Burn it Down

A VERY Spoilery Discussion of Karen Marie Moning's Burned 

by: Zee the Terrible and Barbara Bones


You've finished Burned, right? If not, check out Zee's non-spoilery review here, and come back to this post when you're finished. Because we cannot hold in all of the thoughts, speculation and feels we had while reading Burned and in the days since when we couldn't stop thinking about it.

You know we loved Burned, the long awaited seventh installment in Karen Marie Moning's superb Fever series. Which, considering the Wenches' love for KMM and all things Fever, is no surprise. What you may not know is that some of us have been unable to think of much else, that we've been discussing it nonstop. So much of Burned blew us away, from jaw-dropping revelations to stunning plot twists to that last line ensuring that we're dying for book eight!

Come with us through the jump, where we'll discuss all the juicy details. All.the.details.


Incredibly spoilery for Burned, and obviously all of the Fever series. Enter at your own risk.



Word.

SOMEWHERE I BELONG

There are so many things to love about Burned, but being back in Mac's head tops our list. Don't get us wrong: we adore Dani. To the moon and back. But we also adore Mac, and having followed her journey for five books, slipping back into her POV felt like coming home.

And while we're talking about Mac, we loved loved LOVED seeing the development of Mac & Barrons's story. You'd have to be pretty naive to believe that just because they finally committed to one another at the end of Shadowfever that all of their problems and issues would be magically resolved. Two of the most stubborn protagonists we've ever read weren't going to suddenly have impeccable communication skills and limitless trust. They had plenty of issues, and Barrons's unfathomably long life, to contend with, and we were so excited to see how they were dealing with their very new coupledom. Although there wasn't enough Barrons. But there never is.

Reading about how amazingly in tune to each other they are physically and Dani's description of how they're two wolves that chose to hunt together gave Zee goosebumps! And Dani yearning for something similar (that she kinda had with Mac) was so wonderfully poetic. Karen's writing is so vivid we can SEE it in slo mo like Dani does. And it's beautiful.

One order of Barrons, please. 
"..their bodies move in a graceful dance of impeccable awareness of precisely where the other is at all times that is unity, symbiosis, partnership I only dream of, wolves that chose to pack up and hunt together, soldiers who will always have each other’s back no matter what, no sin, no transgression too great, ‘cause don’t we all transgress sometimes and it fecking slays me, because once I got a little taste of what that was like and it was heaven and they’re so beautiful standing there, the best of the best, the strongest of the strong that they practically glow to me, on fire with all I ever wanted in my life—a place to belong and someone to belong there with.”


  A PLACE FOR MY HEAD


One of the first things that intrigued us and made the story very real was how Mac herself didn't realize she hasn't really come to terms with Dani having a part in Alina's death. We completely understand that life-or-death forgiveness is not something to take lightly and get over. It upped the stakes and it made sense for Dani to run away while Mac figures that shit out. We all know she loves Dani, and we adore how many times she realizes and says it in the narrative. She may have lost one sister, but she gained another. And the love you have for a younger sister has a protective edge you can see Mac displaying. 

The part of the book where we KNEW we were reading OUR Mac, who is having a hard time dealing with everything that has come her way this past year, was when she was at the abbey, and decided to let whatever happens to her happen. Rather than letting the book loose and killing a single innocent, she put herself last. And we love her for it. We love that she felt such crippling guilt over killing the Guardian by accident, that she has nightmares about him. We love that it's not easy for her. We love that, despite it all, she is so very human in the best possible way. We also loved that she still has her superficial streak (really, which one of us doesn't!?)


"Mac's got a light inside her that's inextinguishable."

We've got Mac's back.
Barrons, as always, is right. And it amazes me that Mac sees Dani's light, but not her own. Despite the "dark song" she hears in her head (which, btw, sounds kinda epic) and how scary the possibilities there are (Song of Making anyone?) she's still Mac. That girl who came all the way to Ireland to seek justice for her sister. That girl who fell in love with Dani and Dublin in a very human way that had nothing to do with Barrons. And I adore her for it. Jada better not harm a hair on Mac's head. Nor should anyone else. For real. 


