Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Iced by Karen Marie Moning


Title: Iced (Dani O'Malley, #1; Fever, #6) 

Author: Karen Marie Moning

Rating: 2 Stars

Iced is a shockingly disappointing installment from Karen Marie Moning. Honestly, I can't believe this is the same author who wrote the first five books of the Fever Series, charming readers with her impeccable plotting and honest narration. While there are a plethora of issues with Iced, many of which have been discussed at length by earlier readers, the crux of my problem with this novel is not Dani or her narration; it's the flimsy plot, the unnecessary glimpses into the minds of characters who offer nothing to the tale, and the cheap tactics by which Moning distinguishes the "good" guys from the "bad" ones.

Although Iced could have easily been set a few years after the end of Shadowfever, mostly to give us a narrator who isn't fourteen-years-old, this novel takes places shortly after the events of the first five Fever books. Dani, now estranged from Mac, is captured and blackmailed brutally by Ryodan who forces her to help him discover how--and why--parts of Dublin are slowly being iced over. If it wasn't bad enough that Dani is being bullied by Ryodan, she has to contend with Christian, whose transformation into an Unseelie Prince seems to be tampering with his sanity, all while trying to enjoy her childhood with the people she actually wants like Dancer, a genius kid who is one of Dani's only true friends.

While Dani's narration can take some time to get used to, I have to admit that I actually like her. Seriously, I have nothing but respect for Dani. She's young, talented, and thrown into a world where she's the smallest fish--not to mention the fact that Mac, who was like an older sister to her, has now abandoned her. Dani may be reckless and naive, but she does the best she can in the circumstances she's thrown in. Moreover, she keeps a clear mind and unlike other characters in the novel (*ahem*, Jo!) she is able to see Ryodan and Christian for what they are. Ryodan, for all the swooning readers do over him, is, plain and simple, a bully. He secures Dani's cooperation by blackmailing her and hiring Jo as a result of that transaction and, for that, Dani detests him. She does her best to maintain her freedom and sense of independence and, in doing so, often violates Ryodan's many rules which allow him to keep an eye on her. Yet, despite the fact that Dani tells everyone who will listen that Ryodan is bad news, out of everyone else in this book, he's possibly the adult that treats her best. Which, honestly, is despicable. Ryodan is likable simply because in comparison to Christian, who is a full-fledged pedophile, he is a saint. Ryodan doesn't sexualize Dani and though he is possessive of her, he never crosses the lines that Christian does.

Speaking of Christian, I feel genuinely sorry to see him have sunk this low. Back in the day, Christian was hot. I mean, we all swooned over this guy. Now? Ick, you can't get me out of Christian's head any faster! Moning includes one too many chapters from Christian's perspective and it's beyond disturbing. Not only is Christian obsessed with Dani, thinking about her constantly and trying to convince her that someday they will be together, but even the actions he completes that have nothing to do with Dani are disturbing. I just feel sad that Moning felt compelled to mold him into a sick, genuinely reviling character. Thus, in comparison to Christian, I can completely see why readers are falling head-over-heels for Ryodan. I'd prefer anyone to Christian. Yet, that doesn't negate the fact that Ryodan isn't exactly Mr. Nice Guy and though I suspect I might grow to like him more as the series progresses--after all, that was the case with Barrons, too--I'm not holding my breath.

Characters aside, Iced is a novel composed of filler pages. Not much happens in such a hefty volume and the fact that Ryodan requires Dani's help is a flimsy excuse for a plot to be built upon. It isn't until the last hundred, or so, pages that the plot finally picks up and Iced ends with a bang. Hopefully, this means that Burned will be far more entertaining and far less cringe-worthy. At any rate, I'm hoping that a healthy dose of Mac and Barrons can reclaim the magic of the Fever Series. While Moning's novels often deal with brutal, horrific themes at least they've had an adult protagonist cope with those situations. Dani, at fourteen, is just too young a character and to expect her to be on par with Mac, physically and particularly emotionally, isn't fair. What's more, I found that Mac's story is an emotionally compelling one: her sister has been murdered and Mac wants revenge. With Iced, the motivations feel cheap and lack depth. Dani's backstory certainly pulls heartstrings but her past has little to do with her present.

