Have you ever listened to an audiobook with another? I guess that question is misleading now that I think about it as I’m not referring to two people listening to the same recording in the same location at the same time. I’m talking about two audio listeners making a commitment to listen to the same book within an agreed period of time – allowing discussion at any time during your listen with your audio buddy. And, of course, when you’re done there’s all that talking about the plot intricacies and the hidden meanings and the future possibilities.
In 2010, Brenda and I decided to jointly listen to Karen Marie Moning’s (KMM) Fever series. It was a delightful experience and it took place during the months leading up the release of Shadowfever, the final entry to the series. Talk about excitement among KMM fans! There was no guessing the ending which only made talking with Brenda about all the possible scenarios all that much better.
The Fever series follows heroine MacKayla Lane on a journey to Ireland in search of the person who murdered her sister. Once there, Mac discovers an unknown facet in herself that she and her sister shared – a quality that turns Ireland into a bizarre place filled with Fae that few can see. Jericho Barrons is the man with the answers and now he and Ms Lane are both after the powerful Dark Book known as the Sinsar Dubh. Mac is looking for it as her sister’s last request while Barrons wants the unimaginable power it offers. And he needs that for…? You’ll have to take the ride from here.
Here’s just a taste of all the fun we had with our joint listen of the Fever series!
Lea: Deciding to listen to Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series was not a simple process for me. I wasn’t a big fantasy fan and I knew the series didn’t feature a typical romance hero and heroine. In fact, one didn’t even know who would join MacKayla in that ultimate HEA or if there would even be one. But encouraging me to give it a try was my audio friend, Brenda, who made it impossible to resist with her assistance in understanding the world building and tempting me with an overview of the characters. While waiting for the release of Shadowfever, Brenda and I listened to each of the first four in the series jointly, giving me the opportunity to ask questions. We discussed the possibilities of what-in-the-heck was going on as KMM penned one very fascinating and intricately detailed story. And then the day arrived for the release of Shadowfever and our two gal joint listen turned into a party as we joined others at Speaking of Audiobooks in a group listen of Shadowfever – see, there really was a celebration going on! :)
Brenda, any time I read even a single word about the Fever series, I immediately think of you and recall our joint listen of the entire series. It really was an adventure! Fortunately you had already listened to the first four in the series and understood my tastes in listening material well enough that you knew it would work for me. In the end, the entire series ranked a solid A for me but I wonder if it would have been such a hit for me if I hadn’t had you by my side talking about the endless possibilities and if I hadn’t listened (but merely read) to Joyce Bean’s excellent narration of the first three and Natalie Ross/Phil Gigante’s dynamic performance of the last two.
Brenda: I know I lured you into this listen over time through various discussions at Speaking of Audiobooks but having been sucked into this series myself by getting the first entry, Darkfever, free on my new Kindle in the summer of 2009, I had high hopes it would catch you as it did me. While I’m always excited to think someone will gain the same feeling of euphoria a great listening experience brings to me, it also leaves me feeling responsible once someone takes the bait. But I felt I had an ace in my pocket with my persistence reasoning that my reading of Darkever occurred after you convinced me to listen to Kiss of the Highlander (KOTH) after I had DNF’d the first in that Moning series (Highlander). Skipping the first 3 in that series and going straight to the 4th book (KOTH) – unheard of for me – worked out perfectly and I figured I was dangling the same author in front of you even though the setting was way out of your comfort zone.
Coaching you through any confusing sections contained the added bonus of having someone to pour out theories and guesses to while discussing all that happened in each book. That made the relisten a much better experience than my first thrilling but lonely adventure in Ireland so I’m guessing the buddy listen improved your overall impression as well. In fact I discovered Goodreads because of that first solo series listen. I needed to know more, discuss more, read more of what might happen in the end while I waited 16 months for the release of Shadowfever. The waiting was sheer torture but listening again with you in the four months leading up to Shadowfever’s finale, reignited my enthusiasm and gave me back the feeling of a firsthand experience.
Plus the fun we had planning an imaginary road trip to Louisiana for the launch of Shadowfever in New Orleans. We even had an invite at the time to stay with MaryK as she lived just an hour’s drive away from N.O. The whole experience was a kick.
Lea: Yes! Our imaginary road trip. At one time my husband had even slightly suggested that we travel to New Orleans during that time (not that he would have ever considered going to the launch…) and I recall our laughs (and horror) over the thought of our husbands even getting near all of those KMM fans! I had just interviewed Phil Gigante for Speaking of Audiobooks, and let me tell you, the enthusiasm was high for audio fans as well. What’s Phil’s group called over at KMM’s site? Moning Maniacs?
Brenda: KMM’s fans are the Moning Maniacs while Phil Gigante’s fan group, based on his narrating of KMM’s books, is Phil Gigante’s Eargasmic Harem! In double checking my memory on that I came across the ringtones taken from his narrations of the Highlander series – funny stuff.
Lea: Prior to our listen of the Fever series, we jointly listened to KMM’s Highlander series – a favorite for us both with Phil Gigante’s fantastic narration. You knew the two series were linked in some manner. Did you think it significant enough to recommend the same to others?
