Sunday, September 1, 2013

Review: Dark Storm by Christine Feehan

Title: Dark Storm
Series: Carpathians (Dark Series)
Author: Christine Feehan
Read copy: Paperback
Published: October 4, 2012
Publisher: Piatkus Books
ISBN: 0749957530
ISBN-13: 9780749957537

Awakening after all this time in a world of absolute darkness and oppressive heat, Dax wonders in how many ways the world above must have changed. But it is how he has changed that fills him with dread and loathing. Buried alive for hundreds of years in a volcano in the Carpathian Mountains, Dax fears that he has become the full-fledged abomination that every Carpathian male fears, a victim of the insidious evil that has crept relentlessly into his mind and body over the centuries. But there are some things that never change.

His name is Mitro, the vampire Dax had hunted all these long centuries. Second in command to the prince of the Carpathian people he is the epitome of everything malevolent, and perpetrator of one of the most shocking killing sprees known to man - and beast. Even his friends and family weren't safe from Mitro's bloodlust. Neither was Mitro's lifemate, Arabejila, an extraordinary woman with extraordinary gifts. But now that Dax has re-emerged, so too has Mitro. The ultimate battle between good and evil has been re-engaged. Between Dax and Mitro, a violent game has begun - one that has marked Riley Parker, the last descendent of Arabejila, as the reward.

My rating:

I'm a huge fan of the Carpathians (Dark Series), but I must confess the last books (Dark Slayer being the exception) have been disappointing indeed. The last one, Dark Predator being one of those, despite I was rather looking forward to Zacarias’ story.

This one was certainly NOT a disappointment. Quite the contrary. It made me see anew what I love about this series—the story, the main arc, the sexiness, the ‘environment’, and sometimes even the characters. This one had it all.

The story was great, an improvement from the later books in the series. The pacing was good, the plot tight, and though some reviewers have complained about the ‘choppiness’ of jumping from setting to setting at the beginning of the narration, that somehow didn’t bother me at all. I knew exactly where I was and which character had center stage.

The descriptions of the environment, though repetitive and thus truly annoying in previous books, sounded fresh (despite the ‘common’ setting of the jungle), the battle scenes were well-thought and well-presented.

The sexiness was definitely back in this one as well. The sex scenes were one of the elements that made me love this series from the start, but in the later books the sensuality and sultriness got lost somehow and the ‘hot’ scenes became rather perfunctory and ‘mandatory’ (I cannot find a better word—it seemed like they were there just so the characters could have sex, nothing more). In this one the sensuality, the sexiness, the ‘hot’ was back in business, maybe not really driving the story forward (except that first scene by the ruins in the field of night flowers), but it had ‘meaning’ not just as page-filler.

And the characters—oh, the characters. I have a rather love-hate relationship with either the heroines or heroes in this series, with just a few books being the exception where I actually like both of them. This book is one of those precious few. Usually either the heroine is a TSTL, mewling idiot that is just begging to be raped and killed in the first few chapters or the hero is an overbearing, chest-thumping ass that I would just love to hit over the head with a shovel. Repeatedly.

Not in this story. Both Riley and Danutdaxton a.k.a. Dax (I like the shortened version better) were amazing characters and an amazing leading couple. She was smart, sassy, intelligent, and completely aware of both her power and her limitations. He was sexy, funny, brave, a true warrior at heart…did I mention sexy? She didn’t whine, and when she did it was so out of character she knew there was something wrong, he didn’t try to stuff her in bubble-wrap and didn’t resort to chest-thumping. What a breath of fresh air that was in this series. Despite spending centuries locked up in a volcano he was much more ‘civilized’, tendering, caring and respectful to his lifemate than the others (Zacarias De La Cruz for one) that came before him. He knew he’s found a strong, resilient woman and he tried (and succeeded) to curb his caveman, sorry Carpathian, protective instincts, and let her help him. He knew he needed her, he respected her strength, respected her…And to me, despite the short time they knew each other, showed his true feelings toward her. And I actually bought it, despite the short time-frame.

Dax and Riley truly were perfect for each other, perfect for his story, and perfect for renewing my faith in this series. I hope Dark Wolf is at least half as good as this one, because Skyler and Dimitri sure deserve something great.

Yes, this was an amazing addition to this series and I believe it bumped Dark Slayer from the second place of my favorite books in the series. And yes, the hero and heroine deserve a mention in my Alphas section.


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