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

Iced (Fever, #6; Dani O'Malley, #1) - Karen Marie Moning 2.5-3 stars (maybe)I'm really struggling with this review - with this book...In some ways, it just doesn't come together for me, and in other ways, by the end of the book, it does. Is this a YA book? Yes and no. Is this a book about Dani? Yes and no. Sometimes, this book almost seems divorced from the Fever series, except that it's got some of the same characters. It's a book that makes me uncomfortable, because I'm not quite sure the direction that KMM is taking and where we're going to end up; usually, I'm thrilled at that prospect, because I admire her writing. In this case, I feel more like I'm on a thrill ride, except I don't yet know whether I'll want more or just want to throw up when it's all over.WARNING: The rest of my discussion/review is in spoilers. Do NOT read this part if you don't want to risk knowing something you don't want to know yet!Dani: At first, I admit, that I was annoyed by Dani. Her "Dude" was getting on my nerves. And she's just so... clueless. Then I realized that 1) she really *is* the same Dani, 2) as super-smart as she is, she really *is* clueless about emotions - because of her early life with her mother and then Rowena (emotion feels weak to her), 3) she really *is* 14 years old.The book is somewhat YA because Dani *is* still as innocent as is possible in this world. And because she's never experienced sex, the sex-talk is dimmed, somewhat. It's still going on - all around her - but because she's not personally involved, it's not described in depth. There's violence, too, but again, it's described in a way that wouldn't offend; most YA readers see and know more than is described in this book on TV, movies, and in video games.Her past is uncomfortable, but it's supposed to be. It does shed some light on Dani and why she is who she is. In many ways, she's the anti-Mac: Mac grew up in a loving, sheltered environment; Dani grew up in anything but.Christian: I must confess, I truly don't understand why KMM would make this poor guy into the 4th Unseelie prince. The 4th, you say? Yes, since Cruce is technically still alive, just encased, and there are 2 other Unseelie princes still around, Christian is turning into the 4th, to replace the one that Dani killed with her sword when he tried to get Mac.I really like Christian, or at least I did - the Christian that he was. I have a thing for the MacKeltar clan from the Highlander series. And that's part of my beef: regardless of what he's becoming, that family would *never* simply abandon him in Dublin. They'd be trying everything possible to change him back OR to at least support him and keep him as much human as possible. I just don't buy that Christian has been left behind.As for his fascination/obsession with Dani... that doesn't make sense to me either, and I find it extremely creepy. Yes, Dani's different, so I suppose the argument can be made that Christian thinks she's the only one "fit" for him, since she's better-than-human in many physical ways. But she's a kid, and that fact is something he's losing his grip on reality with. And what's with his talk about "marriage gifts" one minute, then denying to Dani that he said it?Fascination with sex? OK, at least we know that's "expected" of him, as he becomes more and more Unseelie. But sex and Dani? Really? Is this a case of the Fae not caring who/what they have sex with - just fill a need? Because I don't recall hearing horror stories about Unseelie or Seelie going after GIRLS!And a BIG WHAT about the wings??? I thought ONLY CRUCE had wings, since he was the last one created and he was created in his father's image? Why does Christian have wings now? And why is it inferred that all the UnSeelie princes do? That was NOT part of the previous Fever legend...Another BIG WHAT is why, if the Unseelie princes are being replaced, do we hear nothing about the Seelie or Unseelie princesses? If there's supposed to be balance, wouldn't they be being replaced, too? Or weren't there any Unseelie princesses? I don't even remember. But there were Seelie princesses - Cruce killed them all. In the previous Fever books, KMM started a girl-woman-power thing. Now it seems, she's taking it all back; the women are either clueless, blinded by lust, or absent; Dani might be trying to fight, but where are the other "sisters"? This excuse of Christian becoming Unseelie is just... unbalanced and weird; a convenient plot point that's not quite thought thru IMO. Ryodan: It seems as if he's supposed to be the "new Barrons", and Ryo is anything but Barrons. What's with him knowing so much about everyone? Does the man read minds? Watch everyone's life on his video screens? Or just watch everyone? That's creepy in and of itself. And I don't like the creepy vibes he gives off around Dani, either. Saying he knows she's going to be one hell of a woman is one thing; the way he acts so proprietary around her is another. PLUS he's always beating on Dani - is that ever right? If this guy's 'watched' so much of Dani's life, wouldn't he KNOW that chaining her up and caging her isn't the way to go, but only more ABUSE? How is he any different from her mother or Rowena?=====UPDATED: I really didn't want to acknowledge that Ryo thinks he's gonna "hook up" with Dani later... that he was really having those thoughts about her or grooming her for himself in the future; I really didn't want those images in my mind. But apparently, my trying to stuff it down doesn't make it not so. Which means that Ryo is EVEN MORE OF A CREEP! He's creepier than Christian, because at least Christian has some sort of excuse!=====His thing with Jo is just disturbing. Does he feel anything for her or is she just convenient? If he does feel something for her, then what's up with the love-triange (or square) that KMM has going on with Dani - Christian - Ryodan - Dancer? Jo used to be an 'innocent'... and I realize that in times like they're facing, perhaps being alive is more important. And Ryo makes Jo feel alive, if you call that living. I just hate it that she's losing herself in the process - her connection with others outside Dani, Ryo, and the Chester's crowd. We barely got to know her, and she's being cast aside. Another big blow to the Fever girl-power!I don't want Ryo to be a Barrons. He's not. He's not even a Barrons-wannabe. It makes me sick that Barrons trusted RYO to take care of Mac when/if he couldn't - her IYCGM. Ryo might be a badass of sorts, but how/why would Barrons trust Ryo with Mac? What are we to make of Kat not being able to sense him - "there's nothing there" - when she tries to use her empath gift to search him out. No, he's not human, but Kat can sense more than just humans; so why can't Kat sense him? I *hate* what Ryo did to Kat and Shawn. Yes, Shawn made his own choices, but again, in that world, I have a hard time believing Ryo didn't make it easy as hell for Shawn to get sucked up in Chesters. I don't believe for a minute that Shawn left Kat of his own free will; I think that someone told him about Kat and her nightly "visitations" with Cruce. And that someone would be Ryo... but his interest in Kat isn't clear. Does Ryo simply like breaking up couples, because he doesn't believe in love (because he secretly craves it, like all beings) or does Ryo have a thing for Kat, too? (Does this man really think he's such a player? He seems more Fae-like, throwing around fake glamour to get women to do his will, so he can nod at them and throw them on his desk. Are we supposed to hate this guy? 