Review of Iced by Karen Marie Moning

April 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Iced by Karen Marie MoningIced (A Dani O’Malley Novel)
By Karen Marie Moning; Read by Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
ISBN: 978-1-4558-1769-6
13 discs; 15 hours [UNABRIDGED]

Themes: / urban fantasy / faerie / Dublin /

Publisher Summary:

Dani “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 few humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s 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.

When 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.

The strict genre shelving in bookstores can be unfortunate for readers. I would guess that many fantasy fans have not read Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series because her books are shelved under romance even though the series is more Urban Fantasy than Paranormal Romance. The new Dani O’Malley series which is a sequel to the Fever series is even less qualified for the romance shelves. The first installment, Iced, has even less romance than the entire Fever series.

The walls separating Faerie and the human world have come down. Rifts in reality can send an unwary person to an entirely different time and place. Unseelie monsters roam the streets and the human race is decimated. There is no power and creatures called “shades” devour any living thing that ventures into the dark. The plants and animals are gone, so food is a problem. Now, there’s a new problem. Around the city, people and objects are being instantaneously frozen. The people seem to be unaware of their impending deaths. Anyone entering these tableaux will freeze to death very quickly.

Dani “Mega” O’Malley is a 14-year-old sidhe seer living on the streets of Dublin. She has some abilities that make her see herself as a superhero. She is very fast, very strong and is keenly observant. However, she’s also an adolescent girl with a disturbing and damaging past. The owner of a popular nightclub forces Dani to work with him to solve the problem of areas around the region getting “iced”. Because she can move at hyperspeed, she better able to move into the frozen areas without suffering hypothermia.

The story is told entirely in first person, 90% from Dani’s point of view. However there are some sections that are told by Kat, the new leader of the sidhe seers, and Christian, a young highlander who is transforming into a sex-addicted unseelie prince.

I really loved Dani and the way she interacted with the insane world in which she lived. In some ways, she was mature beyond her years because of the way she grew up and the world that was thrust upon her. In other ways, she was a very typical young teenage girl. She feels like she’s smarter than the adults around her. She’s becoming aware of her sexuality, vacillating between wanting her first time to be special and thinking that sex is really gross. She feels invincible. I found her to be a very convincing 14-year-old girl. I really liked that Moning seems to be letting Dani be a kid and won’t rush her into a sexual relationship before she grows up. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this series goes.

At this point, I must point out that this is NOT a young adult novel despite the age of the main character. While Dani may be a virgin, there is a lot of sex in this book, most of it destructive. It’s also fairly gruesome in places. I wouldn’t freak out if an older teen reads it, but I wouldn’t be recommending it to them.

As much as I enjoyed this book, I would not recommend the audio version. This production uses two narrators, Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross. By having both a male and female narrator, one would think that the male would do parts told from a male character’s point of view and the female would do the parts from the female points of view. However, over 90% of this book is told from a female first-person perspective, so Phil Gigante’s impressive skills would be wasted if all he had to read were the parts that Christian tells. Instead of the typical method of using two narrators, this production splices Gigante’s voice into every bit of dialogue spoken by a male character. This is really annoying because it throws the listener out to the mode of listening to someone tell a personal story. If I were to tell you about a conversation I had with my husband, I certainly would be using my own voice to tell you what my husband or son said, not having some guy say his words for me.

The female narrator, Natalie Ross, was a poor choice for this particular book. The main reason I didn’t like her narration was that she simply sounded too old to be a 14-year-old girl. She sounds like she’s over 30. There are plenty of female narrators can do teenage voices well, she isn’t one of them. Ross also attempts to use an Irish accent for both Dani and Kat, but she fails miserably. It sometimes sounds fake Irish and sometimes sounds like the American South. She would have been better off not using any kind of accent, just her real voice. There also wasn’t much of a difference in how she voiced Dani vs. Kat. I got confused when the first Kat scene came up and it took me a couple of minutes to realize that it wasn’t Dani speaking.

Overall, I highly recommend Iced to fans of Urban Fantasy. It’s one of the better entries in the genre. It leaves the reader wanting more, but doesn’t leave the primary story hanging. My only suggestion is to read the print version rather than listening to the audio.

Reviewed by Sandi Kallas.

Review of Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

November 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Fantasy Audiobook - Bloodfever by Karen Marie MoningBloodfever
By Karen Marie Moning; Read by Joyce Bean
8 CDs – 9 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781423341932
Themes: / Fantasy / Supernatural romance / Fairies / Fae / Sex /

I first encountered Moning’s Fever series when the first book, Darkfever, was made available on Podiobooks.com. Tales about the realms of fairies, from Midsummer Nights Dream to Butcher’s Summer Knight, always fascinate me. Particularly their darker, inhuman nature. These are not Elves, nor are they little diaphanous dragonflies at the bottom of the garden. They are something entirely much less human.

The series is told from the point of view of MacKayla Lane. Mac. The younger of two sisters that have grown up in the south. She describes herself as a modern southern belle. Her life is uncomplicated until her sister is murdered while studying on Dublin, Ireland. Mac had found a strange message on her cell phone from her sister, and travels to Dublin herself to put pressure on the police to solve the case.

