Dec 4, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 19 Comments

Review: Iced by Karen Marie Moning (Dani O’Malley #1)

Urban Fantasy
October 30 2013
495 pages
Delacorte Press

Kick Ass Chick – Dani O’Malley

From Goodreads –
The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.


I almost feel like hiding while writing this review because I know I am in the minority and didn’t rate this book as high as most.  I just want to say right off the bat that I didn’t hate this book – I actually really liked it.  There were just a few things that were too difficult for me to get past – things I am going to sort of vent about in this review.  I know I’m not one to vent in my reviews but for some reason, while writing this one, that is how it all spewed out of my brain.

And a warning, you think my reviews are always long?  Well, this one is looooong!

Iced is the sixth book in Karen Marie Moning’s (KMM) Fever series but it’s the first in a new trilogy that fits within the Fever world.  What that means is that you really should read the first five Fever books before reading this one as this is not a stand-alone.  If you were to just jump into Iced, you would get an entertaining read but you really wouldn’t get as much out of it as if you’d read the first books.  In fact, you would not get as worked up about it because you would have the same connection to the characters and you wouldn’t feel so drawn into the world.  Besides, these Fever books are among my mostest favorite books ever so just because of that, you should read them 😉

I, as many well know, was concerned at first that this book was going to be told from Dani’s point of view.  Dani is 14 years old and talks like a 14 year old.  In the first Fever books, it was sort of cute to see her alongside Mac.  She added some spunk and spark to the scenes she was in.  But a whole book?  I really didn’t know about that.  I did think that at times Dani was a little high on herself and that did drive me a bit bonkers but overall she was a good lead.  I understand that her attitude is a coping mechanism but still…  I wanted to shake her a bit and tell her to please get over herself just a little bit sometimes.  I think the main reason I felt that way was because the higher they feel, the harder they fall – especially in this series – and I’m concerned at how bad her fall will be.  I do love how much Dani values life and how lucky she feels she is but, thanks to her ‘holier than thou’ attitude, you know she’ll get a wake-up call one day and it won’t be pretty. In fact I’m pretty sure it’s going to break my heart watching such a bright young soul who has endured so much, break.

Karen writes dark books set in a dark world.  And this book is da-ark.  No real rays of sunshine here folks.  And if Iced was any indication this is going to be the darkest bunch of books yet.  In fact, there was hardly any humor at all!  In the first books, there were funny moments here and there to break up the bleak.  Also, there was always an underlying feeling of hope.  Hope that all things would work out eventually.  Hope that not all is terrible and that not everyone is evil.  But not this time.  The book was genius mind you, but a tad too heavy most times.

Karen’s world continues to be one of the best worlds out there.  It’s so rich and detailed, you feel as though you are there…and I think that didn’t help me with the whole ‘too dark’ thing.  I can’t watch horror films because I get nightmares.  My imagination is wild.  For some reason, my imagination is selective while reading so the gore is okay, but not with this book.  People, this book gave me nightmares.  So you see: a truly visual and incredible world.

The pace of the book was good too, but really, what else did I expect from KMM.  The main mystery in this book is really well done.  Buildings, people…pretty much anything and everything with no rhyme or reason are getting iced.  (Covered in ice that eventually explodes)  Death is instant when this ice hits.  But what is causing it?  And why is it targeting where it’s targeting?  Interesting and gripping, I enjoyed that part of the book.  And the end, how it’s all dealt with, great scene!

Let’s talk characters of the male gender…because there’s always a ton to say about the men in a KMM Fever book.  😉  Christian.  Well, the poor soul, he’s just going bat-shit crazy.  We watch him as he’s turning into a Dark Fae Prince and boy, is he creepy at times!  I actually loved watching the process and how he went from sort-of the Christian we knew from the first books to what he is becoming now.  He’s a bit obsessed with Dani when he is his ‘fae self’.  That part was a bit eeky but understandable because of what he is becoming.  I enjoyed his change in this book.  Well, enjoyed is probably not the right word seeing how it’s borderline gross and icky, but I believe you understand what I’m trying to say.  I found his transformation to be very well written and I’m extra curious to see what happens to his character in the next books.

Dancer.  OMG I love him!  Yes, I am aware that not everyone, or anyone for that matter, in a KMM Fever book is as they seem, but I still love him.  He’s good to Dani.  Cares for her.  Wants to help her…for real.  (not like some others who are only just using her).  He’s 17 and a science wiz and as I said, I loved him.  I am sure that my love will be put to the test in future installments but for now, I love him.

