Saturday, October 18, 2003

Review: Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

Title: Dark Prince
Series: Carpathians (Dark Series)
Author: Christine Feehan
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 1, 1999
Publisher: LoveSpell
ISBN: 0505523728
ISBN-13: 9780505523723

Prince of the Night

He came to her in the night, a predator—strength and power chiseled his features. The seduction was deep and elemental; he affected her soul. His need. His darkness. His terrible haunting loneliness. Her senses aroused, she craved the dangerous force of his body. Burned for him. And he had only touched her with his mind.

Lady of the Light

She came to him at dawn, his bleakest hour. As the beast raged inside him, threatening to consume him, he vented his centuries-old despair in an anguished cry that filled the waning night. And she answered, a ray of light, piercing his darkness. A beautiful angel. Her compassion, courage, and innocence awakened in him an exquisite longing and tenderness. He knew he must possess her, for only she could tame his savage side and lift the dark shadow from his soul. Apart they were desolate, bereft. Intertwined physically and spiritually, they could heal one another and experience an eternity of nights filled with love.

My rating:

Mikhail Dubrinsky, the prince of Carpathians, an ancient race very similar to humans with the exception of longevity, psychic and physical powers, and of course having to drink blood to survive, knows his race is at its bleakest hours. The males are losing hope of ever finding their other half, their lifemate, and prefer turning vampire than “choosing the dawn”. Mikhail himself has given up believing there is a lifemate out there for him.

Raven Whitney, a strong telepath – a rarity among humans, travels into the Carpathian mountains to get a little rest from being constantly bombarded by evil in her draining day job of following the twisted mental paths of serial killers.

She alone hears Mikhail desperate cry and answers, unaware her life is about to change forever.

Dark Prince is the first book in the wonderful and smolderingly sensual Dark Series by Christine Feehan. With this book she introduced they mysterious world of Carpathians, the dangers they live with constantly, their intense emotions, their powers, and their incessant search for their other half, the one woman they are destined to be, their lifemate.

We learn the basic of the Carpathians. They are just like humans, but for their need of blood to live, their longevity and amazing powers, both psychic and physical. Like the vampires in the lore they sleep during the day, but they do not kill when they feed. They are in perfect harmony with the environment, the elements and the animals, capable of shapeshifting.
The Carpathian male is a true predator, losing his capability of feeling emotions or see in color at an early age. Darkness slowly seeps into his soul until it consumes him. The only salvation is finding a lifemate, the feminine light that anchors him in the darkness. Finding her, he regains his emotions and sees the world in Technicolor once again.

And what perfect example of such salvation that offering the first out-clause to the Prince himself.
But Mikhail and Raven’s relationship is doomed from the start. She is human, and she doesn’t believe in Carpathians, vampires are a whole other story.
Yet even as they surmount the obstacle of her humanity, which is pretty easy, he turns her Carpathian, which is no easy feat in itself, since the humans usually go crazy. But apparently her being a strong psychic helps.

For me this book has two major problems.

The first is the romance, which I didn’t feel at all. Raven and Mikhail fall for one in a heartbeat, which from Raven’s part is almost a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t fall for a tall, dark, and handsome prince with a major protective streak that makes you feel like you’re the only woman in the world and would give you anything just to make you happy.
Well, maybe that’s not love, but I wouldn’t kick him out of bed.
I had more problem with Mikhail’s part. Here’s a 1000-year-old who hasn’t experienced emotions in centuries, he finds this one woman who can make him feel again, and bam, he’s in love. It just doesn’t work like this. I know it’s fiction, but still, it’s a tad too unbelievable.

The whole series is based on the same premise. Since all men are pretty much the same – see above, there’s no question about it that the women do fall in love with them eventually, but for the man, the question poses itself: how much of it is love and how much of it is just thankfulness and joy. And of course, sex.

The second problem – Raven. She was too stubborn for her own good. Don’t get me wrong, I do like feisty heroines who won’t let their man trample all over them, but Raven was too stubborn. She kept arguing with Mikhail through the entire book, even about the most insignificant things, flaunting her feminist rights and supposed intelligence, and kept ending in trouble page after page, putting everybody else at risk.

All in all, this is still a wonderful book, with the ultimate alpha-male hero and an extraordinary world that just beckons to be explored.

P.S. Oh, I guess her editor took a prolonged vacation just before this book was finished, since the repetitive sentences and description should’ve ended in the “deleted scene” DVD extra. Yes, Mikhail did move like a predator and he did have a muscular body, and Raven was innocent and compassionate, but there was no need repeating that over and over again.

And what does black-velvet voice sound like? Though I’ve never heard velvet (or any kind of fabric) speak before, I bet it’s quite the chatterbox.

And Raven’s mantra “I have brains.” No way! I have them, too! Though in her case I guess that brain looked more like a one-cell organism.


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