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Friday, January 10, 2014

Review: Dark Wolf

Title: Dark Wolf
Author: Christine Feehan
Page Count: 432 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

Back Cover Summary:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan now delivers her most eagerly awaited novel of all — ten years in the making.

In Dark Lycan, Christine Feehan journeyed into the heart of the Carpathians, and into the souls of two lifemates stirred by the flush of passion and the threat of annihilation. In Dark Wolf, the breathtaking story continues as the bonds of family are imperiled, and the fate of two lovers lies hidden in the seductive shadows between life and death.

Skyler Daratrazanoff always recognized the miracle that was Dimitri Tirunul, a man beyond any dream that had ever engaged her nights. But she was human. Vulnerable. He was Carpathian. Nearly immortal. She was nineteen. He was an ancient. Yet she held half his soul, the light to his darkness. Without her, he would not survive. Caught between the two warring species, Dimitri has spent centuries hunting the undead to keep his people free, and humans safe. He had survived honorably when others had chosen to give up their souls. But now, marked for extermination by the Lycans, Dimitri found himself alone, and fearing for his life. But salvation was coming…

No Lycan would ever suspect someone like Skyler to dare mount a secret rescue operation. A teenage girl. A human of untested abilities. But she had something no one else had. She was predestined for Dimitri—as he was for her. And there was nothing stronger for Skyler than her desire to see her life-dream come true. Whatever the risk.

Well, here it is.  The one we've all been waiting for.  I've run hot and cold on this series and am happy to report that I was pleased with this installment, easily the most anticipated for me as a reader and (I think) for many others as well.  Many, many Goodreads reviews of this story are told in GIF format, so I think I'll add one of my own to the conversation:

This was the make or break moment for the series.  If I opened the box, so to speak, and all that came out were bees, I would be sad, and also completely done with this series forever.  I would have my favorites to revisit and that's it.

Happily, this was a strong story, with a great leading couple, and a conflict that could evolve into something in the next volume.  That's probably what stood out the most for me as a reader- something actually happens in this series.  The past few volumes consisted of introducing more characters with a view factoids added in to sort of function as a plot, and here was the exact opposite.  For the first time in awhile I felt like the series has long-term direction again.

This book continued some positive trends that started in Dark Lycan:

The leading man isn't an asshole- Imagine that, a well-drawn male character that isn't gross! This makes two in a row for this series (three if you count Dark Storm, where regardless of the book's other failings at least the guy wasn't an ass) and while I have read every installment of this series I can easily say that Dimitri is my favorite.

Previous characters put in an appearance- Seeing Ivory and Razvan again was enjoyable for sure.  And for crying out loud, we're 25 books in at this point so there's plenty of material to work with.

The relationship between Dimitri and Skylar was center stage, and it was a healthy one.  I know some people out there in internet land were disappointed that we didn't see more of their developing years as actual storyline and not just offstage, but the strategy used in this book totally worked for me.  Skylar's early years were so traumatic and so bad that I think it would have been pretty much impossible to address them on stage without seriously offending someone.  Instead, the author used her power as the architect in this fictional world to make certain facts true.  We wanted Skylar to come into her own, so she did! We wanted her to be respected by her partner, and she is!  Because this is fiction, I'm totally okay with taking the author's word for it that these two had their issues but worked them out. I think dealing with these heavy things onscreen isn't a risk this series needed (or should have) taken at this point, and I'm glad it didn't.

The next book in this series comes out in September and is the final installment of this three book arc, and I'm comfortable at this point saying that I'm in for that.  I'm interested to see how this business with the Lycans works itself out, and I think Zev and Bronnie will make an excellent couple.


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