Form: e-book, pdf format
Target audience: adults
Synopsis (partially from Goodreads):
MacKayla Lane’s life as a 22-year old bartender/part time student is good. Why shouldn’t it be? She is a pretty girl who has loving, middle class parents, great friends, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. She doesn’t have to work very hard, she doesn’t have to study very hard, she can pick up boys on the beach every day and her older sister is her best friend forever.
Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.
When her sister, Alina, is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….
As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho Barrons, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless V’lane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands…
What I liked:
I did like a lot. It is definitely not your common-or-garden chicklit novel, let alone a YA fare, although at the beginning it might seem deceptively like one. The key word here is ‘deceptively’.
Mac starts off as a shallow, vapid girl who loves sunbathing, pink nail varnish and rainbow-coloured, pastel clothes but you can feel she’s got some steel in her. In the first installment she doesn’t even start to imagine how much. The death of her beloved older sister triggers a visceral need to find out the truth about herself and the world. The problem is that finding out the truth is more often than not as difficult as keeping water in your closed fist. Nobody shares for free and in some cases Mac simply doesn’t have the right currency to buy the info she desperately needs. That’s how she learns that great looks, youth and a pretty smile are not everything. In some situations they are close to nothing. In fact they can even get you killed. As the mystery is unraveling Mac is forced to break and enter, lie (or withhold information), steal and then make deals with dangerous shady types; deals which she most often doesn’t want or can’t keep. Definitely not a typical chicklit blonde, is she?
I liked other characters as well, most of them pretty shadowy if not even slightly reprehensive in their self-serving attitude– you can’t find any clear divide into white and black hats here. Jerricho Barrons helps our heroine out but he does it in a rough manner and apparently only for his own selfish reasons. Yes, he is dark and handsome but no, I wouldn’t like to chat with him in a pub and if he ever hit on me I would run like hell on first occasion. However, Mac’s and Barrons’s mutual attraction/repulsion was snappy – I think we deal here with a fine example of a quarreling couple.
V’lane, the golden Fae prince is sometimes even worse – he toys with Mac’s sex drive mercilessly but also, in order to draw her to him, he offers more information than any other party, and Mac knows she needs it to stay alive.
The pace of narration was neck-breaking and the book kept me interested to the very end. At the end I didn’t get answers I was made looking for and I am sure my curiosity will make me read the sequels. The place the novel was set in (Dublin) worked just fine.
Finally the use of Celtic mythology was intricate and logical – Tuatha Dé Danann, Spear of Destiny, Seelie (white) and Unseelie (dark) Fae: if these words make sense to you (or if you want to learn more and you like Celtic mythology), you will be charmed as well. The take on fairies and the world building reminded me slightly of “Lords and Ladies” by Terry Prattchett but this one is definitely aimed at more mature readers as it mentions sex often and without any inhibitions (Seelie Fae are also called death-by-sex fairies, just an example).
Oh and the blue-and-gold cover with a lamppost is simply great (I saw the other one, black and red, and this one is definitely better). I love the colours and the frame – very atmospheric!
Only innuendos (but rather adult ones) in this part but I’ve heard there are more steamy scenes in next installments.
What I didn’t like:
The descriptions of prom-like clothes, hair and make-up, stupid names, and Southern-fried chickenisms, which fill the first part of the book, can be annoying, especially if you are not sure whether they end at all. Fortunately they do end.
The origin of Fae people was a bit too slick and too easy to be fully acceptable but I think can live with it.
The main heroine tends to learn a bit too fast without a real effort for such a blonde, empty-headed, tanned Barbie she used to be. An example: the last scene in an empty warehouse when our brave Mac takes on all those ugly Fae monsters, knocking them off without any problem although she was simply to affraid to touch them previously. It was a bit far-fetched to say the least of it. Another example: Mac’s weapon (no, I won’t spoil you saying what it is). Who would let her walk around with something so precious without any training at all?
As I’ve already mentioned the ending…it is obvious that the author didn’t offer any denouement in order to make you read the next installment. Clever but a bit cruel. I warn you – there is simply no real attempt to tie things off so if you don’t like such tricks and you want to read this one, order at least two first books and save yourself the whole “what-will-happen-next” frustration.
Overall I am very impressed with the way Ms Moning has crafted the world in this book, and I look forward to reading how it will grow and develop in the sequels. I am very glad Jen from In the Closet with a Bibliophile decided to post her sweet mini-review of the whole series and encouraged me to start it – thanks Jen!