Darkfever (Fever Series, Book 1) Review
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Unabridged MP3 Audio Podcast: 23 Segments (Approx. 9 ½ hours)
Read by Joyce Bean

Being the avid bookworm that I am, I’m always looking for a new way to enjoy a good book. So when I discovered that author Karen Marie Moning was making Darkfever, the first book in her Fever Series, available as a free audio download (which I could then load into my MP3 player), I jumped at the chance to give it a try.

Before I talk about the story, though, let’s talk a little bit about the format. Originally released in regular installments as an audio podcast at DarkfeverPodcast.com, Darkfever is divided into 23 parts, which you can either stream online or download as MP3s (ranging in size from around 15MB to about 35MB) and transfer to your trusty MP3 player. Each part includes an introduction and a conclusion (along with a plug for Moning’s Fever Series, along with her various Web sites), so the book itself is shorter than the podcast version. But, well, it’s free—so I’m not complaining.

Downloading the whole thing takes a while, and it takes up a lot of space on your MP3 player (which is why I just bought an extra 4GB of memory for mine)—but just think of the flexibility! I was able to listen in the car, at the beach, and while taking an afternoon stroll without having to worry about carrying a CD player or juggling all those CDs. My only concern was missing part of the story if I ended up snoozing in the sun.

So now let’s get to the story. Darkfever tells the story of prim and pampered 22-year-old Southern girl MacKayla “Mac” Lane, whose life is suddenly turned upside-down when her older sister is found brutally murdered in Dublin. After hearing a cryptic cell phone message that her sister left just before her death, Mac decides to travel to Ireland to find her sister’s killer. But once she arrives in Dublin, she discovers a strange world that she never knew (or believed) existed—a world of vampires, the Fae, and an all-powerful book called the Sinsar Dubh.

With the help of Jericho Barrons, a dark and mysterious bookstore owner, Mac discovers that she has special gifts in this Fae world—but those gifts could prove to be deadly.

Since this is the first book in a new, five-book series, Moning spends much of the book developing the characters and their story. For that reason, it takes a while for the story to really pick up speed. Once it does, though, it offers plenty of smoldering paranormal suspense. And although I’ve never been much of a paranormal reader, I soon found myself caught up in the world of the Fae.

At the same time, though, the characters frustrated me. Jericho is the stereotypical alpha male—a dark, powerful man with a serious temper. He’s obviously more than just a big, crabby guy, but you’ll never really find out what that more is. Moning is obviously saving that for another book.

Mac, too, is painfully stereotypical. Though I was interested in her story, I had a hard time liking the character. She’s naïve and recklessly defiant. She’s cutesy and girly, and she’s way too obsessed with her pretty clothes and her pretty blonde hair and her pretty pink nails. She wants people to take her seriously and treat her like an adult, yet she gets upset when she chips her nail polish. It doesn’t help, either, that reader Joyce Bean plays up on Mac’s Southern beauty queen naivete, often over-enunciating words in a sweet, frothy Southern accent. And while I expect that Mac will grow and mature as the series continues, I wish she would have grown up a bit during Darkfever—because it’s hard to get hooked on a series when you’re annoyed by the main character.

Perhaps even more annoying, however, is the book’s abrupt ending, which leaves you with more questions than answers. I realize that it’s supposed to be a cliffhanger—to get readers (or listeners) excited about the next book in the series. But I ended up feeling frustrated (and maybe just a little bit angry) instead. So while listening to this suspenseful audiobook did make a long road trip fly by, I doubt that I’ll be going back for more of Moning’s Fever Series.

Nevertheless, while I wasn’t blown away by Darkfever, I loved the “podiobook” experience—and I highly recommend checking out a serialized audiobook or two for yourself. You can download this book and many, many others (for free!) at Podiobooks.com.

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