Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking those links, I will receive a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.Kingdom of Shadow and Light (Fever, #11) by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Delacorte Press on February 23, 2021
Genres: Adult Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook (492 pages)
Purchase: Amazon • IndieBound
Add Book: Goodreads • Bookhype
MacKayla Lane faces the ultimate threat when war breaks out between the kingdoms of shadow and light, as the #1 New York Times bestselling Fever series races to an explosive revelation.
From the moment MacKayla Lane arrived in Dublin to hunt her sister’s murderer, she’s had to fight one dangerous battle after the next: to survive, to secure power, to keep her city safe, to protect the people she loves.
The matter of who’s good and who’s evil can be decided by the answer to a single question: Whose side are you on?
Now, as High Queen of the Fae, Mac faces her greatest challenge yet: ruling the very race she was born to hunt and kill - a race that wants her dead yesterday, so they can put a pure-blooded Fae queen on the throne.
But challenges with her subjects are the least of her concerns when an ancient, deadly foe resurfaces, changing not only the rules of the game but the very game itself, initiating a catastrophic sequence of events that have devastating consequences and leave Mac questioning everything she’s ever learned and everyone she’s ever loved. Now begins an epic battle between Mortal and Fae, Seelie and Unseelie, would-be kings and would-be queens, with possession of the Unseelie King’s virtually unlimited power and the fate of humanity at stake.
From the exquisite, deadly gardens of the High Queen’s court, to long-forgotten truths found in the Sacred Grove of Creation, from the erotic bed of her enigmatic, powerful lover to the darkest, seductive reaches of the Unseelie kingdom, Mac’s final journey takes her places no human has been before, and only one human could possibly survive...One who's willing to sacrifice everything.
Proceed With Caution:
This book contains violence, death, dismemberment, and mentions of rape and captivity.
Kingdom of Shadow and Light is the final book of the Fever series. At least I hope it is. I’ve been fooled twice before. It does pick up after the events of High Voltage and is narrated by Mac, Christian, Cruce, Kat, Ixcythe, Kat, Lyryka, and Dani. That’s a lot of head hopping for a lot of nothing happening.
“Bloody fucking hell, who comes up with this shit?” Christian curses.
Thank you, Christian, for that marvelous introduction. That about sums up my feelings on Kingdom of Shadow and Light. Shadowfever should have been the end. Or we should have gotten the Dani O’Malley trilogy we were promised. Or a finale that made any kind of sense and had any kind of tension. This was not that.
One of the main conflicts in Kingdom of Shadow and Light is Mac’s tenuous rule as High Queen of the Fae. The fae don’t want to be ruled by a human, which is understandable. Mac doesn’t want to rule the fae because they suck and she’s human, also understandable. But is Mac willing to give up her crown? Nope, because…because. She is honestly a terrible ruler. She’s far too human to rule the fae, she’s easily manipulated, and she makes decisions by flipping a coin. I’m not even joking.
You know who does want to rule the fae and is actually qualified? Cruce! Yes, he’s the villain, but the further I got into Kingdom of Shadow and Light, the more I was convinced that Mac just needs to transfer the True Magic and title over to him. At least he knows what he’s doing. Unfortunately, Cruce is not quite his dastardly self. Yes, he’s still hell-bent on becoming king, but his motivation was to get into Mac’s pants. He just wants her at his side and they can rule together and have lots of sex. Um, okay? Very evil.
Speaking of characters who are no longer themselves, Barrons is a shadow of his former self. For one, he seems to talk way too much. The Barrons we know is a man of few words. He can get his point across with a simple look or flash of fang. He uses his words carefully and won’t waste a breath. In Kingdom of Shadow and Light, he’s quite chatty, often speaking for and over Mac when she’s more than capable of speaking for herself, often to her own detriment. He read like Mac’s accessory.
On top of that, there’s two Barrons! Early on, Kingdom of Shadow and Light shows us that Cruce made a Barrons doppleganger to spy on Mac and the gang, because of course he does! It’s actually quite a good plan. This could have made for some interesting tension and twists, except that each time fake-Barrons appears, we’re told it’s fake-Barrons, and he honestly served no real purpose. There was a “twist” involving him later on, but…okay?
Kingdom of Shadow and Light also introduces us to some other new, useless characters. There’s plenty of established characters who were simply forgotten (Inspector Jayne) and fan favorites who were underutilized (Dani and Ryodan), and yet many pages were dedicated to building up new characters with new issues and I just don’t care! Ixcythe is the Seelie princess of Winter and was an annoying brat. I suppose she was there to serve as direct competition to Mac, but she failed at every turn and was boring.
Then there was Lyryka, the Unseelie King’s librarian. I actually did find her intriguing, but her only purpose was to tell the characters exactly what they needed to know since she’s basically a talking encyclopedia after spending 750 thousand years locked away with books. Yawn. However, her epilogue could lead to an interesting spin-off series. As long as it’s actually focused on her and not on Mac like Dani’s spin-off was…
As for our dear Dani, she’s there but totally disconnected. Mac and Dani didn’t even get a proper reunion once Mac came out of hiding, because she’s kidnapped! I love Dani and Mac’s relationship, and they’ve been apart for far too long! Instead of giving them some time together, Dani is trapped in space with Shazam, because of course they are! Their predicament had no bearing on anything else happening in the book. I guess the author ran out of things for them to do? I have an idea…Dani and Mac reunion?!!?
To be honest, the most interesting characters in Kingdom of Shadow and Light are Kat, Rae, Sean, and Christian whose plot points are not even properly wrapped up or explained. Rae and Sean are also kidnapped early on, and then they just appear safe and sound in the final chapter. No explanation, no consequences, nothing. Just Rae has super awesome special powers, because of course she does. Meanwhile, Christian learns the extent of his Unseelie Prince abilities and it’s going to be awesome and then nothing. He just falls in love with Lyryka because of course he does. I would also be open to a Kat, Rae, Sean, and Christian spin-off series where they explore Rae’s powers when she’s older. No Mac.
You’re probably wondering about the big climax…there isn’t one. Yep, Kingdom of Shadow and Light basically does not have a big showdown or reveal or revelation. The characters bumble around, then it magically ends. Literally. Magic. Everyone suddenly has new magical abilities that perfectly align to take down the Big Bad at the end. Except that he’s not really big or bad anymore, just horny.
Finally, the writing in Kingdom of Shadow and Light was pretty bad. Was it just me, or was it more flowery and verbose than previous books? No one really sounded like themselves. It was weird. It was also extremely repetitive, like characters recapping conversations and events that just happened on the very next page. I didn’t forget in the time it took to flip the page. And, why was Dani referring to Shaz/Y’rill as “he/she”? Has the author never heard of the singular “they” before?
Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk on why Kingdom of Shadow and Light was a useless finale, which might not even be a finale.
Quotes from Kingdom of Shadow and Light:
You are elemental, essential, connected to all things in the universe. You are a creature of alchemy, transmuting all your touch, for better or for worse. Choose wisely both what and how you touch. (page 4)
“It’s illogical and counterintuitive to shout at people when you want them to cooperate. (page 116)
It’s exceedingly dangerous to permit a single person to shape your reality. (page 131)
It’s the memories of our failures, our worst moments and darkest hours that weigh on us and make us try harder, do better. (page 427)