Ryodan, as of this moment, can go rot somewhere.  At first, I found him oddly appealing.  I really liked how he was being written as the ‘Barrons’ of this trilogy.  But where with Barrons, the question was always ‘what the hell is he?’, with Ryodan the question is ‘what does he really want with Dani?’  Why her?  Why is he so possessive?  Is it really to wait for her to grow up and have her as his mate or whatever it is they call the females in their lives?  The question of it all remained for me an interesting twist in the book but Ryodan and his actions went from intriguing to just horrible.  And here comes the rant…

There is one scene in particular that left me with a bad taste in my mouth.  Dani goes to faery with Christian and, even though she’s only gone a few hours, she is actually gone from Earth over a month because time travels differently over where she was.  When she returns, she finds out that Ryodan has been looking for her and is not impressed that she a) just vanished and didn’t bend to his every wish as he wants and b) went with Christian.  How does he show his frustration?  He shoves her into a wall and a concrete post, causing Dani to get a black eye and other injuries.  Not once is he remorseful and not once does he think this isn’t an appropriate thing to do to A 14 YEAR OLD!  Basically, he beats her into submission!  She’s fourteen fecking years old!  And Dani is like us and has no idea why he wants her to be his little slave!  She was off with Christian trying to solve the mystery Ryodan ‘hired’ her to solve and he beats her!

I know it’s not the first time we see someone get beaten up for petty reasons in this series but there is a difference between a twenty-something year old getting smacked around and a fourteen year old!  And, as my friend Jessica pointed out in her review, when Mac got bullied by Barrons, at least we knew he cared for her and he wanted what was best for her…ultimately.  With Ryodan and Dani, I don’t get that feeling at all.  As much as I love how the mystery of ‘why is Ryodan so hooked on Dani’ is written, I am not a fan of his treatment of her.  She needs his help; she’s told no.  She’s left for dead; he hears and sends someone to see if they can find her…laying on the ground dying!  I mean…really?!  I sort of like his surliness but I am NOT a fan of him as a whole.  Maybe give her more than ‘obey me or die’ and she could actually live up to his expectations.  He is being ridiculous and I am hoping to find out WHY in the next book or I think I may have trouble reading past that.  For me, there is no redeeming quality to him.

Karen has sort of but not really hinted that Ryodan will be Dani’s HEA.  Well, hinted as she would meaning she throws a bunch of questions out there making us think we know what she’s talking about but really we don’t…or do we?  She is very good at that.  I will have a big problem with that if that is ultimately her plan.  You don’t beat a child.  Ever.  I don’t care how many times a man tries to redeem himself – that is not redeemable to me.  Will it make an interesting read?  For sure.  Karen is a genius author after all.  But will I feel wrong with that outcome?  Yes.

And Jo?!  What the hell is that all about?  She’s his leverage to get Dani to cooperate.  He threatens Dani with Jo’s life over and over…then ends up f*cking her!  And that’s what it is.  Bent over his desk from behind every day.  I don’t see why that is even a part of the story!  Is it because Dani is only 14 so she can’t have sex but there needs to be sex in this book because Fever books are sexy and spicy so Jo wins the sex card?  It just all felt forced to me.

Kat’s POV…I found I didn’t care about it.  🙁  I’m sure it’s playing an important part that we just don’t quite see yet but as of now, I found it was more of a “her scenes are just getting in the way of the story I care about” feeling when I came across her scenes.

I am aware that this is the first book in this particular trilogy of this series so I will probably read the next book and eat my words.  But at the end of this book, this is how I feel.

I think KMM is a genius.  Her world is like no other and the fluidity of her writing…well it’s flawless.  It brings out feelings in me that I don’t think other authors writing the same sort of thing would be able to drag out.  She is truly talented.  It’s just that there were issues for me in this book that I had trouble getting past.  Though I am looking forward to reading the next book, Burned, which hopefully will release sometime in 2013, to see how KMM deals with everything that was thrown at us in Iced.   Because I would not be surprised if, at the end of book two/seven, I feel as though I should hang a sign around my neck stating that “man, I was wrong wrong wrong…”

3.5 stars

Books in the Fever series –
Burned (tba)
Flayed (tba)

  1. Wow, I didn’t expect you to hate on this book so much miss Fever fanatic although, I can understand your beefs… For me, I found Dani’s age was easier to swallow if you thought in KMM terms instead of modern day life. Yes she’s only 14 and yes she experiences a lot of things that no girl her age should but, she lives in a vastly different world from ours. Or maybe I’m just less sensitive on the subject because I’m not a mother. *shrugs* Just don’t get mad at me for laughing when you do eventually eat your words when the later books come out because you know it’s gonna happen. :p

