Star Rating: 5/5
Genre: Paranormal, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Buy the book: Amazon
***SPOILER ALERT FOR BOOK 1, Hell's Teeth*** Seeing as this is the second in a series, you're gonna find out some stuff in the below review that maybe you didn't want to know before reading the first. Do yourself a favor and just buy Hell's Teeth right now. It is seriously so good. You can see my review of that book here if you don't believe me. See? Super good! Okay, I'll give you some time to buy and read the book.
~Cue elevator music~
All done? See what I mean?! So good, right? Great! Let's carry on with the review.
Synopsis (summarized from Amazon): Phoebe Harkness’ life has changed forever. Thirty years after a cataclysmic world war that eviscerated one third of the human population, a new sub-species of vampire-like drones has set its teeth to the survivors of humanity. They’re not the only ones: ‘Genetic Others’ such as vampires, werewolves and more roam the streets of New Oxford, trying – and sometimes failing – to live peacefully amongst humankind. But that is all about to change. A spate of serial killings have occurred, rocking the already fragile ecosystem of New Oxford. Brutal murders and mutilation are now commonplace. Phoebe must get to work. She is named as liaison between the Genetic Others and the Cabal, the ruling order of the walled city. Crescent Moon is the gripping second instalment of the urban gothic Phoebe Harkness series. It follows the young doctor as she stalks through the corrupt dystopia of New Oxford.
Sooooooo I'm going to share something that might make some of you want to throw stuff at me. If you do, please choose pillows, teddy bears, and other fluffy/not-dense objects because I have terrible reflexes and I like my face as is. Here goes: I don't get hangovers from alcohol. I just don't, never have really. "Well, have you ever been really drunk?" you might ask. To that let me just say I once spent a car ride home with the hubs giggling and vehemently insisting I absolutely didn't need to drink a glass of water because (and here comes some killer reasoning) the orange juice in the screwdrivers I had been making myself all night had pulp in it. Pulp! So it's all fine! And guess who was as bouncy and bright eyed the next morning as usual? Me. So I don't know what a hangover feels like...until now. Book hangover, which is new to me as well.
What. The. H?
This sucks so bad. No, I don't have headaches and yucky feelings and some of the other stuff I've heard people complain about. But what am I supposed to do with myself now?! Okay, let me start at the beginning.
So Crescent Moon, the follow up to James Fahy's paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy thriller Hell's Teeth, jumps right in with an intro that unceremoniously hurls you like a shot put ball (just the shot, I guess?) into the middle of the plot without giving much of anything away. I am immediately sucked in, leaning forward and thinking, Go ooooooon. And on top of that, we immediately hear the narrator's fantastic voice - that would be the main character and ubermistress of dry wit, Phoebe Harkness. She is absolutely hysterical. Case in point: she identifies her age as thirtymumble. Thank you, Mister Fahy. I shall henceforth be stealing this to use in my real life interactions.
And we get that same, delightful characterization via Phoebe for the other characters as well, even minor ones, but it's done so well, so subtly. We're never told outright, this person has a razor-edged tongue. No, no. We just hear that through their dialogue and actions. It's the kind of characterization that just silently bleeds into the background and paints you a picture without ever telling you what to look for. All the kudos!
And let us not forget all the fantastic references I gushed about in the review for Hell's Teeth. So. Many. Of. These! Some of those I spotted might be pure coincidence, but in my head I like to think a character in this book called Anderson lowers the IQ of the entire street when he talks out loud. Points for whoever knows what I'm talking about. ;)
You know what else I like about these books? The fact that Phoebe is realistic. For one thing, she's not a robot. So often, strong, analytically-minded female characters are painted as really flat and totally don't need anyone or any form of comfort whatsoever, which I just don't think can be the case for anyone 100% of the time. And it's not for her. There's a moment where she admits (only to herself, of course) that all she wanted to do after this one particularly trying day was "snuggle down somewhere comfortable and have my hair stroked". Aha! And right there, in a single rare moment, we see her as deeper than Lady-Scientist-Bot 3000. Yeah, that's more of that great character building as well.
On top of that, though, you know what else I love about her? She has no idea what she's doing and she knows it and it shows. Again, I think way too often when our hero is clueless, they still somehow sail through pretty much flawlessly. But, as careful as she tries to be, Phoebe keeps making little (and sometimes big) blunders. Not that it's really her fault, mind you, because she's just been given this new liaison job without really much of a choice and even less training...okay, zero training. And I think it's so much more realistic that she does mess stuff up. You know what I think I've just realized? I wanna be Phoebe Harkness when I grow up. Yup. New life goal realized!
And in that same vein, I'm just gonna say the budding...relationship (if it can be called that) is everything I want in a book. Aaaaaand this is where the hangover begins. As this is a spoiler-free review, I can't get into the details, but I will say I was 78% into the book and realized [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS]. Are you freakin' kidding me?! I'm dying. I need the next book, like, yesterday. I actually wrote in my notes: "You know what? I wouldn't even care if he was using me. Sexy!" You just cannot help but think Alessandro is one of the smoothest vampires of all time. I mean that, and I am including all entertainment mediums here.
And then the feels! Oh, the feels. I was actually shouting at my book when [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS], so much so that I scared Badger and he went to hide in his closet. It's okay, baby-dog. Mummy just needs to be able to jump into the book and shake some sense into people. Okay? It was around this time (about halfway into the book) that I really started to wish I could read faster. And then not too long after that, at the beginning of Chapter 23, I needed to stop reading and have a nap because this book was wearing me out. That is the level of wild feelings/action-packed rollercoaster ride we're talking about.
And in the midst of all this, James Fahy included a masquerade ball (always improves a story, IMHO), avoided a massive cliche that he could have easily taken (but I'm so glad he didn't), addressed the issue of prejudice in such a succinct and poignant way (without being preachy in the least), seriously made me question what his browser history looks like (you do seem to know a lot about dead bodies, mate), and set up a huge cliffhanger for the next book!
I'm dead. I need the next one so bad, and it's not out yet. Uuuuuuugh, if this horrible fugue state is the mental equivalent of the physical symptoms of a hangover, how do you people do it?! Yeah, if you thought this review sounded a bit disjointed and rambly, that's because I cannot seem to get my bearings. Guh, I don't even know where to turn next in my reading adventures.
All in all, read the series. Like, right now. Do it. It's amazing and massively entertaining and so well constructed and riveting and I love every character for so many different reasons and seriouslydudewhenisthenextbookcomingoutbecauseyourekillingmehere. Thanks for reading!