FROM THE INSIDE

 "Then there's something beyond the top of those stairs again dark, chaotic and pounding, potentially seductive, energizing inflammatory: a version of Wagner's March of The Valkyries. From hell. On steroids.
And I realize why I had such a hard time pinpointing the princess.
I wasn't tuning myself out.
The same dark march is coming from me."
We had to sit up and read that a few times. The song she keeps hearing was already a fascinating possibility, but identifying it as the same thing the Princess was hearing was a jaw dropper! We loved how she basically shut out Barrons and Ryodan when rescuing Lor, because she wasn't sure how the Princess would react to her and whether she'd recognize herself in Mac! AGH! The Sinsar Dubh being in Mac is one of the best complications in a fantasy series we've ever read and we can't wait to see how it will be resolved.

Leave me alone, I'm eavesdropping!
We loved the plot devices KMM used in Burned, particularly Mac being invisible which gave the readers something they would never have gotten any other way: to be a fly on the wall in Chesters. It was absolutely riveting! Just a chance to walk around unobserved was such a treat! It really was like Mac's own private soap opera! And by proxy, the reader's. When she first walked into Ryodan's office to listen to him and Barrons talk, wild stallions could not have pulled us away from the book. And the beauty of Mac's situation is that we learned so much that Mac would not have found out any other way, since her partner isn't the most forthcoming male we've ever read. At least not in the usual sense.
"To say I was all ears was the understatement of the century."

LEAVE OUT ALL THE REST

Isn't that ALWAYS the case with Barrons?

"You're not living anymore, Rainbow girl." 

That part KILLED US. KILLED US DEAD.  If we had to list our favorite quotes in this book, 90 percent of that list would be something Barrons said. We know how Barrons feels about Mac, and although he's not big on words, there are lines throughout this book that made us swoon in real life. Barrons's concern for Mac was glorious. He loves her for the kick-ass, vivacious, alive woman she is, and he will fight to keep her that way. You've gotta love that.

We've already mentioned how our love for Barrons increased a hundred fold after Burned, but there were sides to him in this that melted us into an emotional puddle, that made us weep, that made us shiver, and made us smile. We were emotionally exhausted after reading most Mac and Barrons interactions. 


“I’m obsessed and addicted and ripped-down-raw in love with Jericho Barrons.” 

Who wouldn't be?
Barrons laid himself bare when Mac was getting that memory back, knowing how she would react when it surfaced. Now, here's a moment that proves that we will happily break all of our rules for KMM. As Barb discussed we hate retconning. But KMM did just that in Burned and we couldn't be happier about it. We didn't want the Barrons POV sex scene to be real, but it is, it's canon now, and it just makes every single interaction in the first five books that much more poignant and beautiful. How the fuck did KMM do that?

And then there was that scene where Mac walks in on him watching a video of his son. And it hurt. 


We never doubted that Barrons was a being with many, many layers to him. And we're familiar with this one. After all, it was his sole motivation for seeking the Sinsar Dubh for centuries. But this was like someone took a sharp knife and stabbed us with it. His loss is so fresh, so real, so raw. And so very natural. It was hard to read. And we almost wish Mac had taken him up on his softly spoken "fuck me," if only to make him forget for a while. 

Our love for Barrons is unhealthy, we'll admit it. No one compares. And it was taken to levels that frighten even us after Burned. We adored that he let Mac get away with lying to Ryodan about Lor being Pri ya. We love that he doesn't butt into Mac's decisions and make them for her or forcefully sway her into doing things his way. We love that he understands her so well when she can't even understand herself. We love that he shows her SHE has the power to leave him, to walk away. 
"Well, Ms.Lane, you've got your precious memory back. Will you throw me away now?"
Mac & Barrons.

But what we love even more is that it's a no brainer for Mac. No drama. No fuss. She's a Wench after our own hearts.
"Do I love him? Yes. Is he perfect? No. Am I? No. Will I leave him? No. Okay, that's resolved. Time for a nap."



