Friday, 2 November 2012

Review: Iced (Dani O'Malley, #1) by Karen Marie Moning

Review: Iced (Dani O'Malley, #1) by Karen Marie Moning

Warning: You should probably read the Fever Series by Ms. Moning, or you might be a little bit confused.

Author: Karen Marie Moning
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 495
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Source: Bought it
Book Description from Goodreads: 
The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be. 

Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux. 

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.


    When I met Dani in the Fever books, I really hated her. She's cocky and irritating (I actually skimmed her sections of Shadowfever because I couldn't stand her dialogue), but admittedly she could kick some serious ass. So when I found out Moning was going to base her next series on her I was a bit apprehensive about if I was going to like it or not, and how she'd slip in her trademark sex scenes with someone so young in the picture. But I shouldn't have doubted Moning, she made me rethink my attitude towards Dani while I followed her on a death defying Snickers fueled adventure with some of the most badass guys ever to figure out what's icing over Dublin. 

     Oh and this is important: this is NOT A YOUNG ADULT BOOK! I see the argument that yes we are following the point of view of a 14 year old, and yes at times it gets creepy with so much male testosterone aimed at her - but it's handled with tact and care. But the defining point here is that the story is told from OTHER POINTS OF VIEW too, ADULT POINTS OF VIEW, where they can have all the sex they want and there's some definite R-rated violence; so CHILL OUT PEOPLE. Plus - realistically, what kind of teenager isn't sexually curious at 14, it doesn't mean that they're going to go for it and that's made very clear by Dani. 

     The cover is even more gorgeous in person, it's got such a cold 3D feel to it. One of my favorite touches that Moning added in has to be the short line of lyrics from an eclectic collection of songs that accompanies each chapter heading - it gives such a ominous foreshadowing to what happens in the chapter. 

     Oh Dani - she's on her own in a ruined city with super powers to boot. She's had to grow up fast and has taken it upon herself to look after the helpless and fight the fae to survive another day. What Moning is infamous for is her dichotomous characters. They're like two different people crammed into one, and struggling with each other until the situations morph and change the person and one comes out on top. This couldn't be truer with Dani. On one hand she's still a child, she wants to have fun and be frivolous, use swear words and be a smart ass while whining and complaining to the old people in her life. But on the other hand there's these clear and shocking moments where her dialogue completely matures, and she's profound and has epiphanies that are just incredible to watch unfold. It's this version of Dani that I absolutely love - and even the other characters point out that when she grows up she's going to be a hell of a woman. Let's just hope that Moning can get us there a wee bit faster. 

     Ryodan has completely replaced my love of Barrons from Fever. He's this awesome combination of lethal animal fury and hilarious deadpan snark in a domineering package. After reading some scenes with him, I literally couldn't wipe the satisfied smirk off my face. He wants to protect Dani - in any means necessary and there's moments of pure trust and some philosophical debate between these two that shows a different level to their relationship. Ultimately, I think it's going to be Ryodan that's going to make Dani be more mature. 

     Christian - the Highlander slowly turning Unseelie Prince is struggling and it's heartbreaking to watch. There's moments where you can see the good ole sweetheart Christian peeking through, but he's quickly overrun by this dark and sexually fueled Prince. I want to keep thinking that Christian is under there, but it's getting harder and harder to find him through all those Unseelie tattoos. 

     Dancer - we find out about him in passing in Shadowfever, and I was really suspicious of who this mere mortal was in this lethal world. But he's a fecking genius, funny and just what Dani needs (he's also closer to her age at 17) to stay sane. But my spidey senses are tingling and I'm positive there's something off about him and I cannot wait to find out what! 

     I'm pretty sure Moning might be hinting at a love square (?) in here - but each one makes it abundantly clear that she's still a child, and they will WAIT. Even Dani seems like she's still in the boys are icky phase, and she's pretty oblivious to any innuendo and attention. The sex scenes are pretty light (for now),  most of the scenes consist of Dani walking in on adults and having that "OH SHIT SORRY AWKWARD" moment or they take place in vague dream haze. 

     This whole story worked like a Scooby Gang/ Sherlock Holmes mystery - going from one gorgeously illustrated iced scene to another, Ryodan and Dani collect evidence, observe and deduce to figure out who or what is rapidly turning Dublin into an arctic playground. This plot was magnificently written out, given the clues it wasn't until moments before the actual reveal that the pieces clicked for me. Moning still brings the blood spraying action, and the hauntingly clear descriptions of new Unseelie fae with her incredible knack for engaging character interactions. If you're a fan of her Fever series, this is definitely one to read - if that's not incentive enough there's some guest appearances from everyone's favorite alpha male! 

Overall: 4/5 Hot Cups of Tea!
I will admit I'm still not 100% on Dani yet - we get her backstory this time around and it explains a lot of her attitude, but I can see that Moning will take her to a mature place - eventually. A lot of people are going to be uncomfortable with the older guys interacting with such a young girl - and admittedly there are some points where I was having an OKAY WHOA THERE CHRISTIAN PONY moment, but it's not that bad. Give it a try folks, and decide after - although that cliffhanger ending will be sure to have you pining for the next! 

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