"My name is MacKayla, Mac for short. I'm a sidhe-seer, one who sees the Fae, a fact I accepted only recently and very reluctantly.
My philosophy is pretty simple - any day nobody's trying to kill me is a good day in my book. I haven't had many good days lately. Not since the walls between Man and Fae came down. But then, there's not a sidhe-seer alive who's had a good day since then."
When MacKayla's sister was murdered, she left a single clue to her death - a cryptic message on Mac's cel phone. Journeying to Ireland in search of answers, Mac is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to master a power she had no idea she possessed - a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae...
As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister's death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysteriou Jericho...while at the same time, the ruthless V'lane - an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women - closes in on her. As the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac's true mission becomes clear: to find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book - because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control both worlds in their hands...
I've put this series off several times. For a while there I actually thought it might be cursed since I'd taken the book out of the library THREE times and for one reason or another never got to read it. Then, to make matters worse, I'd unwittingly read all sorts of spoilers (hate that) which ruined some of the more important elements for me. But I was finally persuaded to forge ahead and...
What Karen Moning does well is something so very simple it boggles the mind that other authors seem to fail so miserably in their own attempts. She created a character, MacKayla, who is absolutely and unapologetically so okay with who she is, her mere self-satisfaction is awe-inspiring. Shortly upon arriving in Dublin Mac learns of a secret world of Fae in addition to her unique ability to see through their glamour. Does she buy into this concept wholesale? No. She challenges it, fights it, questions its integrity and continually attempts to poke holes in it. Why? Because isn't that what most people would do? Sure, we'd all like to believe in vampires and fairies and werewolves, but, come one, let's be real, if you opened your front door to a horde of Fae, wouldn't you be just slightly more inclined to think you're crazy? I know I would.
In addition to her being a bit of a reluctant hero, she's a person who refuses to lose sight of who she is. Jericho wants her to go to a goth den dressed in black and what does she wear? That's right, a Rainbow Brite skirt that shows of her pretty tan. Mac embraces the pink, girly side of her just as much as she embraces her mission to find her sister's killer, with equal zeal. Moning created a character who likes who she is, who's unashamed of how she may be perceived by others, a woman who is strong and resilient and loyal and steadfast. Mac is a woman who knows she's pretty, embraces it, not in a catty or petty way, but in a soft, appreciative way and even when the rest of the world is looking at her as though she was a fool, Mac holds her head up, paints her nails pink, puts on a short colorful skirt and moves forward. And aside from being totally comfortable in her own skin, Mac is bright and resourceful, she is perceptive and kind-hearted, and she is the kind of sister any woman would be proud to have. That, my friends, is how you write a strong heroine.
Jericho Barrons. I'm still not certain how I feel about our (anti?) hero. The jury's still out on him. Already he's done a few things that have pissed me off. He's roughed Mac up a few times, threatened her, used her as his personal bloodhound and basically thrust her into a dangerous world woefully unprepared. Is there good in him? I think so, there are hints of it, but he's too much of an enigma still to figure out. I presume with four books left to read this will sort itself out but in the meantime... I have my eye on you Barrons. Don't make me whip out my Wayne Brady.
As far as story goes, it's a slam dunk. Moning beautifully balances her character development with masterful storytelling. Her pacing is spot on and her descriptions of Dublin make it come alive on the page. The lore especially is so intriguing you're drawn in and captured by these fantastically grotesque creatures and their wickedness. It's violent and a bit twisted and at times scary but it's so delicious. Truly, it's an intense read. If I had a complaint it would have to be the foreshadowing. It happens so often that it pulled me from the story a few times. In my opinion, the story would have flowed more seamlessly had at least half of them had been omitted and I don't think they would have been missed at all. But that's it, that's my one complaint. Other than that Moning's writing is superb and elicits such impactful emotions that it's impossible not to become truly invested in the story and its characters.
Oh, and that scene at the end? Insane.
Yeah, the action's pretty good too!