Fever Series #6/Dani O'Malley #1
Karen Marie Moning
Adult Urban Fantasy
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
The year is 1 AWC—After
the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out
there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled
streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be.
“Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by
Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing
rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than
equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can
defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium,
her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.
ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie
princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of
the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it.
What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the
city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.
Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani
finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal
owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s
freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do
anything to ensure her compliance.
Dodging bullets, fangs, and
fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate
alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in
it gets iced.
With Iced, Ms. Moning has proved yet again how truly gifted a storyteller she is, crafting a world and characters with so many facets we know we'll never see them all no matter how many books she writes or how deeply she lets us delve, the gears in our minds frantically turning to keep track of subtle clues and nuances we know will come into play as Dani's journey continues to unfold. There is many a reader whom will likely pick up Iced and find it less palatable than the first five books of her Fever series, Dani's young age and the multitude of men who have her on their radar perhaps pushing a boundary some may feel uncomfortable edging close to (though in my opinion, Dani's age is handled perfectly), but without a doubt this story will inspire conversation, and Ms. Moning makes it nearly impossible to reach the end of one of her books without having so many thoughts we can do nothing else but find the first available person and allow our theories to spill from our mouths before we choke on their numbers.
As mentioned previously, some readers may shy away from this book given Dani is only fourteen and part of the appeal of the previous five books set in this world is the undeniable and combustible sexual tension thrumming between Mac and Jericho Barrons, leaving many of us to wonder how Dani's youth will affect the dynamic between her, Ryodan and Christian. What's important to understand prior to reading is that this series, despite its teenage protagonist, is in no way a young adult novel. Dani's world is violent and bleak and Ms. Moning rarely pulls her punches, throwing down a gauntlet for her characters and readers at every possibly opportunity. She then waits to see if we're all brave enough to pick it up, testing us to see if we're able to face that which challenges, that which hurts, and that which makes us question. While it's true Dani is fourteen in terms of years, she's far older in terms of life experience, her solitary existence forcing her to emotionally age far faster than any young woman should have to, and she continues to prove to us again and again in Iced just how capable she is of surviving whatever is thrown her way.
Ryodan proves to be as enigmatic a man as Barrons, but for all their similarities, Ms. Moning does an absolutely stunning job of carefully and meticulously outlining their fundamental differences; the power and blunt personalities both men share beautifully overshadowed by the more subtle variations of their characters. Ryodan pushes Dani, is at times downright cruel, and often has us wondering if we've made the same mistake we've watched other women make with both him and Barrons – projecting the men we want them to be onto the men they actually are, thereby losing ourselves a bit in a dangerous illusion that promises nothing but pain if we can't shake ourselves loose of the naivety of hope. Just as we start to question ourselves when it comes to Ryodan however, Ms. Moning masterfully shows us a tiny patch of softness (soft being a relative term); a miniscule chink in the armor of an immaculately outfitted labyrinthine mystery encased in flesh and blood, and we latch onto it like the desperate and greedy readers we are, reveling in our small victory even as we gear up for the next battle of discovery.
Overall, Iced is a stunning continuation of the Fever world, Dani's dark history and intimate knowledge of the many pains life has to offer an intriguing contrast to Mac's penchant for pastel colors and her initial bumbling naivete. Dani is knowledgeable and skilled, and while her young years at times surface in the form of attitude, we can't really begrudge her her youthful outbursts given the dire situations she repeatedly finds herself in. Looking forward we can only guess how Dan's life will change as she ages, the number of theories we have increasing exponentially the longer we think about this first installment, and we find upon closing the back cover that the only drawback is the sure-to-be unbearable wait for book two.