'Cuz I don't see myself changing my opinion about him, no matter what me might do to appear selfless or loving or whatever... At least Barrons, for however cruel, dark, and dangerous he was or seemed - at least Barrons had other moments of not being a complete jerk. OK, it took a few books to see through his crap, but still. There aren't enough books to make me think that Ryo is badass any more; he's just a pervy, creepy, messed up whatever-the-9-are who has an exaggerated god complex now that Barrons seems to be in hiding. Barrons at least had some motivation, regardless of whether you think it was entirely selfish or not, for wanting the Book and Mac's help. Ryo wants Dani's help solely for selfish reasons - his club, himself, and his need to manipulate and control.Barrons & Mac:Speaking of Barrons, I thought *he* was the "man in charge"? That Dublin is HIS city? But Barrons and Mac seem to be hiding during all of this action. Which isn't like either of them. I realize that Dani's sure that Mac wants to murder her, and even more so during the book, after what Dani brings to Ryo and Barrons. But we all know that Mac doesn't want Dani dead; even Mac's mom, Rainey, confirms it in her one and only scene.Barrons & Mac would be in the forefront of the Ice situation, even despite wanting to give Dani space. I just don't buy their being holed up in their love nest together and letting the Ice Monster take Dublin down.Dancer: I love this kid... Yes, there's a lot more to him than meets the eye; I suspect Dancer might not be quite all human, or if he is, he's got some deadly secrets in his past. For awhile, I thought he might be in league with the Ice Monster - some sort of human equivalent of the UnSeelie King -you know, the guy who loves science and experimenting?I'd prefer to see Dani have a future with Dancer above any of the others so far. Dancer's at least mostly normal. He's closer to her age. He's clearly been looking out for Dani (in spite of her blindness to see it) since she left the abbey and Mac behind. Dancer gives Dani space, but he keeps his arms and heart open.I'm almost dreading what happens next to Dancer, because I suspect he's the tear-jerker this time... perhaps Dani has to kill him? (I figured Dani might need to kill Christian, too. But with what he's becoming, I'm not sure I'll care.)Kat, Marge, Cruce, and the abbey storyline: Wow... big sigh on my part. I don't quite know what to do with this part of the story. I know there's much more to come, and this first book simply set it up. But I had to wonder during the endless Kat-Cruce scenes if there was any real point to them. OK, so Kat's vulnerable to Cruce. Who wouldn't be? Especially when he's seducing her in her dreams.It was so frustrating, though, for Kat to not admit to it. The best thing she did was to realize that was what was setting everyone against one another and put an end to it. Cruce won't stop, obviously... and Marge is apparently his best target. Kat needs to do something about Marge, but she's too soft-hearted; and that will be Kat's downfall. Unfortunately, I'm afraid it will be the abbey's downfall, too.Learning about Kat's background, too, was a surprise... but her family and history seem convenient - a way to bring in more tension and possible complications rather than to describe who Kat really is.Generally, though, the sidhe-seers seem to be a waste of space these days...The age range of the sidhe-seers.... until Tanta whoever was mentioned, it seemed that the group was comprised only of all 20-somethings. Untrained in many ways at that! It seems as if there's so much wasted potential at the abbey. What the heck do they do all day? Simply take care of household chores and daily living? What happened to TRAINING? To learning to take advantage of and use their gifts? To fighting? Lots of waste, IMO, at the abbey. The group is only fit for breaks from the other action and to serve up as potential sacrifices and screaming, hysterical women. That's unworthy of KMM. She's too good at strong female characters to allow them to be simply wallpaper. Even Jo and Kat were distractions more than real characters in this book. I expected so much more...=====================All in all, I expected MORE from this book, and perhaps that's not fair. It's the first of at least 3 books that KMM has mentioned. And she definitely set us up with a sort-of cliffhanger at the end.It's tough because it *is* a first book. But because it's ongoing in the Fever series, it feels as if it shouldn't be. The "villain" wasn't really worthy of the book, since he/she/it almost served as background to everything else; not unusual in the Fever series, but... The best new villain is the Crimson Hag!This is definitely a series to keep an eye on. I didn't love it as much as the rest of the Fever series, because of the reasons in the spoilers. But, when I started reading the Fever series, 1) all the books were written, so I didn't have a lag waiting between books, and 2) I didn't exactly like the 1st book my first read. It took me awhile to get into the series, since the urban-fantasy, post-apocryphal genre isn't my usual thing. I don't like gritty and dark and seemingly hopeless. If KMM hadn't constantly reminded us that the series was about HOPE and not despair, I couldn't have continued.So... while I'm not ranking this book nearly as high as her other books, I'm going to reserve some judgement until the next book... whenever that might be. Who knows? Might cause me to go the other way, and remove a star from this book!That's the worst part about anxiously awaiting a new book in a series - it's too easy to read it all at once and then be left hanging again for too long.