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REVIEW: Iced by Karen Marie Moning

Dear Ms. Moning,

The Fever series was exciting and unparalleled in urban fantasy. When I heard you were branching off from the Fever series with a second trilogy, I had high hopes. Sadly, this book fell short of my expectations. Whereas the Fever series was held together by the glue that was Mac and all her intricacies, Iced falls apart because Dani does not have the same charisma that Mac did.

Iced by Karen Marie MoningThe story behind Iced is that the world is still post-fairy invasion. A third of the world has died and more are dying every day. Dublin is a danger zone, but Dani O’Malley loves this new world because it offers her a chance to be a ‘superhero’. She has a salvation complex in which she insists on saving the people of Dublin from the fae, but does not receive the same gratitude back. Meanwhile sections of Dublin are being iced into oblivion and Dani must work for Ryodan, owner of Chesters, and determine how and why Dublin is once more under siege.

Your imagination when it comes to this world is unparalleled. The Fever world is rich and vibrant and deadly, and I find myself delighted with the scope and breadth of your imagination. The bestiary of the Fever world alone is reason enough to read these books, but you populate it with a vast array of characters that are interesting and well fleshed….except for Dani.

I had high expectations for this book, but the more I read, the longer it took for me to complete the novel. Again it all comes back to Dani. She is fourteen in this book, and I had my concerns that you would be able to handle such a dark and frequently sexual world with a teenaged heroine. You promised readers that you would handle it with care, but after reading Iced, I find I am extremely discomfited by the manner in which the men of the series treat Dani. She is fourteen. She looks like a fourteen year old. She acts like an immature twelve year old. Yet through the entire book, Ryodan and Christian fight and bicker over her favor. A third man, Dancer, also shows a romantic interest in Dani.

Dani finds this all gross, as she is fourteen. As a reader, I find this gross because Dani is fourteen. If it was kept to a minimum, perhaps it wouldn’t be quite so disturbing. But I feel as if Dani’s age is repeatedly tossed in to the reader’s mind. What Dani is wearing is mentioned too frequently in certain scenes: how she looks when she is in her bra, when she is wearing Christian’s pajamas, etc. The men act possessive of her and frequently discuss the woman she will become. At one point, Dani innocently mentions how much she vibrates when she is excited, and Ryodan and his men have an immature chuckle over this. I found this creepy and unpleasant. If Dani acted far more mature than her fourteen years, perhaps it would not have struck me as so distressing, but she does not act older than fourteen in the slightest. You have told readers that Dani will ‘age up’ through the series. My impression: the sooner the better.

Another part of the problem is that Dani does act so young. She is not responsible. She is brash and impulsive as any fourteen year old is, and she mentions that she has hormonal issues due to her age. But the constant ‘feck’ and superhero references grow tiresome, and I had a hard time connecting with her. I felt more empathy for Christian than I did for the heroine in whose head we spend the majority of the novel. In the Fever series, I genuinely liked Mac and wanted her to do well. In Iced, I kept wishing for someone to shake some sense into Dani. The men of the book (see my problem as noted above) talked about how smart and bright Dani was and that she had a ‘mind like a diamond’. I found that hard to believe given her childish outbursts and constant immature behavior.

This book was also extremely slow in the beginning. I believe that part of the problem was the choice of heroines: Mac versus Dani. In Fever, Mac is driven by a personal quest to find her sister’s murderer. Dani is driven by outside plot events; she must help Ryoden because she is his employee. She has no personal stakes in the first half of the story, and it makes it hard to care for her and to keep turning the pages.

Ultimately, despite the negatives, the book was readable. Your prose is always compelling and the story intricate and layered. I found myself genuinely curious how the story would turn out, and the second half of the book speeds along at a rapid pace. There is the typical Moning cliffhanger, but this one was not painful and felt more tacked-on than brutal. I do enjoy your imagination and your books, and I am still on board this series, though perhaps I will wait for a paperback release instead.

A C feels like a harsh grade for one of your books, yet when I consider rating Iced a B-, it feels too generous.

All Best,
January

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20 Comments

  1. Anachronist
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 09:40:30

    In ‘Fever’ series I liked Mac but I never was fond of Dani so I suppose Iced is not for me. Thanks for a great, in-depth review!