And that was that when it came to the issue. We love that it wasn't dragged out for the sake of producing angst between our favorite couple. Not to say there weren't other issues that caused some angst. Barrons's beast bringing Mac her rapists' heads was an epic moment. In a lot of ways. That he realized she blamed him for not bringing her their heads earlier. That it hurt her. That she realized it too. But I know we couldn't have been the only ones who kinda swooned over Barrons's beast FINALLY having at them and bringing her his trophies. While I got Mac's initial problem with it, Barrons was right.... she wasn't ready to do that just yet. But it's okay, Cruce is still around. She'll be ready by then!
“Where are you? Touch me.”
I slip my hand into his, and for a moment he just stands there, looking down at where I am, then he closes his eyes and laces strong fingers with mine. I hear exactly what he’s not saying in them: You better bring your ass back to me, woman.
I reply with mine, Always.
He laughs softly then somehow finds my face and kisses me, light and fast, and I taste him on my lips, need him again, hard and fast and soon.” 
That scene on the cliffs before she goes down to rescue Christian was beautiful. We all sighed and swooned and basically turned a little green with envy.

Ultimate OTP, no first names.
A tale as old as.... these two. 
As one of the original "shippers" (the original X Files fandom can be thanked for the terms shipping and OTP, you're welcome. God I sound like such a smug asshole. I'm sorry.) let me tell you, the best couples (and sometimes bestest of friends) are the ones that cling on to that little bit of formality: the Mulder and Scully (OTP FOREVER), The Kirk and Spock, the Booth and Brennan, the Beckett and Castle, House and Wilson, Holmes and Watson, Poirot and Hastings, Crane and Lieutenant Mills/Ms.Mills. I could go on. So Ms. Lane and Barrons is just another sexy pair added to that list. And Mac's explanation actually made complete sense to us. We got it. Especially when , for these two, it seems like it's a way to take the edge of their scary intense relationship. It balances things out. For now. 

ROADS UNTRAVELED

Finding out that Ryodan and Barrons are actually brothers wasn't the hugest shock to Zee, especially after Jada talks about how two of the Nine were brothers, although Barb was quite taken aback, clearly not paying much attention to Jada's musings. Either way, we loved it.
“What I know, brother, is you break every goddamned rule for Mac.”

“Back at you, Ry. Difference is, I’ll help you do it.”

“Lor has never been Pri-ya.” Ryodan shakes his head in disgust. “The princess can’t turn us. Son of a bitch, Mac’s ass is—”

“Mine,” Barrons says flatly. “You will never go there. You have a problem with Mac, you work it out with me. I am her shield, I am her second fucking skin.” 
Really!
We both squeed out loud a little! It gives such an interesting glimpse into their relationship. And makes us want to know more about their bond. And them. We also cannot wait to find out how exactly Jada has come back with all this inside info on the Nine.

One of our absolute favorite things in Burned was Ryodan and Mac's bickering! Even before the revelation that Ry and Barrons were brothers, we thought it was hilarious that Mac and Ryo were bickering like siblings! 


"Ow! If you sit on me one more time." I growl at him. "I'm going to kill you."

"Good luck with that. Don't fucking move every time I get out. You're on my side of the seat again."

"Watch out for my indent." I say crossly.

"Hummer, Mac. Nothing causes an indent. Except grenades."

{snip}
"I'm cramped. I needed to stretch."
"So, get out when I do."
"I'm afraid you'll leave me behind since you can't see me."
"I'd leave you behind if I could see you."


