.  For the first time in this series, I’ve started to think maybe it really should have just been left off at Shadowfever as originally done.  I’ve read that some reviewers are dropping the series, either due to the initial Gigante drama when it came out, or simply due to not liking the series anymore.  I’ll definitely be reading the last book because I’m dying to see how it all wraps up, but looking at this book alone, it wasn’t her greatest work.  I really hope she knows where she’s going with the story.  I’d hate to see such an epic series fall flat on its face at the end of its run.

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Jena Finished

The review copy of this book was purchased by the reviewer.

 

About Karen Marie Moning

KMMKaren Marie Moning is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the sizzling Urban Fantasy FEVER Novels set in Dublin, featuring MacKayla Lane and Jericho Barrons, and the paranormal romance HIGHLANDER Series, with fifteen books in print in thirty-six countries.

She is a winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award, and multiple RITA nominee. She graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Society & Law.

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