Once there she finds that this isn’t something that the police are going to be able to deal with. In a pub she encounters a Fae which seduces a young woman, feeding upon her youth and vitality. Many of the Fae weave very attractive illusions around themselves to hide their true nature. Mac learns that she is a sidhe seer, one of the few who can see the Fae as they really are. With the help of Jericho Barrens, a mysterious figure who has his own agenda, she is searching for the ancient book Sinsar Dubh, that contains the most foul black magic. Capable of granting power over both our world and that of the Fae. Mac and Barrens really don’t get on, but are forced to rely upon each other, with Barrens saving Mac’s life several times. Mac has also drawn the attention of a death-by-sex Fae, Vlane-an. Ancient and inhuman, his interest and motives aren’t clear. Even to Mac’s sidhe seer sight, Vlane-an is hard to resist, and she has already found herself stripping naked in public under the influence of his powers.

Mac has managed to identified her sister’s killer, The Lord Master, and has partially thwarted some of his plans. But now, the Fae are coming through into our world in greater and greater numbers. Murders and disappearances are on the increase as a consequence. The other sidhe seers don’t know if they can trust Mac, and nor does she know if she can trust them. Yet they could answer many of the questions she has about who she is, and where her powers came from. Now Mac and Barrens must find the Sinsar Dubh, before the Lord Master.

Bloodfever is the second book in the series and starts with a good, in-character, recap of events from Mac herself. Her need for revenge against her sister’s killer is growing as she learns more. Mac’s focus on her situation is more intense as she becomes more self-aware of her own failings and how she must change to survive in the world with the Fae. Mac’s narration of often humorous and irreverent, but always in keeping with her character.

The same narrator carries on from book one, Audie Award winner Joyce Bean. Joyce captures Mac’s personality with it’s lingering threads of naivety and growing ruthlessness. An excellent performance. The sexy southern accent doesn’t hurt either.

Moning has matured Mac a little more throughout this book, as she is forced to change by her experiences. She is still petulant, indignant, naive, and stubborn at times, but she is also introspective and sees that she has changed, and must continue to do so to survive. Mac still hasn’t achieved her independence yet, but she is becoming stronger. From the perspective of a strong female character, Mac isn’t quite there yet. She had power and can and will use it, but she is growing into one. The journey towards becoming the Hero is more interesting than simply being one. Mac is faced with temptations and other hard decisions that make that journey harder.

Have a listen to the first book for free over at Podiobooks.com, and then dive into this one.

Posted by Paul [W] Campbell

Recent Arrivals – Rucker, Bujold, Card, and Moning

October 11, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

Science Fiction Audiobook Recent Arrivals
A good week at SFFaudio!

Science Fiction Audiobook - Space Boy by Orson Scott CardSpace Boy
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Stefan Rudnicki
2 CDs -2 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781433207648

Is it space travel that children dream of, or merely visiting other worlds? Todd had always set his heart on being an astronaut, but when he meets an alien and travels to another world, he doesn’t use a spaceship; he just hangs out in his own back yard.

In Space Boy, Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game, takes listeners into a strange and wonderful future, where people from another world regularly visit Earth, usually without being noticed. And when humans travel to their world, they find themselves dangerously weak and powerless, until Todd finds a way to set both worlds to rights.

By turns funny and painful, Space Boy is Card at his best, exploring human nature for the entertainment of readers young and old.

Science Fiction Audiobook - A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster BujoldA Civil Campaign
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Grover Gardner
16 CDs – 19 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781433207099

Lord Miles Vorkosigan has a problem that all his new power can’t solve: unrequited love for the beautiful Vor widow Ekaterin Vorsoisson. Ekaterin is violently allergic to marriage as a result of her first exposure. But as Miles learned from his late career in galactic covert ops, if a frontal assault won’t do, go to subterfuge.

Miles has a cunning plan, which, of course, has to be worked out in between District succession scandals and plans for the Emperor’s wedding. And if no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, just imagine what all Miles’s friends and relatives can do to his romantic strategy.

Science Fiction Audiobook - Master of Space and Time by Rudy RuckerMaster of Space and Time
By Rudy V. B. Rucker; Read by Scott Grunden
5 CDs – 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781433207709

Madcap inventor Harry Gerber is hopeless when it comes to surviving in the real world. So he uses his genius to twist the laws of science and create his own tailor-made universe. Assisted by his straight-men co-conspirators, Joe Fletcher and the comely Sondra Tupperware, and powered by gluons—the stuff that holds our very atoms together—Gerber creates a blunzer, enabling him to change the very nature of reality.

From a mirror-image world where sluglike parasites make slaves of humanity, to trees and bushes that grow fries and pork chops, to a rain of fish, Master of Space and Time takes listeners on the ultimate joyride. But once the gluons at the core of Harry’s creation run out, disaster looms for Harry and his friends.

High physics and high jinks combine for a wild voyage that blurs the line between science and magic.

Paranorman Romance Audiobook - Bloodfever by Karen Marie MoningBlood Fever
By Karen Marie Moning; Read by Joyce Bean
8 CDs – 9 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781423341932

MacKayla Lane’s ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland’s shores and was plunged into a world of deadly sorcery and ancient secrets.

In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh – a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over both the world of the Fae and of Man. Pursued by Fae assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she cannot trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and irresistible men: V’lane, the insatiable Fae who can turn sensual arousal into an obsession for any woman, and the ever-inscrutable Jericho Barrons, a man as alluring as he is mysterious.

For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them….