Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Kingdom of Shadow and Light by Karen Marie Moning
Narrator: Amanda Leigh Cobb, Aiden Snow
Series: Fever #11
Published by Brilliance Audio on February 23, 2021
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 13 hours, minutes
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MacKayla Lane is on a path to rule the race she was born to hunt - and kill - in this electrifying new installment in #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning's Fever series.
The brewing war between the Seelie and the Unseelie is threatening to explode - with a definitive outcome that will change the fate of the Fae forever and thrust humanity into either light or total darkness. But as Mac embarks deeper than ever before into the origins of the Fae, she begins to question who is truly good and who is evil.
The Fever series is a staple of the urban fantasy genre. It began over 15 years ago, unapologetically delivering mind-bending story arcs and book-throwing cliff-hangers, not to mention super sexy heroes and kick-ass heroines. Kingdom of Shadow and Light, by Karen Marie Moning, is the eleventh installment written in the Fever series, and purportedly the conclusion. But it doesn’t just tie up a lot of loose threads and relationships; it contains a totally new plot that had me wondering how in the world she was going to wrap things up in only fifteen hours. Kingdom of Shadow and Light would best be enjoyed if one has read the previous Fever books. I don’t think it is meant as a stand-alone novel, nor do I think one would enjoy it overmuch.
Kingdom of Shadow and Light contains the characters and world-building elements I love most about KMM’s work. I won’t try to describe the numerous reoccurring characters in this series how they have changed and developed, but just focus on Mac, aka MacKayla Lane, the original heroine. This book really highlights Mac’s growth over the series, and though she’s a different person than the Rainbow Girl from Darkfever (the first book in the series), her core values and beliefs are intact. It is obvious that even though she has had to make hard choices, she is governed by a love for her family, both blood and chosen. She is independent and fierce, someone with the wisdom to ask for help when it is needed and the courage to accept it when offered. Her relationship with Barrons has evolved into what it was meant to be, their disparities in power and abilities finally in balance.
KMM never seems to rest on her laurels, or in this case, previous world-building efforts, when describing Mac’s Dublin or the Faerie realms. She adds new layers of detail to the world with lavish descriptions that engage all of the senses. I feel like I can smell and feel the Fever world as much as I can visualize it. At times, this makes for quite a bit of wordiness that might drag the story down in places, but the payoff outweighs the frustration.
There are some clever uses of visions and images of the future that seemed to direct my reading brain, and kept me trying to resolve the current state of affairs with the end state. There were passages that made me absolutely dread what might happen in this book, and I was a little confused and worried as to how it could all play out. At one point, I was absolutely convinced this would have to be a cliff-hanger, that I’d missed the “Part 1” in the title. But in the end, it worked out and I didn’t actually feel like I’d been cheated by too hasty an ending.
I refuse to believe this is the end. I’ve combed the internet, looking for information on possible expansions of this world, and the most I can find is that this is officially the last Fever book. New/newish characters introduced in Kingdom of Shadow and Light were more than mentioned, but not central to the story; the Seelie Princesses, the Old World Gods, Lyrica, and Kat’s daughter, Ray. I think the concept around the Old World Gods is particularly fertile ground for a spin-off series. Seeing as Fever contains elements from Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander world, I am ever hopeful I’ll see these characters all again.
The narration for this book was fantastic. I’ve come to expect amazing things from Amanda Leigh Cobb’s previous performances for the series, and she more than delivered. I swear I am listening to multiple female narrators. In addition to the accents, she manages to capture the characteristics of the characters with unique pacing and diction. I was so pleased to hear the voice of Aiden Snow for the male characters. I loved the deep tone and interpretations of the accents for the Nine. It is such a positive change from the last three books. I want another installment of the series to hear more!
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