by Christine Feehan
Oof. It has been a weekend, folks. The husband woke up with severe vertigo Saturday morning, and we wound up in the ER most of Sunday for it. Verdict is an inner ear problem (go see a specialist!) and slight dehydration. That took seven hours? So after a full day of worrying about him Saturday, and seven hours ferrying him around a hospital Sunday, I am EXHAUSTED. So this is going to be a quick one.
Dark Lycan is the twenty-first (!!!) book in the Dark series, Christine Feehan’s epic world of Carpathians and vampires. And yes, they’re different. I don’t think that number counts her “Wild” books, on leopard shifters, even though they exist in the same world. Dark Lycan introduces (I think, it’s possible they were mentioned in an earlier book, but I don’t recall them) a new species, the Lycans. Lycans are to werewolves as Carpathians are to vampires.
I suppose I should explain that.
Vampires are Carpathians that have given up their souls. They are almost invariably men, because male Carpathians eventually lose the ability to feel emotions and see colors (the better to be hunters of vampires, often their former friends and family) unless they find their lifemate. This is where the paranormal romance comes in. Each book is a story of a Carpathian finding his lifemate and “claiming” her. It’s an ancient ritual that binds their souls together, giving them a telepathic and empathic connection and involves a lot of sex and exchanging blood and yadda yadda yadda basic vampire erotica.
The Dark series is a bit formulaic – dominant powerful hero, sassy heroine that doesn’t know what he’s capable of, outside danger to them both, instant love because she brings color back to his world and he has a primal need to bind her and have sex with her and yeah. I’d stopped reading several years back (and I had a TON of these books!) because I was a bit tired of the near-chauvinism and almost-forced sex storylines. But I wanted some mindless guilty pleasure and the Dragonseeker bloodline (a specific family line of Carpathians had always intrigued me. So I picked this up and was pleasantly surprised. Fenris didn’t force Tatijana – on the contrary, he didn’t want to bind them. (Maybe Feehan’s modernizing slightly?)
Feehan’s strength, I think, is in introducing characters whose love stories you want to read. In this book we see a bit more of Fenris’ brother and his lifemate, who is also not yet bound, and they’ve been a slow-burn through several books because I remember them from when I stopped reading, a couple books before this one! This book also introduces Tatijana’s sister, and the man who will be her lifemate – but he’s a Lycan, so that’s…strange. The normal formula is that the man is always a Carpathian, but the woman isn’t always. She can be converted (because they do work off standard vampire mythos) so I assume that’s what they’ll do to her lifemate? Anyway, I’ve learned those two couples are the next two books, so I’ve put holds on those at the library because now I’m hooked again!
Side note: I thought this was going to be a quick paragraph or two fired off, but then I started talking about the background and – well I used to really love these books. Apparently.
So. In Dark Lycan we introduce the Lycans, have a new, real partnership between equals, and actually have a bit LESS explicit sex than I’m used to seeing in the Dark books. Cool. The pacing was a little weird, but the combat with vampires is never really the point of the books, it’s the romance and the feelings and the sex, so whatever. These aren’t great literature. They’re hot fluff when you need to turn your brain off for a while (and maybe turn other things on).
If you like Paranormal Romance, and don’t mind your heroes very dominant and rather forceful, you’d probably enjoy this series. I’d recommend starting at the beginning, though, because all the characters and background history would be VERY confusing to someone that hasn’t learned it through the books. Goodreads has them listed in order.
From the cover of Dark Lycan:
Tatijana of the Dragonseekers spent centuries encased in ice with her sister, trapped in limbo between life and death, never speaking to a soul other than those who tormented her. Now, she has been freed from her frozen prison by an unknown descendant. Awakened in human form, Tatijana yearns to explore the modern world in which she now lives – a world with more mysteries than she is prepared for.
Fenris Dalka has returned to the Carpathian Mountains after a long absence to be with his brother. He is scarred by centuries of battle, and every hard-won victory has been stamped into his bones. But the real reason for his return home could prove deadly if discovered by the wrong man – or woman. Upon his arrival, he is compelled by a beautiful and enigmatic stranger who carries the scent of fresh earth, of forest, of the night itself.
In time Tatijana and Fenris will discover all that unites them – their secrets and pasts, their predators, and the hot flash of passion that stirs their souls. Yet just as surely, seduced into the silvery darkness of a full-moon night, they’ll also discover everything ancient and evil that exists to destroy them.