As always, Karen delivers on the sexy as hell front with a lot of steamy moments. A LOT of them involved Lor, and surprisingly, Jo! Never thought we'd say that. We are digging that pairing. If only because of that scene where he ties her up? DAMN. But we felt for Mac. Mac who has been increasingly frustrated (and explains it pretty early on in the book), Mac who wants to connect with Barrons BADLY throughout the book, for herself, for him, and for a way to be free of the madness in her head and the ghouls that surround her. Lucky Mac who keeps coming across hot, naked men.  
"My need for sex seems directly proportional to how much emotion I repress, and I'm repressing violently today. {snip}  
Until Barrons undresses me. Then I explode. I vent the fire and fury of everything I feel on him and he blows it right back at me, a hot, dangerous sirocco that levels and reshapes, and it binds us in a sacred place that needs no sun, no moon or stars. Just us."
We were riveted by the few chapters from the Unseelie King's POV as well. Guys, there is NOTHING in this series you will ever even want to skip. Each word will keep you glued to the pages. And the fact that he's so sure that our world is doomed worries us about Dublin's future! But we can't wait to see how his story with the Queen pans out! 


N
EW DIVIDE


Ryodan talking about Dani to Barrons, then to Lor was tough to read. Him grieving for her, "It's as if my Dani died," made Mac realize she might never see her Dani again either. His story of the time he thought to put Dani out of her misery made our hearts clench for Dani. We saw what he saw. What we've all seen in Dani. And maybe, if someone had told her that once in a while, she wouldn't have lost all semblance of herself in the Silvers? Lets face it, Ryodan was pretty busy being an overbearing ass to her most of the time. In fact, everyone kept trying to reign her in. Which is fine, I get it, but once in a while, it would have been great to tell her what they thought. It could have been something she could have held on to in her darkest hours. 
"You don't snuff out a light like that," Ryodan says softly. "You honor it. You take measures to protect it, even from itself if necessary, and keep it alive." 
Lor's fondness for Dani is something we've been aware of since Iced, and we got more glimpses of it in Burned. We smiled when he called her his "little darlin'" and just reading how he talks about Dani made us weepy. 
"Lor's going to lose it when he sees her, he adored the kid."


Jada was a surprise to us. Yes, there were lots of things that should have prepared us in Iced. But damn. It was an insane moment in the abbey when everything suddenly clicked into place. We hate that she's the Hyde to Dani's wonderful, bright Jekyll. She's cold, like a machine. And it pains us to even consider for a moment that OUR Dani won't be back. Barb refuses to even consider it, certain that our Dani will be back somehow. Ryodan and Jada's interactions though, were a treat. We did not see that coming. 
We didn't care. 

We got to see more depths to Rowena's evilness, and just how cruelly she treated Dani and used her for her own gain. It was tragic. And we wish Mac could kill her all over again. Slowly. We missed Dani something fierce, and it hurts that we'll never see that outrageous 14-year-old again. We definitely weren't some of those readers who were fixated on her youth! Or her potential love/sex life! We just loved her!


NO MORE SORROW


It was hard reading what Christian was going through. But it's a set up for something amazing. We can feel it. Especially considering the high note that Christian ended on in Iced. You can't just forget that happened! Dageus talking to Christian about his future, about him "walking through flames" was intriguing. And his conviction that he will be back to himself the sooner he's out of the Hag's clutches. We know he has some sort of protective love for Dani. He literally gave himself up so she wouldn't have to make a tough choice. That can't go unrewarded!
Oh Christian.
"Love. You can only be broken without it. So long as the smallest spark of love, pure, protective, and good, exists within you, that which is Keltar in you will survive. You will return."
We can't wait to see Christian interact with Jada. We have a feeling that will have some bearing on softening her. She still considers him her hero. We have faith in Christian having an amazing story. We loved him when he was in the grips of his Unseelie madness, and we know we'll love him more when he's getting better. He was capable of heroism then, he'll only get better from there. 

IN THE END

We're still left with a lot of mysteries by the end of Burned! Some old, and some new. We still don't know much more about Dancer. Except that the guy's smart as hell, and Dani confided in him more than she did in anyone else. And also that Jada refused to be around him. Hmmm. Zee never thought he was going to be the "Tenth", but there is definitely more to him than meets the eye. Off topic, loved when he called Ryo "old dude." Ha!

