** To save time, I’ll be providing links to previous events, artifacts and characters. If you’re afraid of spoilers from previous books then I recommend NOT clicking them
WHY CAN’T I QUIT THIS SERIES???
I mean honestly? Why can’t I just walk away? Never pick up another one of these books? Why do I keep coming back when I know I’m just tormenting myself? Especially after the last book.
Oh right. The world building. I’m stuck here because of the world building. Damn it.
Burned is the seventh book in the Fever Series and let me tell you, the author has changed it up A LOT from Iced. Iced was supposed to be the first book in the Dani trilogy, but after something (I’m going to assume it was backlash due to the book’s SERIOUS pedophilia) Moning took a few years hiatus to go somewhere and re-tool her plot. So instead of following Dani we’re back with our good friend Mac!
Mac is currently trying to return to a normal life in post apocalyptic Dublin. But unbeknowest to most the UnSeelie King has placed a copy of the Sinsar Dubh in Mac’s brain. So our heroine needs to be really careful not to lose control because then the Sinsar Dubh will take control and she’ll go on a mass killing spree. On top of all that Mac’s trying to find Dani (the protag from the previous book) because the two of them have some serious issues to work out (Dani kind of killed Mac’s older sister). So, lots is happening.
The majority of this book is the character’s trying to gain control over Dublin, find Dani and rescue Christian.
So before I get into my problems with this book, I’ll talk about the things I DID like:
The World Building
My God this world. I love this world. I love everything about it. I love the setting, I love Moning’s faeries. I love how society reacts to the fey. I just love it. If there is a book that takes place in this world I will read it (you see why this keeps happening??). The Fever World isn’t afraid to take risks with it’s fey creatures. Though sex is REALLY important when it comes to everything, not all of her fey are beautiful David Bowie knock-offs. Some of them are downright terrifying or disgusting. These creatures are NOT human in any way. I appreciated that. It’s not very often where you come across monsters who are allowed to be monsters.
I really love the concept of the Nine. I want to know more about them, how they became the way they are, was it a ritual or were they born like this? What exactly are they? I have so many questions. Burned gave the reader a peek into their world, letting us spend time with other members of the Nine, which was pretty cool. I love it when characters get fleshed out. I read somewhere (either in the extensive character bios at the back of Burned or on the wiki) that one of the Nine is a woman. If that’s the case. CAN WE MEET HER PLEASE? PLEASE?
Lor is a bonehead, a cave man. He has some pretty entertaining world views when it comes to sex and women (Lor loooooooves the ladies). But you can’t help but like him. He steals the show.
So now that all that is out of the way…
Burned and the entire Fever Series is seriously problematic for me.
Over the last few years there has been an obsession with defining what makes a “strong female character”. There have been various arguments. Not all women need to be strong, A strong woman doesn’t need a man, A strong woman needs to be this, this and this.
There are some really awesome articles out there and I’ll link them down below.
For me, I don’t really like the term strong female character and I find myself agreeing with Sophia McDougall:
The Strong Female Character has something to prove. She’s on the defensive before she even starts. She’s George from The Famous Five all grown up and still bleating with the same desperate lack of conviction that she’s “Every Bit As Good as a Boy”.
Like McDougall, I want more female characters, I want diversity of personalities and ability.
In the Fever Series, there are A LOT of female characters with different levels of power, control over their lives and different end goals. Which is awesome. But there is one common thing that connects all of them. They need a man to help them complete their goals. That’s just the way of the world.
Moning breaks the mould with her new character Jada, who has her own plans and she doesn’t need no man. Here’s hoping that she manages to stay that way, it’s kind of refreshing. Oh look it’s Ryodan –
So many capable women, just looking to be second to a more capable man. It makes me angry.
When I wrote my review on Iced I couldn’t get over the following:
The novel stresses that 14 year old Dani needs an adult male to look after her to ensure her survival while in the same breath describes how Dani is self-sufficient and needs no one. The story makes it clear that eventually Dani must wake up and smell the flowers and become the second banana to one of the creepy hot guys who want to possess her.
