Tuesday, 24 July 2012
'Fever Moon' - Karen Marie Moning, Al Rio, Cliff Richards (Del Rey)
Truth be told, I've pretty much given up on the larger part of Urban Fantasy as I've realised that I'm into Urban Fantasy that deals with setting rather than angst and slightly dodgy relationships. 'Fever Moon' looked very much like it would fall in the latter camp but... It had been a hard week and it's a graphic novel; it was a read that was always going to happen.
As it turned out, 'Fever Moon' wasn't a bad read at all. There were problems but most of these managed to avoid the 'Urban Fantasy Trap'...
Here's the blurb,
Dublin is a war zone. The walls between humans and Fae are down. A third of the world’s population is dead and chaos reigns. Imprisoned over half a million years ago, the Unseelie are free and each one Mac meets is worse than the last. Human weapons don’t stand a chance against them.
With a blood moon hanging low over the city, something dark and sinister begins to hunt the streets of Temple Bar, choosing its victims by targeting those closest to Mac. Armed only with the Spear of Destiny and Jericho Barrons, she must face her most terrifying enemy yet.
'Fever Moon' is a very good mix of compelling (albeit predictable) storyline married to artwork that does an amazing job of what Moning obviously wants it to convey. At least three quarters of my attention was drawn to Al Rio's art. There were elements of the plot that I wasn't too keen on ('Though Barrons brought me back... The cure was endless sex' Really? Not again...) I found myself wanting to stick around and see how Rio, and to a lesser extent Richards, brought it all to the page. The setting is beautifully drawn as are the characters acting within it.
The story itself offers an intriguing world with an intriguing mystery sitting within it. Who is the mysterious assailant stalking the wartorn streets of Dublin? Annoyingly, a lot of the answer to this question refers back to previous books within the larger series. I wouldn't normally make a big deal of this but it's done in such a way that it seriously interupts the flow of the tale if you don't know what you are looking for. A little bit of sepia toning isn't quite the signpost that it was intended to be. I found myself going over the same two pages over and over again before I figured out what was going on... Not helpful at all. 'Fever Moon' is definitely one for long term fans (who will recognise this scene for what it is) rather than the casual reader.
The way its handled is a bit of a shame really as the plot does have a lot going for it. There's a lot riding on Mac's actions and the tension builds up accordingly with some amazing set pieces interspersed throughout the book. Mac is an interesting character to get to know, in such a short space of time, and her attitude towards the job at hand carries the plot forward in just the right way.
Again though, it's a shame that this had to be cut with all the flirting that people feel is necessary in an Urban Fantasy tale. 'Fever Moon' was doing just fine all on it's own; it didn't need the relationship stuff to move things forward, if anything those themes held things back a little.
A good read then but it was a shame that 'Fever Moon' felt the need to travel down certain well worn paths that it really didn't need to. This is a setting that could be a whole lot more if it struck out on its own...
Eight out of Ten
P.S. It's been bugging me all day, I knew I'd come across this series before...