Title: Dark Promises
Author: Christine Feehan
Series: Dark Series/Carpathians #29
Date: March 15, 2016
Lovers challenge destiny and risk their lives in the new Carpathian novel by the #1 New York Times bestselling “queen of paranormal romance.”*
Gabrielle has had enough of battles, of wars, of seeing Gary Jansen, the man she loves nearly lose his life when it isn’t even his fight. Once he was a gentle and very human researcher. Now he’s a fearless and lethal Carpathian warrior with the blood of an ancient lineage coursing through his veins—a man Gabrielle still needs and desires and dreams of with every breath she takes. All she wants is a life far away from the Carpathian mountains, far from vampires and the shadows cast by the crumbling monastery that hides so many terrible secrets. But Gabrielle soon learns that promises made in the dark can pierce the heart like a dagger.
And she isn’t the only one in search of answers in the corners of the unknown…
Trixie Joanes has come to the Carpathian mountains in search of her wayward granddaughter, fearing that she has been lured there by something unspeakable. Instead, Trixie has stumbled into the path of a desperate man and a woman in love and on the run. And they’re all fated for the lair of a mysterious ancient with revenge in his soul and the undying power to make bad dreams come true.
Wow! It’s been forever since I did one of these. Ever since I started the blog I’ve learned quite a couple of useful things. Like the fact that authors are not supposed to review other authors’ books (as per Amazon TOS), and many other interesting tidbits. So now I’m only reviewing books I was already fan of before I started writing. Or books I read and enjoy specifically as a reader and nothing more. For today, we have the latest Dark Series book by Christine Feehan, Dark Promises.
Dark Promises is not the first Feehan book I’ve reviewed here (check here for #28, Dark Ghost) and I’ll say again, I am fan of this author. I wait her books eagerness and I’m not afraid to admit that at this point there is nothing she can do that will make me drop the series (except killing Mikhail, Feehan, that is NOT allowed!).
That said, however, I struggled with this book. I’ll tell you why.
The Review ———-
The book follows the path left by Dark Ghost, takes us to the Carpathian Mountains where the series started and shows us some more of the Carpathian world. For those fans of the series, you all know what this world is all about, and for those who don’t, here’s the summarized version: Carpathians are a race of beings that can fly, shapeshift and control nature. They feed on the blood of the humans but they do not kill. The Carpathians are almost extinct because of a particular trait of their race: each member can only have one partner for life. The males are the darkness, the females are the light. If the males do not find their mates in time, they risk being overcomed by the darkness in their souls and turning into a vampire, a mindless killer whose only purpose is to murder humans.
For Dark Promises we have not one, but two parallel stories (I’d go so far as to say there’s 3), which mean we have more than 2 main character. Let’s start with the easy ones, shall we?
Two of the main characters are Fane and Trixie Joanes.
Fane and Trixie are already familiar because of their involvement in Dark Ghost. Fane is the Guardian of the Gates to the mysterious monastery that holds a group of Ancients too close to turning to be in the outside world. These Ancients keep to themselves and seclude themselves in the monastery in the hopes that, if they do succumb to the darkness, they won’t be able to harm anyone before their cellmates end them. Fane is funny and endearing, sexy and with a great sense of humor. Truly, his and Trixie’s pairing was a joy to read and I kept laughing non-stop through their scenes. Trixie is Teagan’s (Dark Ghost lead female) grandmother. She is feisty, sassy, sure of herself and yet vulnerable. She had a very difficult past but she didn’t let it bring her down, and instead made a good life for herself and her family. I really enjoyed reading about her. The problem was, these two didn’t have much time on the spotlight.
That honor belonged to the other main couple (or threesome?).
Gabrielle Sanders and Aleksei are the other two. Aleksei is one of the ancients from the monastery. He is hard, domineering, dangerous and pretty much all we are used the Carpathians to be. Perhaps he takes it a teeny-tiny bit beyond (some hints of BDSM here and there), but nothing too radical. Personally, I had no trouble with him.
Gabrielle was the one who ruined the book for me. Gabrielle, for those who remember her, is sister to Joie, another leading girl, and was turned into Carpathian earlier in the series, after being stabbed almost to death. While she was still a human, she fell in love with Gary Jansen, another human that helped the Carpathian people. Fans were really eager to see how the relationship of these two would end up, specially after Gary was turned a couple of books ago, when he almost die in a fight. Needless to say, expectation was high. The problem is, as I mentioned before, Carpathians have one and only mate for life. They cannot have another or take another, and it’s against their law to take a partner that is not your mate. Gabrielle didn’t get the memo. Her obsession with Gary and with rejecting what she had become bordered on fanaticism, and her childish actions didn’t allow me to empathize with her situation. I kept seeing a three-year-old, spoiled brat set on her favorite toy, without any regard for the damage she left behind. With her selfishness, she hurts Gary, Aleksei and herself. The dynamic of her relationship with Aleksei is shattered at the very beginning because of her obsession with Gary, and sadly, it never recovers.
The rest of the book for these two is all about sex and domination, with Aleksei trying to impose himself on the woman he believes betrayed him, and Gabrielle unable to accept the fact that she was wrong in clinging to Gary as she did. In the middle of it all, Gary remains the saddest victim. He loses everything because of what Gabrielle did, and now is in real danger because of her selfish actions.
The only saving grace of this book was, as I said above, Trixie and Fane. Other than that, it was a no for me.
“One of Many”
Not a book I particularly loved or hated. But not one I’m likely to come back to in the future either.