Battle of the Fae in Dublin: FAEFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

                It’s with special pleasure that I return to Moning’s steamy, smart urban fantasy series set in modern-day Dublin for the third installment of her riveting Darkfever series.  Moning recently pubbed the fifth and final installment, but my current to-be-read pile—including shelves crammed with print books and a backlog of e-books stashed on my Kindle—numbers close to 1,000.  So it’s fair to say I’m running a bit behind!


                Faefever continues the quest of Southern bartender MacKayla Lane, whose laid-back Georgian life ends abruptly with her adored sister Alina’s gruesome murder in Ireland.  The murder, coupled with an eerie voice mail message from Alina before her death, devastates her family and sends Mac flying to Dublin, determined to find her sister’s killer and wreak vengeance.


                There, Mac discovers her unique genetic heritage as a sidhe-seer, one of a rare few who can see the Unseelie (dark Fae) monsters who walk disguised among the unsuspecting tourists of Ireland.  Mac’s abilities and her quest quickly draw the attention of seductive and enigmatic bookstore owner Jericho Barrons—a man with his own sinister powers and secrets—and the dangerously alluring Fae prince V’lane.  Both men need Mac’s unique talents to locate a lost book of dark magic called the Sinsar Dubh, the same book Alina was seeking before her murder—and the same book now hunted with single-minded intensity by her killer.


                And all that happened in the first book!


                When Faefever opens, the once happy-go-lucky Mac has built a formidable arsenal of Fae-fighting weapons and negotiated precarious partnerships with several powerful but unpredictable dark allies, including Jericho and V’lane.  In the process, this kick-butt-with-an-attitude heroine has been forced to commit more than a few dark deeds herself.


                But nothing Mac does will be enough to prevent the beleaguered walls between mortal Dublin and the Faery realm from crashing down on Halloween night, releasing the vengeful Unseelie from their millennia of imprisonment.  In a Dublin overwhelmed by oozing black shades, militant bands of rhinoceros-like monsters and dangerously seductive, death-by-sex Unseelie princes at the command of Alina’s killer, Mac finds herself fighting along not only to avenge her sister’s death, but to defend the innocent souls of Dublin and protect the only commodities she has left:  her free will and her life.


                Even for the most selective urban fantasy reader (like me), this highly-original and compelling series packs a powerful punch.  It avoids the tired tropes and stock writing that sometimes inhabit any popular genre, captures the reader tightly and never lets go.  Intricately-plotted and well-researched, carried forward by solid prose and vividly-drawn characters who make smart decisions without melodrama, the dark world of Moning’s Faefever is one place I can’t wait to revisit.


 

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