Shadowfever - Karen Marie Moning Okaaaay, uh, so where do I start? I guess first of all I should be happy I finally finished the Fever series. I suppose this was a decent ending, though when I first started this book I was convinced it was going to be a 2-star read. Thankfully, it got better, but it still wasn't the satisfying finale I'd been hoping for.

For this review, I'm just going to pile on the thoughts as they come. First of all, I have to say the first few chapters of this book gave me one hell of a mind-numbing headache. Pages and pages and pages of whiny woe-is-me melodrama from our protagonist! To be fair, I had the audiobook version, and it didn't help that the narrator had the worst case of overacting I'd ever heard. I never understood the importance of the quality of narration (I mean, it's just reading out loud, right? Who can botch that up?) until now. Most of the time I felt like pulling the earbuds out of my ears because of the hysterical performance. It was a lot like listening to that really annoying drama student back in high school who thinks she's the shit but the truth is nobody can stand. Maybe if I'd had the book and just read the words it would have been better.

At the same time, I can't help but think the narration was somewhat appropriate. Everything in this book was laid on so thick, from the red herrings to the writing that was so trite at times that I could not help but cringe. Right from the get-go, I kinda got a sense for what KMM was trying to go for with this final installment, i.e. the abstract, the bizarre, and the metaphysical. I mean, just look at the cover. But still, the writing style was just so over the top, and especially during Mac's internal monologues. Yes, I get that she is soooo in love with Jericho Barrons, I really didn't need the avalanche of flowery words to clue me in. I think this book could have been a lot shorter and Mac's emotions would still have come across loud and clear. Like they say, less is more.

Plus, it had the unwanted effect of making everything in the story so obvious. Red herrings only work when they're subtly hinted at, when the reader is just slightly distracted or misled. Clues and loaded words are meant to be doled out sparingly, just enough to be deceptive, not pounded into your face like they were in this book. Maybe it's just me, but there were quite a few twists and turns in the plot of this novel, but unfortunately I was able to predict almost every one. Nothing was much of a shock or surprise, which could possibly explain why I'm not as enamored with this book as others are.

I've also recently started noticing a disturbing trend in the so-called "paranormal romance" genre. Why are so many of the male love interests assholes? Because, yes, I think Jericho Barrons is an asshole. There's a lot of testosterone-fueled posturing and immature jealous raging over the ownership of Mac (and not exactly in a healthy way) in this series. At one point, two male characters argue openly about who can give her the better orgasm. Oh gee, that certainly makes a girl feel special. I admit, maybe I'm just an old-fashioned romantic, but I don't think a man who loves you should knock you around or keep secrets from you (though I suspect Barron's tendency to do so is just a cheap strategy to keep the mystery alive in this series!) or reveal his true feelings for you only (and only!) when you're bleeding all over the floor and/or hovering on the brink of death. Seriously, this happens several times in this series.

Not to mention it's not very convincing when these male characters end up "turning around" when they and their respective heroines finally get together. Like I'm supposed to believe someone like Barrons, who ruined his own birthday cake that Mac so thoughtfully and painstakingly baked for him by smashing it up into the ceiling (because apparently he's just not a birthday cake kinda guy), would be content grilling steaks and preparing to sit down to a nice domestic dinner at the table with her parents at the end of this book? He's like a bazillion years old, changes don't happen overnight!

Apart from that, just a couple other little oddities I noticed. Stuff like how there is a part in the story where a character's head pops like a grape while Mac is talking to him, and her first thought is that she wishes she could put his head back on so she can grill him to get the information that she wanted from him. Hmm. I don't know about you, but my first thought probably would have been "OMG, I better duck so whatever's out there that got him won't be getting me next!" There's also this other part where Mac is looking in her dead sister Alina's photo album and finds a picture of Darroc in it, which apparently her sister had taken while she was on top of him during sex and it's of his face while he's coming inside her. Um, talk about a Kodak moment? And Alina friggin' went and printed it out to put in her photo album?! Well, I guess this scene of Mac looking through her sister's pictures was supposed to be introspective and touching, but it just made me burst out laughing picturing the circumstances in which that photo was taken. These little oddities in the novel probably aren't such a big deal in the scheme of things, but I thought I'd mention them because it did make me stop and go double-you-tee-eff.

Okay, so I don't want to make it sound like this book was all bad, because like I said, it did get better after around the halfway point. As I mentioned before, there were a lot of twists in this novel, and even though I saw a lot of it coming, they made this a pretty enjoyable and fun read. So much happened in this final book of the series, which at least kept things interesting and certainly made up for some of the slower and more dragging parts (like book two in the series, in which practically nothing happens). I really enjoyed the first book and thought it was a very strong beginning which is why I wish I liked Shadowfever more, it being the ending and all. But overall I guess I'm happy that everything wrapped up nicely.