I’ve heard more than one person say they can tell whether they will like a book if it hooks them from the beginning. I can tell you that if I subscribed to that notion, I would have missed out on one of the best series I’ve ever read. Darkfever didn’t hook me from the start. In fact, I thought about putting it down a couple of times at the beginning. The story is about a 22 year-old blonde Georgia peach, who lives with her mom and dad. She likes pink and happy music. She grates on me. But having read the entire book and the three after it, I see that we had to meet Mac when she is this way. We had to see who she was before we can truly appreciate the metamorphosis she undergoes.
Mac’s sister, Alina, was an exchange student in Ireland, when she was brutally killed. The police give up on her case quickly, prompting Mac to fly across the ocean. She only intends to push the cops to keep investigating. But she is drawn into the intrigue that was responsible for her sister’s death. Mac’s only clue about what happened to Alina is a voicemail she left hours before she died. She tells Mac that she has to find the Sinsar Dubh… and that sets Mac on a quest to find out what that is and how to find it.
On the streets of Ireland, Mac begins to see things she can’t believe are real… hideous monsters in the guise of human beings. And one night she finds herself in an abandoned neighborhood, surrounded by a sense of dread. She barely makes it out, to a well-lit bookstore, called Barrons Books & Baubles. The man inside, Jericho Barrons, is a sexy, enigmatic man who is larger than life and somewhat foreboding. When she asks him about the Sinsar Dubh, which turns out to be a powerful book, it sets off a series of interactions that lead them into a partnership. Barrons explains to Mac that she is a Sidhe-Seer… someone who can see the Fae and sense their sacred objects, the book being one of them. Barrons has been looking for the book too, for reasons he doesn’t explain. They team up to find it.
Barrons is very hard to read. Mac’s descriptions of him show they are clearly attracted to each other. But there is something about him that is not entirely human. He’s somehow more. He’s also very tight-lipped about who/what he is and what his ultimate plans are. There is way too much going on to plot it all out, but I can say Mac learns things about herself that change her entire view of her life; she learns what her sister was doing in Ireland and who she was doing it with; she learns that all Fae do not wear the face of a monster.
This is not a romance, despite Karen Marie Moning’s great work with her Highlander books. There is no sex to be found. But you could definitely make a case that there is something brewing between Barrons and Mac. Their interactions are complex and confusing (to Mac and to the readers.) And they become even more so as the books progress.
It took me awhile to get into this book. But as the series continues… you fall deeper and deeper into this dark world. The most important thing I can tell you is this: if you plan to read this series, do not begin without having all 5 books in front of you. Start with Darkfever and read them one after another. Each book ends with a cliffhanger, and you’ll kick yourself if you don’t have the next book ready and waiting. The wait between Dreamfever and Shadowfever nearly killed me.