Welcome To The Jungle
Feverborn : A Very Spoilery Discussion
So, here we are again. Another year, another great book, and another chance for me and Barb to get down and dirty with the Fever world and really sink in hip deep to talk to you guys about it. It will get messy. And crazy. And inappropriate. And you might not hear it, but loud squeeing. I mean, by now you probably know that KMM causes a lot of Wench squealing/screeching/shouting/cackling/sobbing etc. Most importantly, it WILL get spoilery!!!
|Here there be SPOILERS!|
For those of you unwilling to wade through spoilers from Feverborn right now, stay safe with our NON spoilery Feverborn review here. For a Burned recap check out our review here and our spoilery discussion here.
The rest of you, follow us!
Guilty All The Same
What sets the Fever series apart from every other out there is that it is overflowing with truth, wisdom, and life lessons. Feverborn is no different, dropping truth bombs from page two and our mystery narrator's musings on Fate. We are never not awed by KMM's ability to reach right into our minds and make us think about the wider world. First things first. We want to know who the new player in the Feververse is from the prologue, but of course, we're going to be sitting on the edge of our seats for a while for that revelation. (Although the book of rain and a comment KMM made in the Q&A we talked about here makes me wonder about that all the time..) So lets skip that and get right back to where we were when Burned ended. Sitting in Ryo's office with Invisi-Mac watching the brothers with Dageus, the Tenth. (For those who apparently had comprehension issues and kept asking "who was the Tenth?" after Burned, it's literally spelled out for you in this.)
Mac is sitting there wondering exactly what we're wondering when it comes to Dageus. Why? How? Now what? And why Ryodan of all people(?)? As soon as you start Feverborn, Karen starts hitting you with profound truths, and Mac's thoughts about the arbitrary rules we make as humans, and when it comes down to it, how ridiculous they are, really resonated with us.
What we achieve at our best moment doesn't say much about who we are.
It all boils down to what we become at our worst moment.
What you find yourself capable of if... say...
You get stranded in the middle of the ocean with a lone piece of driftwood that will support one person's weight and not a single ounce more - while floating beside a nice person that needs it as badly as you do.
That's the moment that defines you.
It's just so interesting to see the woman we meet in Darkfever think like this. This is one character journey we are so glad we got to witness, and we're so glad that journey is far from over.
I live in a world with few fences. Lately, even those are damn rickety.And while that woman we've come to love like a friend is still invisible, we get some more info on the Nine we would not have been hearing otherwise. (On a side note, I don't get those who had an issue with the invisibility... at all. Especially the seasoned fantasy readers. Bilbo turns invisible because of the one ring, Harry has a very convenient invisibility cloak, there's an invisibility baseball cap in Percy Jackson, but Mac turns invisible for a couple of weeks and book snobs lose their shit. I get it, this book is the kind of fantasy that seems way more real and of our world than LOTR and HP, but come on, at least admit your problem is snobbery and not the actual plot device used. Jeez. If you can read about the fae, eating Unseelie flesh, magic, and immortal beasts that turn into men so hot it hurts, you should really not have an issue with the invisibility. Rant over.) Lor comes into Ryo's office while Mac is snooping and, although he's there to relive his scorching hot sexy times with Jo, notices what's going on with Dageus and says what we've all been thinking.
"Fuuuu-uuuck."Ah, Lor. You know how to get right to the heart of the matter. We also find out that Barrons had no idea what Ryo was planning with Dageus, and that he isn't exactly going to be buying "Congrats on your bouncing (aka growling) baby boy" balloons for Ryo. And then.... we heard the "tribunal" ... and we had to take a minute.