I knew, from the mixed reviews--many of them unhappy ones--that Iced wasn't going to be a favorite of mine. I just hoped, foolishly perhaps, that knowing what to expect would make the experience of reading this far more tolerable. I guess...not. Iced is slow, torturous, and not what I would expect after a five fast-paced, action-filled novels with revelations and plot twists around every corner. Needless to say, if Moning plans to keep fans reading this spin-off, Burned will need to be a really good read.

Update: Burned is good! You can read my mini-review of it HERE

12 comments:

  1. Uhg. Yeah. While I rated this book higher than you, I still had a ton of the same issues, especially with the male characters (except Dancer who's awesome. I want more of Dancer in Dani's life. She needs his kindness.). You're so right about it taking a while to get used to Dani's manic style but I did respect her and really felt for her. If you didn't like this book, you're gonna seriously dislike Burned!

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  2. I'm still not sure if I want to continue this series or not. I have seen so many mixed reviews about it that I just can't decide. Maybe I'll just wait until they all come out. I am glad that you like this though, that's encouraging!

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  3. I didn't enjoy this at all, it made me anxious and depressed for so many reasons, but I'm embarassed to say that in the end, I gave up because of the whole mess with Jo. I mean, no matter how she did it and what we thought of it, it was clear that KMM was setting up Ryodan for Dani one day, in which case I have zero tolerance for such scenes and triangles. It's just a dealbreaker for me.
    I'm glad Burned was better for you, but I don't think I'll read it. I'm just done, seeing as I wasn't the biggest fan of the first series either. I mean I liked it, but not as much as everyone else.

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  4. I'm sorry you didn't like Iced, Keertana! I actually loved it, but I was expecting to hate it with the age issue and the fact that Dani annoyed the heck out of me in the previous books. I listened to the audio version so I think that also enhanced my experience. But I do agree, Christian's character progression was downright creepy and such a tragedy. I do think he's being redeemed though, he was much better in Burned. I'm happy you enjoyed Burned more. As you know the age thing was taken care of there too. Great honest review! Not all the books from a much adored author will always work, every time. That's what I think anyhow. :)

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  5. Ok, so lowering expectations on this one. I'm still with Mac and Barrons, listening to the audio. I'm not even keeping up with the names of the books but I think it's Dreamfever. I'm not sure I can handle a pedophile in this series. I can't for the life of me figure out what goes wrong between Mac and Dani but listening to what happened to Mac, my God!!

    Seeing that Burned was so good for you I'm thinking I will continue the series. Thank you for pointing out the major flaws and ick factors in ICED. Being prepared will make a big difference. Can I skip it and just go to BURNED?

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  6. Oh too bad! I haven't gotten up to this book b/c I'm still behind in the Fever series. I'm not looking forward to hating Christian. While I was looking forward to meeting Ryodan now I'm not so sure. Darn!

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  7. Yikes, this body sure has a mid-crisis somewhere, because it's definitely something when after 5 amazing novels, the series would present a mediocre one with a flimsy plot, amony other things. At least Burned made up for it! :D

    Faye at The Social Potato

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  8. Young and naive sounded so much like Mac in the first book of the Fever series, so maybe even if you didn't have a pleasant experience with this book, I might be persuaded to read this.

    Fantastic review, Keertana. I do hope you'll enjoy the second one (should you wish to continue)

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  9. I did read some not really promising reviews of this book when it first came out hence the reason I still haven't picked it up. It's a shame about Christian's character change, as I really liked him in the previous books :( Thank you for your honest review though Keertana. I might wait a while before giving this one a go

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  10. Great review, Keertana. I decided not to read Iced after the stream of not so positive reviews, though I may rethink it since Burned looks much better. I liked Christian so it pains me know what was made with this character in this installment. And I asked myself why the author didn’t set Iced a few years later so Dany is not fourteen years old.

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  11. I actually haven't read any of the Fever books yet, but they're all on my TBR. I'm so disappointed to hear that everything starts going downhill with this book. :( I rage so much when pages upon pages of big books seem so insignificant and when the book would work better without all the useless fillers. So sorry you didn't like this, Keertana. :(

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

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  12. Ah sorry girl that you felt this way about Iced. I totally understand as it really is different from the Fever series. Yeah not everyone will love it. Hopefully you'll enjoy Burned more than. Great review :)

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