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Imagine Karen Marie Moning’s “Fever” books, but with a lot less pizazz, sexual tension, and imagery. Even though Moning’s newest adventure into the world of graphic novels is jammed packed with art on every page, the imagery does not compete with the words she uses throughout her series.
Fever Moon gives readers an episodic view of a handful of characters from the “Fever” series on a nearly separate timeline. A new character or two is thrown into the mess of MacKayla Lane’s life in an adventure that has not actually happened in the novels.
Readers who have not read the series at all may feel completely lost when reading the graphic novel. Characters that play key roles in the novels, such as MacKayla and Jericho Barrons, are given brief background overviews in the beginning of Fever Moon, but it is only just enough to get readers who are not familiar with the series a heads up for what’s to come.
Unfortunately, what comes next is confusion. MacKayla calls Barrons by numerous nicknames and once in a while by his first name, but readers may find themselves wondering who MacKayla is talking about. It is quite easy to understand when both characters are shown in the same frame, but when MacKayla refers to Barrons by a new name and he is nowhere to be seen, it’s hard to tell who she is talking about.
It would be advisable to read through the “Original Character Notes and Sketches” section included at the end of Fever Moon to get insights into who each character is. While this portion does make the plot of the “Fever” novels explicit, it is still worth it to read through. Otherwise, readers may find themselves rereading the entirety of Fever Moon in order to enjoy it to its fullest.
The differences and similarities between the different races that populate the “Fever” series and Fever Moon may also prove to be a bit of a complication for new readers. The intricacies of the Fae, the Seelie, and the Unseelie, as well as many other groups, are not adequately defined in the context of Fever Moon unless readers have glanced through the “Character Notes.” One reason for the blurred line between groups could be that Moning wants readers to judge her characters by their actions and not by a label, such as “Unseelie” or another racial label.
She mentions this idea in “Behind the Scenes of the Fever Series” at the back of Fever Moon and makes it sound like an essential idea. In her novels, this concept works, but in the graphic novel it ultimately fails. Words do more justice for the characters than actual images.
On the other hand, avid fans of the “Fever” series will understand Fever Moon easily, but may also find it a bit on the bland side. The sexual tension and the complexity of each character’s personality that many readers love in the novels becomes lost amidst the graphics. They will, however, enjoy the graphic novel as a nearly stand alone episode of the “Fever” series, but it will never be seen as a great accomplishment (aside from the exceptional art) on its own when compared to the novels.
Image Courtesy of Karen Marie Moning