  2. Carmel – Yeah…I’m probably more sensitive about kids than most being a mother and a daycare provider lol. I see it this way: you will never tell me that treating children the way Dani was treated is okay. It’s like saying that a 13 year old who lost her parents and who is now raising her younger siblings is more mature because of her situation so if she falls into a relationship with an older man and he beats her it makes it okay since she’s been through more in her life and therefor can take it. Whether brought up in luxury or poverty, ease or hardship, a child is a child. Yes, Dani’s situation is different than most but you can still tell by her inner thoughts and her attitude that she’s still a child. That’s my opinion at least.
    And I did not hate this book. I just didn’t like Ryodan’s treatment of Dani, is all.

  3. OH! I can understand your feelings, the points that bothered you bothered me too, but in the end I ended up really loving the book (conflicted, love) and to this day I have times when I feel like going back and changing my rating to 4 stars.
    But, I also have to give credit to narrators, they do such great job bringing these books to life that they do enhance your experience.

  4. I agree 100% with your review. I wanted to get into the book and beat the shit out of Ryodan, he not only beat Dani, her humiliated her in front of everybody and treated her like shit. An abusive man doesn’t deserve second chances. For me he can continue fucking Jo until Ever After, I don’t care about him one bit. I prefer bat-shit crazy Christian than Ryodan.

  5. Readsalot81 says:

    Hey Julie,

    You’re not alone. I DNF’d this one. I hated it. I know lots of folks liked it. I didn’t. I didn’t care for the lusting of the grown men circling Dani like a juicy bone, I didn’t care for her voice. It was really grating for me, and at about 55 % of the way in, I just said screw it and closed the book. I liked the previous series. I thought it was an interesting world with decent characters.. but I just lost interest in Iced. I don’t have enough invested in Dani’s character to see where it’ll lead.

    I rarely comment on reviews.. but you’re not the only lone voice 😉

  6. Huh, I think I feel the exact same way, though I’m smack dab in the middle of the book right now. I’m not enjoying Kat’s POV at all. I keep wondering if it will lead somewhere but I don’t think it will. I’ll be disappointed if Cruce doesn’t escape by the end of the book! I suppose it is a trilogy though…
    I do, however, enjoy Dani’s POV. I find her so engaging and authentic. KMM really excels at making her characters pop off the page.
    I really hope there is no HEA for Dani, to be honest. At 14, I just can’t get behind that for her, even if the next books jump ahead 10 years. I find Ryodan, Christian and Dancer all compelling, but in no way do I see any of them as romantic heroes. I do agree that KMM is a genius and will probably shift my view at some point.

  7. Lupdilup – I’m sure a book is better sometimes because of the narrator and the job they do. The expression alone could change the way a scene is read!

    Bookaholic Cat – Hear hear!

    Readsalot – Thanks for commenting! I am glad to see I’m not alone. I knew a couple of people who felt like me but still rated the book higher. It really is nice to see I’m not alone here lol.

    Sara – I like your idea of no HEA for Dani. I’d settle with finding someone who just wants to be her friend and not screw her over for their own personal gain! I can’t wait to see what you think when you are finished with the book. I’ll have to stalk GR lol.

  8. Ok. You can look at my blog design and know that I LOVE the fever series (points to Mac Halo).

    I was a little on the fence about the new books being told from Dani’s POV. DUDE!

    I also rated the book only 3 stars on Goodreads and got shocked replies. After thinking over the story and how awesome KMM is about world building I pushed it to a 4 star. But it’s really a 3 star with an extra star for HOPE that KMM will take care of us like she always does.

    You stated there wasn’t much humor….. I listened to it on audio and I LOL at many parts but I have a dark and sick sense of humor and so does ICED.

    I can’t wait for the next book and I think that’s in part to the OTHER characters. Dani got on my nerves like I knew she would but I can see her growing as the story goes on. I just wish she could have been at least 16 in the other books so when it came to her book we didn’t have that much of an eck factor for any kind of romance idea. But then again this is UF and not PNR. So the romance shouldn’t be the main focus.

  9. Hey Julie,

    I guess that I can agree with some of your review. I do not agree with Ryodan’s treatment of Dani, but I think I can see how he needs his people to know that he can handle her. She is very young and powerful and if someone doesn’t think that Ryodan’s can do it, Dqni could end up in a far worse situation than she is with Ryodan. I would really love to see Ryodan as her HEA, but only time will tell.
    Yes, Dani does get on my nerves but she reminds me of my fourteen year old son, who thinks he knows it all, while I am wiping food off his face. She will figure it all out
    I hate the name Dancer, how can he ever be taken seriously with a name like that? I am almost positive that he is not human. We will have to wait and see what’s up with Dancer. Although I like Dancer, I’m not sure where his character is heading.
    Christian, boy what a let down. He has turned way to creepy for my tastes.