Is it weird that it rankled? That the Nine had to answer to anyone? In any capacity? We totally got Mac's reaction to it. On one hand, it makes sense. As ancient as these creatures are, there must be SOME set of guidelines (I would never say rules) that they attempt to live by. Some vague lines they've drawn in their long existences, for good reasons. Lines they've learned to draw by trial and error. But on the other, we like the idea that they're gods among us mere mortals. And any principles they choose to live by are purely up to them. That nothing or no one can hold them accountable. Even if it comes to turning Dageus without so much as a "May I?" It was interesting to hear the apparent why of it. Because of Dageus being a "sixteenth century druid that was possessed by the first thirteen druids trained by the Fae - the Draghar" is a chance at saving the planet the Nine are bound to (mhmm) I do think Ryo is MAJORLY kidding himself if he thinks he can keep Dageus a secret, but do we want to see the tribunal? I'm not sure. Yet.
Barb definitely didn't love that Ryodan changed Dageus without his consent, without the input of anyone else, and that he did it to make sure he could, in case he needs to change Dani someday. We've grown to love Ryo, but that's a step too far for me. Barb is also fascinated by the idea that there is a tribunal and that at some point Ryo will have to face consequences for his choice. Basically anything that gives us a bit more insight in to our favorite man/beasts and we are riveted to the page. Which is why it was also fascinating that the Nine return to a place on Earth every time they die meaning 1. they died the first time on Earth and 2. if Earth disappears the Nine do too. Good to know they have a stake in the game.
Can we just say how glad we were to see Christian out of the Hag's clutches? It still hurts to think of everything he's been through. The Silvers, his change, the Hag. We (especially Zee) desperately want him to have some semblance of peace. But, alas, it doesn't look like it's happening any time soon. Christian is back in Scotland for Dageus's funeral. And it's painful reading about how he no longer feels like one of the clan. Except for his sister, Colleen, no one seems to be able to talk to him or look him in the eye. And he can hear the lie in Drustan's voice when he says Christian belongs there. And it hurt. Deep. We feel for him, so much. It killed Zee a little when Mac and Dani wouldn't look him in the eye. And she really expected more warmth towards him from Jada of all people, even though he still called her lass. (But his story is far from over, so I'll be patient.)
An immense wind gusted within him, around him, ruffling his wings, dark and serene and enormous. Death. Ah yes, death, he'd tasted it countless times recently, come to know it intimately. It wasn't horrific. Death was a lover's kiss. It was merely the process of getting there that could be so extreme.Christian confirms that it isn't Dageus they're attempting to bury, but someone else entirely. And already, Ryo's plan seems to be unraveling a bit.
Team Cruce : Party of two
The collaboration of Papa Roach (a god!) and Cruce is an interesting development. We were intrigued to learn that when Jada (we assume) took the cuff from him it weakened the bars on his cage, but that sealing the door to the cavern chamber sealed him in pretty effectively, even taking away his ability to project himself to the women in the abbey.
"If I agree to help you, I do so of my own accord. You neither own nor order me. But respect me," the heap of cockroaches ground out. "I am as ancient and venerable as you."It seems like all Papa Roach wants is the respect he's due. Oh, and the blade Ryo carries that is the only thing that can destroy him. It's not really surprising that Papa Roach wants out from under Ryo's thumb, but we have a feeling he's just trading one master for another. And one a lot more self serving than the one he calls "the beast who would be king." but like all things Fever, we can't wait to see how this plays out. And Cruce being free to wreak havoc, with the book, is a terrifying thought.
Breaking The Habit
Zee thought Dancer was kinda awesome in this. And she knows not everyone likes him, and a lot of people are deeply suspicious of him because of his seemingly unknown origins. Zee: Maybe it's because KMM has taught me that all questions don't need to be answered, and that some questions are just plain stupid. Or maybe it's because I so badly don't want another person to let Dani down in some way, that I just cannot find it in myself to be mad at Dancer. I want him to be exactly who he says he is to Dani, even if there is more to him she'd find out later. I know there's more to him. I know his eyes have something ancient behind them. But I can't bear to see her hurt by someone she trusted. Maybe that's all it is. Dancer said things in this that were wiser beyond his apparent years, and probably indicative of his actual years. And wiser than any of the shit anyone else had been saying when it came to Jada. And I love him for it.
