I finally plowed through the rest of Entangled (no, it doesn't get better) and zipped through another book yesterday while waiting for the DirecTV assholes (and I'm back to waiting for them today. Long story, patience wearing thin, it's today or I'm done). Anyway, here it is:
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning - it's a hardcover folks and not a romance, so brace yourselves.
Count me as one of those readers who never "got" the appeal of Moning's romances. I mean, I hated The Dark Highlander. Really loathed it. A one-dimensional hero and a too-stupid-to-live heroine. No thank you. I enjoyed The Immortal Highlander, but it was the kind of book that one forgets instantly. I mean, I can't recall a darn thing about that story except the hero was named Adam. Anyway, Darkfever is a departure for Moning, and since I never "got" her romances, this one worked very well for me.
MacKayla "Mac" Lane is a bubbly 22-year-old Southern girl who is in no hurry to grow up. She still lives at home, attends just enough community college courses to keep her parents' nagging at bay, loves pink nail polish and tends bar at night. Then her older sister, Alina, is murdered while studying abroad at Dublin's Trinity College and Mac's world shifts.
When the Dublin police declare the investigation a lost cause, Mac hops a flight to Dublin against her parents' wishes. Her sister left her cryptic voice mail message before her death, and Mac is determined to sway the Dublin cops to not abandon the investigation. Instead, Mac comes into contact with a mysterious bookstore owner named Jericho Barrons, and discovers a whole other world in Ireland. A world where Fae (or Faery) exist and have taken to randomly killing humans. And worse still? Mac is a sidhe-seer, a person who can see past Fae glamour for what they truly are - monsters. This makes her an enemy of the Fae, and according to her sister she must find a dark book called the Sinsar Dubh, a book that a lot of bad guys are looking for.
I really liked this story a lot (I mean, I did read it in a day). Told entirely in first person (which I love), Mac is a plucky heroine who acts like a 22-year-old lacking focus. I think I might have gone to college with this girl. Barrons serves as a mentor of sorts, but questions surround him. Can Mac really trust him? And what is he exactly? The atmosphere is wonderful - gothic underworld if you will.
The only quibble here is that this book doesn't really end. There are a lot of unanswered questions, which normally pisses the hell out of me - but it works here. Moning is planning more books about Mac - so readers should expect these unanswered questions and that the happily-ever-after isn't in the cards just yet.
As someone who never saw the appeal of Moning's romances, this new direction excites me. Even still, I have a hard time categorizing it - which means it has crossover appeal written all over it. Although that cover succeeds in scaring off "non-romance" readers me thinks.
Final Grade = B.