We are DYING to find out what on earth happened to Dani's beloved sword! And how she got Cruce's bracelet! And where on earth Jada found all those other sidhe seers--were they also from the Silvers? We'll be honest, we don't love the idea of Dani without her sword, (and Mac without her spear,) but it promises to be a fascinating revelation. One of our favorite things about Ms. Moning's storytelling is the fact that her revelations always occur at a moment where the impact is staggering! Finding out who killed Alina, finding out Barrons came back to life, the beast, Mac being adopted, all of it. We are definitely looking forward to some more classic Moning revelations! 



We're still left wondering what on earth was up with those expanding black holes in all the iced regions. And what they're going to do about them! It seems like Dublin is becoming a scarier place all the time!

We're also hoping Mac doesn't stay invisible for too long! Firstly, we want her to get some Barrons action as badly as she does! Secondly, the book being silent in her head is kinda worrying us. That can't be a good sign! It's bad enough that those wraiths have been stinking her up for a while, but now she seems to be stuck being invisible. And while it had it's perks, the world needs to see Mac! Hell, Mac needs to see Mac. Poor Mac has a lot on her plate, between the wraiths, the dark music in her head, Jada wanting to kill her, the invisibility, and her grieving for Dani. We're hoping their sisterly bond is the thing that brings that irresistible Dani back to us! 


The Unseelie Princess was a delight to read! Can't wait to meet the rest of them, and why Mac senses that they are MORE than the Unseelie Princes.  We also want to know, like Mac, how Ryodan struck a deal with her in the first place! Not surprising though, Ryo is nothing if not resourceful. 

The sheer brilliance of locking Kat up with the always silent Kasteo knocked our socks off. She got her first taste of peace and quiet. And it's as good as watching an experiment unfold before your very eyes! Can't wait to see where that goes. Also, loved that interesting tidbit of information that she senses NOTHING where the Nine are. Like, a lack of existence. Very cool. 

That ending had us sitting up and gasping out loud! We were excited to read about Dageus and Drustan helping the gang out, and were devastated when the Hag killed Dageus. (Especially those of us who loved him since the Highlander series!) But that last paragraph was insane! Did one of the Nine (Ryodan? Since Barrons was busy coming back to life?) break the covenant they spoke of and make him one of them? Or did he go through something else that had something to do with the thirteen dark druids inhabiting him that helped the transformation? AGH! Wake us up when the next book is out! We can't wait! 


Have you finished Burned, Saucy Reader? Did you love it as much as we did? Have you been thinking about it every minute since finishing like we have? Share your thoughts about Burned in the comments below!

Comments

  1. Yes!This!Every.Word.Word.
    Loved it!
    At first when reading of Dageus' death by the Hag, I wondered if the dose of the "elixir of life" he received from Adam Black in the Highlander Series would have an effect on him, but after that cliffhanger I also think The Nine may have broken the covenant to 'make him.'
    I was a bit shocked when Mac asked Barrons to make her like them and he said "Never ask me that. There is a price we pay everyday to be what we are" (paraphrased)
    WHAT?? What the fuckity fuck?
    Oh em gee! I can't wait to continue on this journey into the FeverWorld, and to do it with The Saucy Wenches <3 ...thanks for such a great and thorough review.x

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  2. Brilliant post! I'll just add one tiny question: what is Papa Roach? Not Seelie and not Unseelie, what else is out there?

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  3. Awesome review girls :) This book rocked my world! And apparently Mac rocked Barrons's world too that night at the inn. I loved that, to think that he was so fascinated by her even then. I squeed so much through this book. I'm still so enthralled by it that I can't seem to get out of Fever world and into Vlad and Leila's world yet.
    There are so many mysteries in Burned, I need the next book already ;)

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  4. Brava, Barb, Zee! What an amazing post! You, of course nailed it and I have to admit that I can't let Burned go either. I skimmed/reread it right after I finished it the first time but because it didn't scratch the itch, I had to go back to Drustan's book and read them all all over again. Fever is something you can't have in small doses. It's a lot and hard and fast and frequently.

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  5. And what a beautiful collage! Tehehehe

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