    I hope the next installment will come out early 2013, hahaha that’s funny

  10. I confess I’m a little anxious to read this one even if I want to as I’m sure I won’t like it as much as the others so don’t worry. Though I’m really curious, thank you for tis great and detailed review!

  11. It’s interesting how many different ways we each feel about that book. The scene you had such a viseral reaction to I barely remember. It wasn’t even a blip on my radar. While I am a mother and wholeheartedly agree about child abuse, I guess I don’t view Dani in the same light. Their world is not our world. We don’t have to do the things to survive that they do…it’s a much more violent reality they live in so they same rules don’t apply. For example, the things that Dani does…running around killing things…who in our society would allow a 14 yr. old to do that? It’s monstrous and none of us would allow our child or a child that we cared for to put themselves in such danger. Yet, in their world, those that love Dani think nothing of the situations she places herself in, even encourage it at times. I guess that’s why that particular scene with Ryodan & Dani didn’t effect me the same way…I don’t apply the same set of social morality to Dani and her world as I do to the world we live in. Apples and oranges.

  12. Jennifer – You bent to peer pressure! 😉 just kidding And good luck with your wish for an early 2013 release lol

    MamaMoon – I totally get that Ryo needs to be the authority. But just explain it to the girl. Tell her why you are the way you are with her. I feel then she’d rebel less. Oh, she’s rebel – she’s a teenager after all – but less lol. And LOL about your comment about Dancer’s name! *giggles*

    melliane – I bet you’ll love it…most people have 😉

    Michele – I totally get what you are saying about this being an alternate reality. Makes sense. And you’re right, we would not accept a 14yr old killing monsters now so that they let her and encourage her in the books shows how she is perceived as older. Still not cool with me that he smacked her ;). I think this book is the perfect example of how everyone reads a book differently. I honestly can’t way why it all bothered me so much more than most. But I’m glad the masses are loving this book because KMM really is a fantastic writer and deserves accolades.

  13. I swear I am not going to touch this book until the next one is out because I cannot handle the wait with cliffhangers. BUT that didn’t keep me from reading your review. Really well written and has me itching to pick up this book which is only in the next room even more. I will resist. I’m interested to see if I feel the same as you on many of these issues because reading your review…they seem REALLY VALID points. hmmm…

  14. Thanks for the honest review Julie. Iced deserves the mediocre rating, and it really bugs me that other readers padded their ratings based on the merits of the previous Fever books. I thought the pacing of the book was horrendous, it took me nearly a week to get through Part One, and even with dedicated reading, I had to start skimming. Every scene with Dani was formulaic, she fights, pats herself of the back, has a candy bar or talks about candy bars, finds a parrallel from the current situation to a tv show she watched in her cage, and talks about her super speed. I agree with you that Ryodan’s abuse, physical and mental, of Dani was just too much, and it’s disappointing that readers are apathetic and justify it b/c the world is different. She is super self absorbed and all ego, like many teenagers, but her abusive childhood has left her emotionally immature and lacking the ability to read human emotions and that makes her vulnerable, especially to Ryodan’s controlling ways. You’re right that if he was clearly the villain, his actions would be considered villanous, instead it’s just this crazy mix of abuse and pedophilia.
    I have to say that by the end, I really liked Kat’s contribution to the book. She is a young woman in a very powerful position and has lots of potential, in the story long term and possible impact on Dani. I thought her story was the strongest part of the book (at this point, I’m not sure if that’s b/c Dani’s storyline was so problematic).
    I feel like Iced lived up to my expectations, or down, b/c they were pretty low when KMM revealed Dani at 14 as the lead (even with her reassurance that it wouldn’t be YA, which with a 14yo lead was already worrisome). I know I’ll read the next two, to follow the series, and hope that it will get back to it’s greatness when it finishes the Dani arc.

  15. Don’t hide, Julie! This was a FANTASTIC review, and I think quite a few people had issues with this book. Reading reviews on Amazon, I think a LOT of people objected to Dani’s personality, or the whole issue with grown men perving on a 14 year old. I was surprised more people didn’t object to the physical abuse though. In what kind of world (even a world post-Fae-Apocalypse one) is it ok for a man to beat a woman, especially a child? I think it’s fundamentally engrained in most minds that we don’t hurt children, and even if you don’t see Dani as a child, most people take a strong stance on men hitting women (must less beating their faces to a pulp). I just don’t get it. I’m 35, and there’s no universe, Dystopian or otherwise, where I’d ever forgive a man for doing even 1/4th the things Ryo did to Dani. Physical abuse is a hard line for me, and the manipulative and controlling stuff would have driven me nuts too.