"She wants to be Jada, I'm fine with it. She wants to be Dani, I'm fine with it. Quit looking at it like Jada killed Dani. Figure out how to appreciate both sides of her personality. Christ, you people have to put everything in neat little boxes, don't you? And if they don't fit, you get your panties in a twist until you pound things back into the shape you want them. News flash: life doesn't work that way."And he hit the nail right on the head when he gets to the bottom of their reactions. Specifically Ryodan and Mac's. And he could not be more right about it. It IS a reaction to their guilt. And the inability to accept something they can no longer change. Or really ever make up for.
"Your rejection of Jada stems from how guilty you feel about what happened to her and that's all about your hang ups, not hers."
Dancer telling it like it is helped. Mac has wonderful moments with Dani in this. And Ryodan and Mac both go a long way to treat her like the adult she now is instead of the child they miss so much.
They thought she had lost five and a half years of her life. She hadn't. She'd lived them. They were the ones who'd lost five and a half years of her life. And held it against her.And she's so right about that. That realization led to some amazing moments between Mac and Ryodan and our very adult Jada. My absolute favorite was Mac and Jada on the water tower. From Mac's mild "Sorry, dude." to the donuts and coffee she made Barrons get even though "every time I ask for anything, I get this freaking lecture on how he's not my fetch-it boy." (but he always gets her what she asks for.. coffee and donuts, or the Alina "thing" Sigh.)
Barb was pretty surprised and a little pissed that Jada lied about having had a personality split and also about not having the sword. Barb: Who fucking does that?? She's trying to give her the benefit of the doubt since we still don't know what she's been through, but those were both pretty serious dick moves. But Barb did love Dancer calling everyone out on how they've treated Jada since they found her at the Abbey, but can see both sides of it. Yes, the gang needed to be more supportive and understanding, needed to give Jada some time to re-acclimate to being "Earthside" and realize that she wasn't alone anymore. But it was pretty damned shocking to come face-to-face with the grown woman who was fourteen just a few weeks ago and is now the fierce beauty they all knew she would be. We're sure time will get everyone where they need to be, but the ruffled feathers are understandable all around.
Hey, Soul Sister.
When Mac sees Alina. It's like someone twisted a knife inside Zee's chest. It hurt. Mac's grief for Alina has always been a huge part of the books for her. It's been raw, real, all consuming, knee buckling, and earth shattering. And it's been a constant. Like all grief is. The grief of losing a beloved family member becomes a part of you. And it's a part of Mac the way her love of colors, and pretty clothes, and fun music is. Grief like that never goes away, it's something you learn to live with. But it's always there. In small things, in big things, and sometimes in nothing. (Zee: And for me, personally, my sister has always been my best friend. I'll never be alone in the universe so long as she's around, and that's exactly what made me connect with Mac from page 1 of Darkfever. Mac's love for Alina has always been something I've felt keenly.)
You can fall in love again; most people do - but you can never replace a sister.And seeing Alina again... so real. Yet impossible. It felt like the ground had moved from under us. We felt exactly how Mac did. Angry, defeated, stubborn, hopeful... and then angrier at ourselves for that hope.
Because deep down - desperately and with every fiber of my being - I wanted to believe it.One of the things that had us sitting up and gasping out loud was Alina thinking she had just lost time, and the first thing she remembered after that was wearing the dress Mac had buried her in, the pearls she'd been buried in, and the shoes Mac had bought for her AFTER she had died. This changes so much. That Mac apparently bought Alina back from the dead. Zee completely understands how Mac feels, the whole reason she ever stepped into Dublin was Alina. Dani shouldered the blame for Alina's death. So much has been a snowball effect of Alina's death. Where do we all stand now...? How do we deal with this?
Of all the WTF things that happened in Feverborn, the most fucked up for Barb was Alina showing up. What.the.actual.fuck? That is not a development we could have ever seen coming. Barb: So, what happened? Nearly a year has passed, Mac identified her body, she has a grave. But her grave being empty, her looking for Darroc, wearing his ring, are all jaw-dropping. Is she an illusion? Did Mac bring her back from the dead unconsciously? Did the book bring her back just to fuck with Mac? We are going to need a hell of a lot more information about this little development.