  2. Krissy
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 09:41:53

    I finished this book last night. Finally! I bought the book the day it came out. I couldn’t quite express why it took so long for me to finish this book, when I finished all of Mac’s books in like a day, but you nicely summarized many of the issues I had with Iced. I think the books would have been better served if Dani had been about 4-6 years older. and with they way this book ended, I’m assuming Dani will still only be 14 in the next book, and that makes me hesitant to purchase the next book in the series.

  3. Lauren
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 09:45:18

    I love the fever series. Love. It. I will keep buying the books, even though I don’t really like Dani as a character, and I think that Ryoden will be a hard act to follow after Barrons.

  4. Lauren
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 09:48:11

    Krissy, I think that KMM has posted somewhere that Dani will be aging through the series, but only at about a year per book. I’m not too sure how she plans on doing that with the way that she ended ICED.

    Supposedly nothing sexual will take place until she is at least seventeen. That seems pretty young to me. I too would have liked the character to be at least in her early twenties.

  5. Jae_Lee
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 09:52:04

    I felt pretty similarly about this book. I didn’t think Dani was a strong enough character to carry the whole book and the constant possessiveness/lust on the part of all the dudes was pretty squicky (although in Dancer’s defense, he is only 17 or so, so a crush is not nearly as guh-ross as it was with Christian and Ryodan). I have some thoughts about Ryodan’s motivations that I’m curious to see addressed in the coming novels.

    I will be reading the next novels as they are released because I’d like to see how Dani grows, despite how seriously she annoyed me in this book. Actually, that’s kind of how I feel about the Fever series in general; I enjoyed the books despite hating on the main character. But Barrons helped a lot.

  6. Readsalot81
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 10:38:10

    I DNF’d this one. I absolutely hated it. *shrug* The grown men circling Dani like a dogs around a juicy bone got to me.. and I didn’t think much of Ryodan. To be fair, I know he wasn’t written to be anything like Barrons (well, except for the immortal part).. but imo, he didn’t really stand out either.

    I did really enjoy the previous Fever series, so I did have rather high expectations and I don’t know if that’s what made the book fall short for me. And to be honest, Dani’s “voice” grated on me to high heaven. She was just annoying from page 1 to where I stopped (somewhere about halfway I think).

    I’m not picking up the books that follow.. her voice isn’t strong enough and the goings on with Dani and the men just creeped me out.

  7. Juliana
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 10:56:07

    I loved the Fever books and inhaled them over a few weeks last summer. I bought Iced when it came out and I just couldnt’ get into it. At the time I thought it might have been UF and PNR fatigue, but after reading this well put together review I think it’s more that Dani (who I wasn’t overly fond of in the Fever series) just didn’t appeal to me.

    Because the ebook price was expensive I’ll try this again in a while, but I”m in no hurry to get it done, and as the mother of a nearly 14 year old teen girl, I’m thinking I need to wait a good long while.

  8. Kate Pearce
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 13:29:53

    The age thing didn’t bother me that much as I didn’t consider I was reading a romance novel and so for me, the focus of the story and the plot didn’t revolve around her age and readiness for sex. I was quite surprised when I saw all the reviews mentioning it. (and I have a daughter so I am aware of the issues) Dani is an annoying and complex character. I have to admit she grew on me as I read the book.
    A little thing that bothered me was that Dani sounded so American. She’s supposed to be Irish and yet her vocabulary is American and her memories of childhood included American references and T.V. shows that she wouldn’t have known growing up there. Actually all the characters came off as American.

  9. HellyBelly
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 15:04:06

    Thanks for a great review that put into words exactly what I felt about this book. I am a rabid Fever-fan, but when I (finally) finished reading Iced, I could only summarize it thus: “Feck – Snickers – Creepy Pedo-Dudes”.
    Personally, I thing The Hag was the best character.