    I think Nikki may have hit the nail on the head – it’s hard to think anything negative about Moning’s work. Most of us loved her first series so much, it’s hard to not toss a few extra stars at Iced. Heck even my rating may have been a two, if I hadn’t had so much faith that Moning could turn this all around.

    My secret hope is Ryo will end up NOT being a love interest and get slotted as a villain, or harsh mentor type figure. It seems like taking that route would be more a surprise twist (considering EVERYONE assumes she’s go the love route with Ryo and Dani). Unfortunately all her interviews seem to point to him being a LI. *grumbles*

  16. I just finished Iced yesterday and have been cruising the web seeing what other folks thought. I love your review because you dealt with some of the same things that bugged me. I gave it a higher rating on Goodreads b/c I think I’m incapable of not loving anything KMM does but I was also disturbed by Ryodan’s treatment of Dani. She’s a kid! That took him waaaay out of the possible HEA column for me. Actually screwing Jo removed him – you do not screw a girl’s older sister, (’cause that is what Jo is really) and then get the girl too. NO WAY.

    Christian has become too creepy (I hope there’s a woman out there who can lead him to an HEA) so now I’m rooting for Dancer and wondering about those deep secrets even Kat can’t read…

    Can’t wait for Burned!

  17. I avoided all reviews about ICED until I had read it and reviewed it myself. Finally did!
    I also knew that once I finished it, I wanted to run over here and read your review.

    Your review is spot on and probably exactly what KMM wanted us all to take from the book. I raged over Ryodan’s treatment of Dani. Not only is she a kid, but she is also human. Her bones, skin bruising etc is only 14 yrs old! That scene where he humiliates her at the club and BEATS her infuriated me. I have a 12 yr and 15 yr old son that have lots of girls for friends and NONE of them could have taken that beating.
    Not only did I despise him for that but then to have sex with Jo!!!! Well seal the deal I hate him. I have no idea how he could possibly come back from that for me.

    Yes at the beginning Barrons could be a mysterious jerk to Mac but you always knew that there was something there.
    Ryo looks upon Dani in an odd double entendre way. In the book it could be viewed as pervy but it could also be viewed in another manner that I haven’t grasped yet.

    My thoughts are similar for Dancer. I like the kid a lot. But I also liked V’lane a lot too and we all know how well that worked out LOL

    The age difference between Dani and Christian didn’t bother me at all. 22 to her 14. Its a gap at that age no doubt but it is only 8 years (which is exactly the diff with my hubby and me) I just found the whole Christian thing confusing. He didn’t even look at Dani in the Fevers so I was wondering where the hell it came from all of sudden at the beginning of ICED. Once again, there is something more there.

    So I understand your rant as I had them too. We did differ on the rating. I gave it a full 5 stars because I think if a book can get that much emotion out of me deserves it. It was a page turner with my eyes glued to the pages.

  18. I recently finished Iced, and have continued conflicting feelings about the book. Those were what led me to begin reading reviews, which also seem to be mixed in their emotional response.

    The age piece seems to be what most get hung up on. I agree it creates a myriad list of issues for how we adult readers are to perceive the story line, as well as the sexual and violent content. Also, Dani’s voice and vocabulary. Both aggravated me as well, but I could understand that it was her obnoxious personality enough to buy into them.

    However, I believe the story line to be what truly caused me to dislike this installment of the Fever series (the rest of which I LOVED). The gist of the story being that Dani was somehow responsible for solving the ice mystery made no sense to me. Her talents and intelligence were no more striking than the other two male “superheros” (Christian, Ryodan, the rest of Ryodan’s crew, the Fae investigating the phenomenon). She moved slower and had little knowledge of the Fae to provide any assistance to Ryodan. The story line is what makes this a young adult’s novel. The idea that children are more intelligent and more capable of solving problems than adults. It reminds me of every young adult novel and movie out there.
    Such a concept was successful for all ages in the Harry Potter series only because the adults expected the children to be children while they solved the problems, and the main child character actually had a quality that made him “unique”. There is not any superpower that Dani possesses that the other characters do not.

    My explanation for her presence in the investigation is that Ryodan was attempting to give her something to do to keep her preoccupied and supervised. However, even that seems forced.

  19. People please. It is a book, a FICTION book at that. It always amazes me that people over think something as simple as a book.

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