When we were lucky enough to chat with KMM after her Q&A in New Orleans, she noted that Mac was frozen by her fear and insecurity in Burned precisely because she was overwhelmed by fear. She was afraid that the book, once it had a hold of her, might never have let go, that it might have been spinning illusions for her since the day she "defeated" it in the bookstore, they day they re-interred it beneath the Abbey. If it could fool her once, could it fool her permanently? What a fascinating dilemma!
We're going to say it. Jada and Shazam melted our hearts. Completely. It was so wonderful seeing the love she had for him. And a part of us was just glad our Dani hadn't been completely alone the whole time. That she'd found someone to love and care for. But wow... that did not go where we expected it to. And by the end, Zee was pretty inconsolable about the whole thing. The fire in the abbey and Dani's breakdown killed us. And her losing it after Ryo (not his smartest moment) tried to show her that what she brought back was just a stuffed animal.
That whole scene, when a badly burned Ryodan is telling Barrons what happened hurt like hell. And made us fall just a little bit more in love with Ryodan. And a bit more in love with Lor when he was ready to (probably) beat the shit out of an already injured Ryo when he thought he hit Dani.
But more than everyone else's reactions, it really drove home the absolute reality of what Dani must have gone through those years in the Silvers. What she must have done to survive. And whether or not she's broken beyond repair (We don't believe that... we can't.) Zee wants Shazam to be real more than almost anything else. It explains her determination to get back there, the reason she wants Ryodan on a leash (well, one of the reasons!) it gives us a bit of hope that she found a reason to keep going, to love. And we're counting on someone to go bring Shazam back to her if that's the case.
Dani's breakdown also made Mac stand up and realize that Dani needed her. As much as she needed Dani. And Zee is sure she could not have been the only one crying when Mac said:
We sat in silence for a time.
Finally, I got up.
Ryodan would survive. He had his brothers.
Dani needed a sister.
The last few chapters of Feverborn are some of the most beautiful ones we've read. Mac and Dani's bond is apparent, and them finding their way back to each other, even on the Sweeper's surgical tables, was something to behold.
I pressed my cheek to her hair and whispered the same words against her ear that I’d heard her say earlier. Although I had no idea what they meant, they obviously meant something to her.
“I see you, yee-yee,” I said. “Come back. Don’t go away. Please don’t leave me.” I started to cry. “It’s safe here. We love you, Dani. Jada. Whoever you need to be. It’s okay. We don’t care. Just please don’t leave. I’ve got you, honey, I’ve got you.” I cried harder.
The Number Of The Beast
There were so many amazing moments in Feverborn that made us swoon. I mean, duh. It's Karen Marie Moning. No one does sexy, intense, and oh so swoon-worthy like she does. Remember how we all died a little when Barrons gave Mac the phone with the IYD number? Or when he did her nails at the end of Darkfever and that was basically the end of our poor little hearts? Well, Ryodan and Jada have some moments that are very reminiscent of those absolutely brilliant Mac and Barrons moments. And Jesus. Ryodan. Where have you been all our lives? Laugh some more, you sexy beast.
“How does it work?”He sliced his head once to the left. “If you mean the mechanics of it, too bad. Bottom line is this: if you let me tattoo you and you carry the phone, I can find you if you ever get lost again.”“Details.”“There are three numbers programmed in. Mine. You call it, I answer. The second one is Barrons’s number. If I don’t answer for some reason, Barrons will. The third one is called IISS.” He waited.“I resent being cued. It makes me not want to know.”Tiny lines around his eyes crinkled as he threw his head back and laughed.Jada fisted her hands behind her back. She hated it when he laughed.“Good to see you haven’t lost all your irrational prickliness,” he said. “IISS stands for I’m In Serious Shit. Use it only if you are.”“What will happen?”“Hope you never find out. But if you’d called it in the Silvers, I’d have been there.”“How quickly?”“Very.”
Ryodan giving Jada that phone was amazing. And Jada's thoughts of all the "what ifs" if she had had it on her when she was in the Silvers broke our hearts all over again. Mac wasn't the only one who just wanted to hug her at certain points in the book.