  10. Mary
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 16:59:17

    I liked this book…I actually thought the creepiness was meant to be showing Christians turning into the Unseelie prince, as his creepiness increases throughout the novel as he turns more and more unseelie. Also, we are never (I think, it’s been a month and I’ve read so much since) in Ryodan’s head so I thought much of his possessiveness could have been either nonsexual or completely in Christians head (well, not completely, but the creepy aspect of it). Dancer is also supposed to be about 16. I’m 20 and I remember both having crushes on 16 yr olds at 14 and of friends dating 14 yr olds at 16, although it is a little weird (think high school freshman + senior).
    I also love this world, and was thrilled to return to it in any form. I’m also excited for the next book since we finally get Mac and Dani to have a much-needed talk!!!

  11. Shelley
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 17:05:23

    Well then! That decided me and I won’t be reading it. I really wondered about the age thing when I first heard this was coming out (mostly cuz I am quite a bit older than the character and worried about if I could connect to her) but didn’t worry too much because I liked the rest of the Fever books so much and really had no problem connecting to early 20’s Mac. I became even more concerned when I went to KMM’s website and read that she would only age through 17. THEN…you describe the behavior of the very much older men when they are around her and that has pretty much nixed it for me, unfortunately. I’m very disappointed, to say the least.

    @Kate Pearce: I’m not sure how we’re not supposed to think of Dani in a sexual way when many opportunities are taken to mention her in ways guaranteed to do exactly that. Descriptions of a 14 year old in her underwear? Why, if not to point out the presence of or lack of sexual maturity? I have a now grown daughter and if 3 grown men were circling like horny, territorial dogs and making inappropriate comments in this way when she was 14, I would have castrated them.

    It seems, if I remember correctly, that she seems so Americanized because she was such an admirer of American based pop culture? That sounds kinda right but maybe not completely? It’s been a while since I read these so may be way off the mark. :O)

  12. Shelley
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 17:09:44

    @Mary: really?

  13. Kaetrin
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 18:05:48

    I’m listening to the audiobook and I know what you mean. Small doses at a time for me! Hearing how irritating Dani can be is harder I think :)

    I’m thinking however that this will change over the series – Mac was “pink Mac” at the beginning, a bit of a Mary Sue and annoying but became “black Mac” over the course of the series (or, at least, that’s how it was explained to me). Before I listened to the Fever series, I was told to persevere with Dark Fever because Mac was irritating in book 1 but “it gets better”. I’m thinking the Iced series may be the same. Fingers crossed.

  14. cbackson
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 21:30:26

    Hm. Let me put in a big break for spoilers here.

    For all of its myriad flaws, I thought the Fever series reached for (and achieved) something fairly amazing. It’s actually epic in the true sense of the word and it goes to heights and depths of weirdness that very, very few commercial series would try for. The question of who, precisely, is the Unseelie King. The strange cold world of the White Mansion. Barrons, his deaths, and his son. When I finished the series, I have to say that I sort of took a deep breath and though, My hat’s off to you, KMM, for having the guts to go some place very, very bizarre with this.

    There are vanishingly few epics with female heroes, and fewer still that rely on a classic journey-of-the-hero structure to the extent that Fever does. I’ve never thought of Fever as romance – the relationship with Barrons is important, but peripheral. Ilona Andrews’ Magic series is one of the only other examples I can think of, although the romantic storyline is more significant there and the shape of the epic has taken longer to emerge (although I’m expecting that to go some place probably even more awesomely bizarre once the long-foreshadowed clash with Roland finally begins).

    Frankly, I found Dani to be one of the few false notes in Fever – the way she was written rang a bit off to me – and I tend to dislike YA books, as I’m generally uninterested in child or teen narrators. But I almost want to give this a chance because I’m so appreciative of the fact that Moning went full balls to the wall with Fever.

  15. Sherri
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 22:17:07

    I debated long & hard before picking this book up. I loved the Fever series and didn’t want it ruined. Ultimately I decided to read it and enjoyed it. There are a few things that bothered me though. Age was one but I think it was more Dani’s immaturity that irritated me. Another was the shifting points of view all from first person perspective. If Dani is in the driver’s seat of this series then any other POV should be third person, not first. It was disconcerting at times as it wasn’t always clear whose head I’d just jumped into (I read the ebook).

