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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: Dark Storm

Title: Dark Storm
Author: Christine Feehan
Page Count: 370 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

Back Cover Summary:
Return to the seductive world of Christine Feehan's New York Times bestselling Carpathian novels as roiling passions collide in a perfect storm of dangerous desire that only a precious few can hope to outrun . . .

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.

First of all, I grabbed the back cover summary from Goodreads, and I have no idea why it says that the volcano that plays such a huge role in the story is in the Carpathian Mountains- it isn't.  We're still in the jungle, and at no point in the story do we go to the Carpathian Mountains.  If you were hoping for that, stop, because it didn't happen in this book.

Second of all, spoilers may follow in this review, but honestly at this point I don't think so, because nothing is happening in this series and therefore there really isn't anything to spoil.  Be that as it may, I'm putting a spoiler warning here so nobody can say they weren't informed.

Moving on, this book was conflicting for me.  I enjoyed the whirlwind relationship between Dax and Riley, but I'm starting to seriously resent the fact that this series is going absolutely nowhere.  I've mentioned before that I'm not sure that the series needed more characters at this point, and I stand by that statement now.  I would have been over the moon if this book included any forward yardage on the plot at all; sadly, it didn't.

If anything, this installment in the series actually moved the plot backwards, because things that have been canon in this series are now in question.  We've been running on the assumption that certain things are the basis of the events in the story for a long time- years, in real life time- at this point, so to kind of throw all that out and start over is annoying for me as a reader.

Oh what the hell, I'll get more specific.  The big example of this is that there still isn't a full resolution as to why the Carpathians have such a hard time having children and keeping them alive once they're born.  For years (since Dark Demon in 2006) we've been told that Xavier is the reason, that he's corrupted the soil with parasites, and that he's alive and waiting to deliver the killing blow to the Carpathian species.  Fast forward to this, book 23, and Xavier is dead (for real this time,) there's a way to purify the soil (albeit inefficiently) and theoretically things should be at least a little brighter now that the supreme enemy of the Carpathian race is dead.

If you think that, you're wrong!  Apparently there's some ancient fertility ritual with a flower that's critical to successful procreation for Carpathians and somehow nobody remembered this until recently, which is how two HUMAN associates of the Carpathians (Gary and Jubal) ended up in the rain forest looking for the flower, and that's how they run into Riley and, by extension, Dax.  The pieces fit together but they sure don't make a neat puzzle.

I find that at this point, the most enjoyable part of the story was the whirlwind relationship between Riley and Dax, but it was enjoyable because it precisely fit the mold of every other hero/heroine in this series.  Sudden, almost accidental meeting, instant attraction, improbably odds (Riley's mom is murdered on screen so it's a really natural time for her to start a seriously long-term relationship) and happily ever after where they're both Carpathian at the end (albeit after a pukey, convulsive, organ-shifting conversion.)

I have a hard time giving a good review to a book whose best parts are ones that have been done a thousand times in the same series at this point.  I know that this author works with the "my characters speak to me" method of plotting the series but at this point I'm kind of hoping they go back and read their own past installments so we don't end up just starting the whole story arc over again on accident.

I know Skylar and Dmitri's story is going to be a long, LONG way off, but at this point that is the one I want to read.  It may not be a bad idea for me to take a break from this series and pick up later.  Much later.

Overall Rating:

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