Title: Dark Predator
Author: Christine Feehan
Page Count: 380 pages
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me
As brutal as the undead he hunted, Zacarias De La Cruz was a master executioner. Now his stark and savage journey has ended. For his brothers, Zacarias had walked to the edge of madness, but with centuries as a killing machine now left to the past and without a hunt to define him, Zacarias wonders, for the first time in his life, who he really is.
The answer awaits him back home, in Peru, in the betrayal of a woman who is readying her trap, in the vengeance of an old enemy, in the inevitable consequences of a bloody family legacy-and in the deliverance of a lifemate he never could have imagined...
Warning: Possible spoilers ahead? I'll do my best to refrain but you never know. Ye be warned.
True to form, I devoured this book in a single sitting. I think the next button on my Kindle has a dent in it, that's how engrossed and involved I was with this book. That hasn't happened in awhile, so right off the bat that's a good thing.
With that said, I knew going into this book that it was going to be an interesting read. The author had spent a lot of time in previous books detailing how completely unsuited Zacarias was to being a lifemate and how close he was to going evil so it was going to be interesting to see how all of that was overcome.
***Possible spoilers, if you haven't guessed already***
I wasn't surprised about the female lead in this book and frankly am not sure why it was kept a secret. Marguarita's experiences in her past were what helped her decide that she wanted to be committed to Zacarias. She has faced down a true monster in the past so she's able to tell the difference. Zacarias is scarred, battered, and tired of dealing with never-ending responsibility, but he's not a monster. He makes mistakes, big ones at times, and is lacking in social skills, but ultimately he doesn't feel that he's worthy of being loved or protected, and that's the true obstacle Marguarita has to overcome.
Zacarias has faced down incredibly trauma in the past, and some of that trauma calls everything we as readers think we know about the way the world of this series operates into question. Maybe I've missed references to some of this stuff in previous books, but apparently there is a way that a Carpathian can still turn vampire even after finding a lifemate. I thought that was impossible! I understand why the idea was introduced in this book and it worked for me in this context, but it's like, I liked my fictional enduring love right where it was, thanks.
In terms of the overall story arc, not a whole lot moves forward, although another Malinov bites the dust. Admittedly, I've lost track of how many are left at this point, but the point is, evil was defeated! And defeated in such a way that both Zacarias and Marguarita are left with a better understanding of each other and what their experience has been and what they bring to the table in this relationship. As is par for the course for this series, Zacarias tramples all over Marguarita's feelings and feels horrible and remorseful, but there was an interesting twist here where Marguarita got to understand a little better why Zacarias does the things he does and why certain courses of action are so second nature to him. Daddy issues are tough to overcome.
On an unrelated note, seeing how other people treated Zacarias pissed me right off. He's been alone pretty much forever, perpetually taking care of other people and seeing to their safety, and he doesn't get so much as a hey how are you from most of them. Even Dominic, the one guy on the planet who could be considered a friend, was like, "well I'm kind of busy" when Zacarias finally asked him for help. He did come through but I was like, wait what? The people that worked on the De La Cruz ranches, too, had lots of mistrustful and nasty things to say about him but didn't have a problem working for him, living on his land, or spending his money. I'm just saying.
While I guess I'm not completely sold on some of the more minor details of this novel, I did enjoy watching Zacarias and Marguarita grow as a couple and overall I was satisfied with the story and how things turned out. I admit it's a bummer that, unless anyone has heard differently, it'll be another year before we get the next installment. Life isn't fair I guess.
Overall Grade: B+
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