    The last thing touches on what @Kate Pearce mentions above. Every time Dani mentioned temperature it was in fahrenheit… correct me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t she be thinking in celsius? It’s a small thing but pulled me out of the story each time it popped up.

  16. Krista
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 22:42:32

    I think the important thing to remember is that this is a journey for Dani. She is going to grow and mature throughout the three books.

    Some of the things that happened in the book toed the line of being icky, but didn’t cross the line in my opinion. And yes, if you list them out, they sound way worse than they actually were because they are taken out of context. I think KMM asked a good point during her Facebook chat: how old were you when you first noticed older boys checking you out? I gotta say for me it was a ages 13-14. As a now 28 year old, I think that’s icky, but it makes Dani’s story very realistic when you think about it.

  17. Mary
    Dec 12, 2012 @ 19:00:20

    I just wanted to add this and clarify: if at the end of this series, Dani ends up with either Christian or Ryodan, I will feel squicked out and not happy with KMM. The Barrons + Mac thing was a stretch for me in the beginning, as are almost all paranormals with 20ish heriones and century old men, but I thought Mac and Barrons worked.
    However, Dani and Ryodan would not work for me, since he will have been her sort of mentor since she was 14, so ick. I’m hoping they fall into a sort of teacher/student relationship, and he is possessive of her in that way, or if he is in love with her, that they do not end up together.
    Same goes for Christian–I want him to get redeemed or to go total villain, but not be Dani’s love interest.
    I am okay with Dancer though, or a future character being a love interest for Dani. 17 year olds (the age KMM has said Dani will be when she has sex, if she does) do have sex all the time, and in a post-apocalyptic world, it makes sense that society’s standards get bent a little.
    I’m also totally okay with Dani never having a love interest.
    I just wanted to make sure my earlier comment didn’t come off as being for the squicky idea of a 14 year old being sexually objectified by the men in the book. She’s not okay with it, and I’m not either. I don’t think we’re supposed to “ship” Dani with anyone yet. And it is squicky…I’m just saying maybe it’s supposed to be that way.

  18. rebyj
    Dec 13, 2012 @ 09:21:24

    2 questions: Does this book end in the annoying cliffhangers that the Fever series did? Is this a YA novel? I have absolutely no interest in reading an entire novel about a 14 year old. I LOVE KMM’s early novels. I LIKED the Fever series once they were all 3 out and I sat down to read them all at once because I thoroughly dislike cliffhangers and after the first book I said forget it till they were all out.

  19. Snowe
    May 29, 2013 @ 13:06:58

    I fell in love with the Fever series (and Barrons) and couldn’t get enough of it. I had hoped that there was a plan to add to the series due to the “the end… for now.” at the end of the fifth book. Let’s be honest, there is so much more that can be written from how things ended.

    Getting bored with the fruitless wait, I looked at the other books KMM has written and realized that there was a branch-off series from Dani’s PoV. Immediately, I was intimidated by it. I was afraid that if I read it; it would potentially ruin the Fever series for me. The mindset of: “What was I thinking making Fever one of my favourite series? How did it not annoy me out of my mind with this kid running around?” would make me feel like I betrayed Barrons and Mac.

    Dani was a character I immensely despised since day one. I’m not too fond of egotistic ignorant children nor am I of underdeveloped characters. Undeveloped characters feel like fillers, so a book based off one seemed like an extreme filler. Ryodan and Christian deserve much better than a child anyways from they’ve gone through. What I mean is that century old men do not simply settle down with a kid; nor do dark Fae princes in the making that almost bedded Mac. From the reviews I’ve seen, it gives me the whole Jacob-imprints-on-the-vampire-baby love triangle feel. Not okay.

    So perhaps, out of curiosity, I may peek at a chapter or two, but I can say that this ended Fever on quite the bitter note.

  20. MKP
    Sep 01, 2013 @ 05:25:08

    To all who have concerns should look at this link:

    http://karenmariemoning.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/burned-release-date-mac-barrons-and.html

    KMM has stated what will happen in future books, and why she wrote Dani the way she did. She has also explained the so called ‘sexual’ scenes in the book. Anyone who has doubts should look at this post. It certianly cleared up things for me! :)

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