Brenda: The short answer is no. The long answer – once we decided on our Fever joint listen, we had several months to go before Shadowfever’s release so I suggested that we start with the Highlander series to stretch out our listening and to see if we could find any hidden clues that would help us in understanding the Fever series better. The goal of any extra understanding didn’t happen but the enjoyment and shared laughs, as well as being up to date when the characters were briefly referred to or made cameo appearances, was nice but it’s not needed. The Fever series stands on it’s own.
Lea: I agree that one needn’t listen to the Highlander series before listening to the Fever series but we had a good time speculating about the possibilities (you knew a lot more than I did) and of course, I agree – most of the Highlander books are a hoot. And when I did encounter those Highlander characters in the Fever series, there was a sense of “So this is what they were about in the those Highlander books.”
Now for the characters. Jericho Barrons was one of the most fascinating heroes or should I say antiheroes (don’t want to provide any spoilers here) of my experience and that wasn’t entirely due to Phil Gigante’s performance as I carried that opinion of him throughout Joyce Bean’s narration of the first three in the series. However, Phil’s Jericho performance in the last two books was like icing on the cake. His sexiness factor was a 10+ on a scale of 1-10.
Brenda: I will freely admit that I have never been as captivated by a hero (or as you say antihero) as I was by Barrons from the minute he appeared on page. I still don’t know how to explain the lasting feeling of enchantment a mere character from a book brought out in me. I’d feel strange about the Barrons’ obsession/possession if not for your backup (LOL) and reading that he induced the same feelings in so many others over at Goodreads!
I was a fan of Mac’s from the beginning though she was young and immature at times but at 23, who of us isn’t? I was surprised to find when I came up for air after listening to the first four books, that so many said they didn’t care for “Pink Mac” and had barely made it past her character in the beginning. Of course, those that did were happy they’d stuck it out in the end and I’d say you fall into that category Lea.
Lea: You’re right – MacKayla was a bit of a challenge for me as she had attitude in spades and more than a little immaturity in the beginning. Of course, as you say, she was only 23 and her lack of maturity soon became a non-issue for me. And KMM once again showed her stuff by making me truly interested in MacKayla’s character and understanding her as well, even though (as you know), I’m not a fan of kickass heroines. Both Joyce Bean and Natalie Ross added definition to her character that I’m sure I would have missed in print.
Brenda: Again I agree. Both Joyce Bean and Natalie Ross did an excellent job of portraying Mac’s growth over each book until she truly was Black Mac.
Lea: I don’t want to mislead our romance listeners however by making anyone think this is pure romance as I don’t think it is. How would you categorize it?
Brenda: The majority of the time I’m not a fan of slowly developing romances but there was so much else here – so many twists and turns and wall banging moments. Remember that cliffhanger at the end of book 3 Faefever? I think I would have broken something (like my Kindle!) at the end of that one if the fourth, Dreamfever, hadn’t already been available when I discovered this series. To say I was too enthralled to notice the backseat the romance took in this series, would be an understatement. Plus there was always heat – it simply radiates from Barrons keeping you toasty and wanting more.
Upon the release of Shadowfever, fans didn’t know if there would be an HEA for Mac or if there was, (as I said earlier) who would be the hero. There was so much debate over that issue. Many fans of the series are not romance readers and they were pushing the case for no romantic ending. But I’m about to provide just a little bit of a spoiler here so readers may want to close their eyes…
Shadowfever does in fact have a romantic ending – I’m just not going to tell you if it is Barrons or the death by sex fae V’Lane. There were camps for both sides.
Personally, I’ve never seen so much enthusiasm for a series that I was following. KMM knows how to generate it and she did a fine job of making us all excited to just know what happened next! But despite all the enthusiasm generated at that time, the Fever series is one that entertains you to the max right now. I encourage others to do as I did – give yourself over to it. And if listeners need help in understanding any portion of the writing, all they need to do is ask us. Brenda, haven’t you posted here at AudioGals those helpful notes and Glossaries you provided to me back in 2010?
Brenda: I wrote plenty of notes and some of our theories were hilariously wrong looking back but what I put together specifically for audiobook listeners are the Glossaries from Mac’s Journal found at the end of the first four Fever books as they were not included in the audio version. These Glossaries help bring each book together as you see Mac’s definitions of what she’s seeing and her thinking as she tries to make sense of what is going on around her. This, in turn, helps us put together more of what we’ve just heard or will shortly hear. I call them Cheat Sheets and each is labeled by the time they should be read – before or after a particular book. You’ll find no spoilers if you read at the time indicated by those labels. You can find them under our Reviews dropdown menu – Cheat Sheets.
Lea: I had forgotten just how detailed those Cheat Sheets are! Any other final words?
Brenda: Now I’m ready for Iced at the end of this month and considering this blurb from a KMM interview…
“My next series is about Dani–keep the faith and see what I have in store for you all with RyO, Christian and Dancer. You’ll also be getting more Mac and Barrons and discover some pretty scary things happening in Dublin! A lot of the smaller details I didn’t flesh out in SF may come out in this series.”
I say “Let’s go – it’s time for this next trip to Ireland to begin.”
Lea: I’ll be joining you! Hmmm, wonder if I should listen to Shadowfever first…maybe Dreamfever before that…or maybe the entire series!
Note – for those wanting links directly to Brenda’s Cheat Sheets:
Thanks for joining us! Brenda and I will return with another joint listen. Now to decide what it will be!
Book Content: A
Steam Factor: Glad I had my ear buds in
Violence: Escalated Fighting
Genre: Urban Fantasy