Ryodan giving Jada that tattoo... was something else entirely. Is it hot in here? Or is just the insanely palpable tension between those two? We're going with the latter.
|Let's not pretend we all haven't wondered this|
multiple times when it comes to Fever.
Speaking of too hot to handle. Barrons. Sigh. We've tried to not bring him up every two seconds, but it's tough, because Barrons is fucking spectacular. And literally every book makes us love him more and more, to the point of madness.
Amazing that we're still learning more about everyone, and our hearts are still breaking for Barrons after all this time. Mac's musing that, "I wondered how long he'd had to live before he quit letting himself have one ounce of interest in a human" once again showed us how difficult is must be to be that man.
Barrons' with Mac is perfection. We love that they have space, that they have secrets between them sometimes, that not everything is laid out for all eyes to see. But their bond is undeniable. Only an idiot would mistake their surface formality for coldness. It's more of a fire that burns so hot that sometimes you need protection to handle it, that distance we see is that protection. It's a unique relationship. But a commitment all the same. (And one Zee envies.)
"We would start over. Barrons and I would always start over. Longevity requires it."
Mac basically attacking Barrons every chance she got was one of the best things ever. Firstly, that's what you do when you're alive and have a Barrons. Secondly, the fact that reconnecting with him that way was like a lifeline to her, that it cleansed her, focused her, healed her, was one of the most beautiful aspects of their relationship. We should all be so lucky.
He went motionless, swept my body with that dark, inscrutable gaze, and the shape of his mouth changed. “Ah, Ms. Lane, did you pull me out of there to fuck?”
“You bet your ass I did.”
“Bloody hell. I don’t know what happened to you—”
“I don’t want to talk about it! Are you going to cooperate or not?” I snarled.
“—but goddamn woman. I like you this way.”
He shoved me back against a wall, palmed open a door I hadn’t even noticed, backed me in, spun me around, and crushed me against the wall, kicking the door shut behind us.
Waiting For The End
The Sweeper and his minions had been freaking us out for a while now, and the fact that he attempted to "fix" things wasn't a fun thing to know. We wanted Mac out of his clutches. But we ended up with both her and Dani as his special patients. And it was oh so typical of Mac to be more scared once she realized Dani was there, than to be scared for herself. We love her so much.
A voice broke the silence from my left—first, scaring the shit out of me, then filling me with far more horror than I’d realized I could even hold.
“It’s my heart,” Jada whispered. “What’s it planning to fix of yours?”
As far as chapter endings go, that one had our hearts sinking to our stomachs. And we just knew nothing good was going to come of this, because Mac might be many things, but the one thing she isn't is someone who wouldn't do any and everything in her power to save someone she loves. It's her most beautiful quality. And the one that always causes her (and us) the most pain.
“No,” I finally managed to whisper. And again more strongly, “No.” Not Dani. Never Dani. No one was “fixing” anything about her, and certainly not her bodacious heart.
“There’s nothing wrong with your heart, honey,” I said softly.
“It’s broken,” she whispered. “I can’t go forward with Shazam behind me. I don’t know how.”
God, I knew that feeling! A sister, a parent, a lover, an animal. It didn’t matter where you put your unconditional love, once given, the stealing away of it was an assault to every sense. Smells were the worst—they could ambush you, put you smack back in the middle of the hottest part of the grief. The scent of a peaches-and-cream candle. The brand of deodorant she’d used. Her pillow back home. The smell of the bookstore in the evening, when I’d believed Barrons was dead. When you love too hard, you can lose the will to live without them. Everywhere you look is a great big sucking absence of what you once had and will never have again. And life gets weirdly flat and too sharp and painful at the same time, and nothing feels right and everything cuts.
There goes Karen again, making us sob uncontrollably because of something she wrote. And because what she wrote is all too real. Is there anything worse than a broken heart? And we don't mean some random break up. We mean the things that can't be fixed. The people you can't get back, the ones you can never see smile again, or laugh again, the same ones you'd give ANYTHING to see again, if only for another moment. There's no price to high. And we suddenly got it. We finally understood Jada's purposefulness, her NEED to go back to the places where she was lost, and bring back the thing that broke her heart to leave behind. And we need that for her too.
