Book Review: Burned by Karen Marie Moning
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Series: Book 7 of Fever
Publisher: Delacorte (January 20, 2015)
Mogsy’s Rating: 2 of 5 stars
I’m going to begin this review with a mini-rant: Personally, I’m of the mind that spin-off series should be fresh starts. If you’re going to end the original series and begin a new one focusing on another character, well, that character should have her turn prove herself and shine in the spotlight. It’s fine if the main characters in the original series make minor cameos in the new series, but in the end they’ve have had their chance, they should be put to bed, their problems shouldn’t be dragged up again, and happily-ever-afters shouldn’t need to be revisited.
So yeah, you can understand why I might feel a bit cheated.
Mac, bless her heart, had a good run as the protagonist of the Fever series. I had fun with the books, but it’s over now and I’m prepared to move on. Iced was a breath of fresh air, even though my first thought when I found out about the book was: “What the hell? Why would you take the most juvenile, idiotic and annoying side character in the Fever series and give them their own novel?” Well, as it turned out, Dani “Mega” O’Malley ended up growing on me, and I was actually looking forward to her getting her own trilogy.
So you can understand why I’m disappointed that once again this book is all about Mac, Mac, MAC! Dani gets a chapter at the beginning and then pretty much disappears from the rest of the story. I know the author was trying to rectify some of the bigger criticisms of Iced – mainly the controversy around Dani’s age – but I wish she’d gone about it another way. I’m done with Mac, she’s already had five books! This was supposed to be all about Dani, and instead Moning decided to change tack mid-series and make this be about Mac. AGAIN.
That really annoyed me, but my feelings about spin-offs that I expressed at the beginning of this review are only the beginning. In changing directions, Moning also seems to have lost control of her story. This book hardly felt like it advanced the overall arc, except for the issue of Dani’s age being resolved. I don’t deny that it needed to be addressed; Iced felt way too creepy with all these grown men ogling the fourteen-year-old Dani like a juicy steak. Making her older wasn’t a mistake. What was a mistake was doing it by tossing her through a portal, making her an absentee for most of what’s supposed to be HER book, then completely destroying the very essence of what made her Dani.
The story, or what there is of a story, also left me feeling cold. I found it hard to get excited about it, because I could tell the author wasn’t too excited about it either. To be fair, what happened here probably wasn’t what Moning originally intended. Still, what we have now is very little plot progression, and lots of melodramatic internal dialogue to fill the pages.
There’s also the constant and heavy deluge of sex and sexual references. This by itself doesn’t bother me, nor is it really surprising, given the fact I’m reading a Paranormal Romance. But what I enjoyed most about the early books in the Fever series was the very fact that they read more like Urban Fantasy — there was a strong plot at the forefront, with sex and romance being a side element. It bugs me, however, when the sex starts to overshadow the more important things in a book, or when it is thrown in for no apparent reason at all. There was one scene where Mac thought she was going to die, and I’m not even kidding, her first thought was (I’m paraphrasing here), “Oh no, I’m not gonna have the chance to do all these things I’ve ever wanted to do and, like, I haven’t had near enough sex with Barrons yet!” Really, Mac? That’s what goes through your head when faced with your own fragile mortality?
Like I said, I’ve just had enough of Mac. She and I ended on a relatively high note at the end of Shadowfever and I wish it had stopped there. Now she’s just annoying. I also learned more about her relationship with Barrons than I ever wanted to know, like the fact they only seem to get along when they’re screwing each other’s brains out in bed, and at all other times he’s growling at her and she’s snapping at him like a couple of rabid wolverines. Not sexy. To be honest, their dysfunctional romance never appealed to me all that much, but I was okay with how it resolved in Shadowfever. I was happier living under the impression that they’d worked out their issues. Now that they’ve been dug up again, it’s only served to remind me of everything that I disliked about their relationship in the first place, except now it’s many times more aggravating.
I can’t help but wonder what this book would have been like if Moning had stayed the course. It would have been pretty cool, actually, if the story had been about Dani’s experience in the fae world, and it certainly would have been a more holistic way to age her up. I’ve just had enough with Mac. In the end, I know it’s the author’s prerogative to do what she wants with her own series, but I do wish she would have given Dani a chance.