Thankfully the novel has moved away from the creepy Dani storyline and instead tries to explain the men-folk’s interest in her as something other than what it appeared to be in the previous novel.
“I know why I’m obsessed with her. She’s the innocence I’ve lost. As I was going dark, she was getting nothing but brighter.”
So they want to protect her innocence, that’s…. nice?
Sex is really really important in these novels. It’s used for power plays, for control and for recreation. It is the be all end all. Think about in teen fiction, how everything is building up to the first kiss. Characters live and die by who they’re sleeping with. At certain points it felt like Moning thought “well, nothings happening. So lets just throw in a sex scene, yeah. That’ll make them happy”.
When Jo breaks it off with her fuck-buddy Ryodan, Mac tells her that she needs to fuck him out of her system (her words not mine) with two other guys. Seriously great advice.
Mac walks around for over a third of the novel sex starved. Also she’s invisible. I think it’s a metaphor.
I understand it’s a novel and some might feel like I’m over reacting, but then you read how said sex scenes are written and….
And finally there is Mac.
We’ve watched our leading lady go through many changes over the course of this series. There was Mac 1.0, the Rainbow Girl. Clueless, bubbly and in way over her head. Then there was Mac 2.0 a littler rougher around the edges, she wore black and was feeling her way around her new world but still completely dependent on Barrons. Then there was Mac 3.0, after a brief stint of being Pri-ya she’s become hard and battle ready, but still with a glimmer of warmth and compassion in her heart. Mac 4.0 is the Mac found at the conclusion of the original Fever series, she’s as the wiki describes:
This version of Mac begins after she believes she’s killed Barrons. She begins to use the dark power from the lake within her head. Though she herself doesn’t turn ‘dark’, she does make decisions that would be questionable. She becomes even more powerful. She is no longer influenced by Voice and The Amulet‘s power does not work on her.
Now I’d like to propose Mac 5.0 also know as Burned Mac to be added to the list. She’s wandering around with the evil book in her head…. and when Mac should be the most interesting. She falls flat. There could be many reasons for this. Moning had to retcon her entire novel. And Mac is the one who shows this the most. Mac becomes the speaker box for Moning’s apologies, her promises that it’s okay. She’s learned her lesson and that she’s going to give you what you really want and that’s more Mac.
Now understand I didn’t like reading Dani’s perspective. I found her annoying. I prefer Mac. But in Burned Mac feels flat. She whines, she complains and she’s just… there. And so are you, you’re just sitting there waiting with her for something to happen.
SO WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SO FAR
- Dicks are magical. Sex solves everything.
- Sex is the be all end all.
- The best way to get over a breakup is to have sex with multiple others. (there’s no way this will emotionally backfire for some)
- If you’re stuck in your plot, distract your readers with sex.
- Sex sex sex sex sex
Despite the awkwardly written sex scenes, apologetic protagonist and questionable morals I found Burned to be the easiest read of the series. It was entertaining and left me with a cliff hanger that I’m willing to follow up on. That being said, these books are not for everyone. But if you’re willing to turn off your brain, then give them a go. I suggest doing dramatic readings for friends. Ask Chelsey. She sat through many of mine.
Also…. did you know there’s a graphic novel?
If you’ve made it this far into the series you know exactly what to expect. A definite improvement on the previous book, Burned returns to the Fever Series’ major strength: an entertaining beach read. So turn off your brain and get ready for some seriously awkward sexy times.
Hark, A Vagarant – Strong Female Characters – A webcomic. If you’re not reading it. You should be.
Trinity Syndrome – Tasha Robinson – A really interesting essay about female characters in relation to male leads
I Hate Strong Female Characters – Sophia McDougall – Another interesting essay talking about the differences between male and female heroes
Joss Whedon’s Equality Speech – Why do you write strong women Joss Whedon?