Fever Moon

Random factoid: I like graphic novels. I’ve never been a big comic book person, but graphic novels…I like that they stand alone. The worlds comic book writers and illustrators create are some of the most vivid and imaginative out there, and I envy them.

Fever Moon is, to me, a different sort of graphic novel. Labels don’t fit on the characters (and Moning explains why in the “extras”) and no one has super powers. Well, except for Barrons.

That’s right. This is a Fever story, complete with Mac, Barrons, Dani, and the rest of the gang. Set somewhere in the middle of Dreamfever, an unknown Unseelie is stalking the streets of Dublin, taking parts of faces. Yes, parts. The victims end up comatose, and as the stalker gets closer and closer to Mac’s loved ones, she’s starting to run out of time.

Why would you shell out fifteen bucks for a glorified comic book? The artwork. The artwork is tremendous. Let’s start with the cover:

I have a weakness when it comes to art: less is more. And this is one of the most compelling and beautifully drawn covers I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. Here it is again, in full color:

Still stunning.

This novel is all about the artwork. It moves the story forward in a way that words can’t, and it gives us hungry Fever fans something to glom onto when we’re re-reading the series. The incredibly Al Rio brought Moning’s characters to life, in a such a way they burst off the page.

Case in point:

Jericho Barrons.

There’s a better illustration of him in the novel, but I couldn’t find an image of it. Suffice to say, the first time he makes an appearance, my jaw actually dropped. Rio’s creation is exactly how I pictured Barrons would look without even knowing it.

Rio’s version of Dublin is as dark and slick as Moning’s was in the original Fever series. There’s a blood moon hanging low in the sky, and the Unseeling are as gruesome and terrifying as you’d imagined. It’s like he reached into your mind and drew out every little detail you’d pictured while reading the Fever books and put it on paper, sleek and stylized.

Rio hung himself before the book was finished, and the last chapter was drawn by Cliff Richards. Maybe someone with a better eye for this sort of thing will be able to see a difference, but I couldn’t, just more of the same sensual, bombastic art leaping at your throat.

In an interview shortly before he died, Rio expressed his wish to break onto the American lists, and that Fever Moon might just be the book that makes it happen for him. So I’m doing my little part to see that that happens. Normally I avoid what’s known as a “call to action”, basically exhorting readers (or listeners, as the case may be) to “come on down” and buy something, but I’m making an exception for Fever Moon. I want to see this book hit the New York Times bestseller list, even if it’s only for a week, as a tribute to a man who took a world I loved, a world I credit with helping break my imagination out, and smashing it right into my face. If you’re a fan of Al Rio or the Fever series, pick up a copy. For the art alone, it’s worth the price. Because if this is what they use to measure the man’s talent, it’ll withstand the test of time.


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