As horrific as their situation was, tied up and surgery pending. It's beautiful how our two favorite girls finally talk it out. And laugh. And cry. We've always been Rainbow Mega Girls (Team Mac n Dani!) and this whole scene basically solidified that times a hundred.
Random awesomeness :
- One of the things I love about this series is the ever changing city of Dublin, the ever changing Barrons' Books and Baubles, ever changing Mac. Changing Dani. The fluid nature of these things is what makes it so compelling. It's real. It's a living, breathing thing. There's a strange comfort in knowing BB&B keeps moving around rooms and floors, it's, oddly enough, a constant. We'll worry when it stops changing rooms around.
"Like the city I loved, I kept changing and it wasn't always pretty."
- Love LOVE the description of Inspector Jayne as looking like Liam Neeson. Yes, please. I needed that description, and that will be very good mind candy on my next reread.
- We love the idea that so many of our characters share an inner struggle of epic proportions. Dageus is struggling to master his new inner beast, Mac is struggling to master her inner Sinsar Dubh, Jada is struggling to reconcile the rambunctious fourteen-year-old girl we all fell in love with. All of this struggle makes for wonderfully fascinating reading.
- Dancer telling Mac to make Dani laugh, and to remember how to do it herself too.
“Laughter is power. One of the greatest weapons we have. It can slay dragons and it can heal. Jada doesn’t have it anymore. As long as she doesn’t, she’s more vulnerable than any of you seem to realize. Stop worrying about your idiotic ‘things’ and start worrying about her. Make her laugh, Mac. And remember how to do it yourself, while you’re at it. Nice hair, by the way.”
- The Hunters. The way they talk to Mac. Their amusement at letting Mac and Barrons believe they have any power over them. They reminded Zee of cats!!! We're hoping we get to see a lot more of them.
- Lor. Just Lor. Everything Lor. Lor the clit research master. Lor the cabbie. Lor. And smart as fuck Lor, who Jo should have known was more than just a caveman who liked to fuck. Lor, who has a plan to get Jo to fuck him. And Lor, whose first words to Jada were:
"Hey, kid," he purred, "Looking good, honey. Nice to see you back."
- So many things Dancer said (Can you tell Zee is a fan?)
“When we’re kids,” Dancer said, “we’re made of steel. And we think we’re invincible but stuff happens and that steel gets stretched and pulled and twisted into impossible shapes. Most people are torn apart by the time they’re married and have kids of their own. But some people, the few, figure out how to let that steel heat and bend. And in all the places other people break, they get stronger.”
- Mac finding the music box in her backpack. So.many.possibilities.
I scowled. The idea that this box might contain the song seemed suspiciously serendipitous. The universe didn’t work that way. At least not for me. The things that got tucked away in my curio cabinets were psychopaths, not all-powerful songs.
- The Seelie Queen chapter was riveting! More please!
- Literally every second of Mac and Barrons being together. Too many things to add to this post, but maybe we'll do a post of JUST those interactions because, goddammit, it' worth it. And the things Barrons says will probably be the end of us.
"I want this world. I want you."
- Barrons knowing before Mac said anything that she'd need more clothes to keep warm before getting on the Hunter. Zee needs a Barrons to keep her warm. In more ways that one.
We've barely even scratched the surface, readers. It's just one of those books you absolutely MUST read to truly get. And we assure you, you won't regret it. There's so much going on in this series. Karen has given us butterflies in our stomachs, tears, laughter, joy, pain, fear, apprehension, and in the end of Feverborn, we felt exactly how one would feel after that initial climb up a roller coaster, right before that first, steep downward slope that you take at full speed. Our hearts were in our throats, and we just know we'll be screaming our lungs out on the way down. Do us a favor? Don't take pictures, it won't be pretty.
At the end of this, we just want to say, we believe in the good magic, too. And we believe in Mac and Dani.
|Do you believe in magic?|