Dark Legacy by Christine Feehan

dark legacy

In a thrilling Carpathian novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan, a woman fights to free herself from the grip of the vampire trying to possess her…
In a beautiful compound hidden away from the world, Emeline Sanchez tries to blunt the pain that has wracked her body ever since her terrifying ordeal in the labyrinth beneath the city—when she was forced to exchange blood with an evil master vampire.

Now, it’s his voice that haunts her…that calls to her in the dark…that never lets her rest. And while the children that she helped to free from his clutches struggle to heal, watched over by their Carpathian protectors, Emeline knows one thing: She must sacrifice herself to keep them all from harm…

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Dark Legacy is the 27th book in the Dark series by New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan. This series has been hit and miss for me for the last few years – to the point that I no longer buy them but wait until I can borrow the newest from the library – however this book is definitely my favourite from the “modern era” of Carpathian romance.

In many ways, Dark Legacy felt like a fresh breath of air and turned some of the more repetitive plot points around. The author has always blended fantasy and science fiction with romance, but romance was the key driving factor of every story and the genre in which books were categorize. I feel like this story almost turned the corner to have fantasy driving the story rather than the romance. I don’t mean this to be a slight against the author, because there was tons of heat between Dragomir and Emeline, but their relationship was not the driving factor in DL in my opinion.

Some criticism that I have read in the recent past of Feehan is that her books have too much sex in them and not enough plot. This book is certainly more plot heavy than previous works and the couple doesn’t jump into bed until the eleventh chapter. I like how they grew into a couple from first meeting and how the author developed their relationship amid a host of secondary characters. This book didn’t contain the usual isolate couple for half the book format that too many previous books employed and I actually wish that certain secondary characters had a little more interaction with the couple rather than only serving their purpose during battle scenes.

I loved that Dark Legacy gave us regular readers new insight into the Carpathian community as a whole, including differences between how they raise children and how humans raise children. Some readers might take issue with some of these finer points or accuse the author of heavy-handed heroes, but the reality is that they are a different species, and for long-time readers, the idea of these ancients blending into a modern world they have little experience with is ludicrous. It is much easier for the woman to adapt to a new lifestyle when she has only lived twenty or thirty years than a male who has lived 2000. The interaction between the community is important when they are spread out across the world and every Dark book is filled with so many battle scenes.

Another change that I loved is the author spent noticeably less time reminding the reader of previous plot points, characters and rules in this fantasy universe. Feehan usually writes her series so that a reader can pick up any book without necessarily starting with the first in the series. While I can understand the business acumen behind that decision, it is so repetitive for fans to have to recap in every book, especially at this point when most of her series have been on-going for so long. There was very little regurgitation of Carpathian/Vampire rules in Legacy and I hope that this continues.

I fervently hope that they next character to receive a book is Elisabeta, who was introduced in Legacy, I think she offers the best opportunity to read an old-school Carpathian romance with the D/s undertones I usually crave in my romance.

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xx

Fatal Harmony by Anne Malcom

fatal-harmony

I may be the villain of the story, but at least I get a leading role.
Evil is a term thrown around history and literature as if it’s something so easily definable. A concept to fight against.
Evil doesn’t exist.
Neither does ‘good.’
Vampires do, though.
I just happen to be one.
I’ve cruised through the centuries managing to avoid all the wars, supernatural and human, but still going to all the best parties.
I would say I avoided bloodshed, but it’s kind of part of the whole ‘vampire’ thing.
I’ve lived on the fringes of a society that considered cruelty and sadism favorable character traits for almost five hundred years. Now I’m in the middle of a war that might just put my nonbeating heart in a lot of danger.
Battles, I can handle.
The impossible attraction between me and the vampire slayer, not to mention the penetrating gaze of the king of our race, on the other hand?
I might not get out undead.

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Fatal Harmony is the first book in a brand new series by Anne Malcom, who is one of my favourite authors. She normally writes biker romance set in California, so a contemporary fantasy series about vampires, witches, werewolves, demons and slayers is quite the departure. I try to trust authors I’ve been following for a while though, and I always want to support them, so I had this pre-ordered on Amazon as soon as the link went live and read it the day it downloaded to my kindle.

I am so glad I made this decision. Not so glad about the one to stay up reading until 3 am just so I could finish book. Facepalm! I really need to start campaigning my work to provide paid “book days” to staff. I do work in a library after all. It is an expectation that we read and often. Let’s just call them professional development days, shall we?!

First off, Fatal Harmony is FUNNY! I love Isla. She could be my best friend. She always has a quip or a quick one-liner and is heavily influenced by the entertainment industry, one of the things that makes her so different from the rest of the vampire race. She is fashionable, a self-made billionaire and hard-working CEO who is incredibly sarcastic but not in an unkind way. Isla is unassuming. She is one of the best-connected and powerful of all vampires, due to her genealogical lineage and friendships with other otherworldly beings, but spurns the aristocracy and politics of her own race.

Malcom provides a fresh perspective on vampire literature. I am so sick of reading vampires but I love her take on them. They don’t sparkle. And they aren’t “turned” humans.

Vampires are their own race created by the gods in the dawn of time, just like witches and werewolves. And humans. Baby vamps are born to vampire parents and grow up remarkably human-like, until they reach the age of sexual maturity and undergo a transformation into vampirism … much like a second stage of puberty. Every few hundred years, vampire women experience an “awakening” for one year, in which their body basically wakes up and is able to procreate.

Malcom’s world is well thought out. All of her otherwordly explanations make sense to me which is incredibly important because I have a difficult time suspending disbelief while reading. I need to feel that the relationships and rules of a society are “believable” even in fantasy.

Along with the POV character Isla, we also meet a wide range of other characters. Her best friend is a bad-A witch with coven problems and her “not a side-kick” second-class vampire friend (vamp mom, human dad) has hidden depth. The King of the vamps is seriously scary and completely intrigued by our dear Isla, which is even scarier. He is one sexy and powerful potential relationship. I cannot wait to learn more about him in the sequel.

Finally, vampires’ mortal enemies Slayers, are back in town and one in particular has some pretty big secrets. And sex appeal to spare.

Life is gonna be interesting.

Fatal Harmony is the first book in the Vein Chronicles. The second is in progress but no word yet on a release date. Sounds like 2017 though!

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xx

Dark Promises by Christine Feehan – review

I have been a fan of Christine Feehan for fourteen some years now, which most certainly makes her the author I have been reading for the longest period of time. But the past few years, I have gone off her megahit “Dark” series which I began with. They seemed (to me) to have become repetitive and somehow less tangible when compared to most of her other series. The Sea Haven and Ghostwalker series are much more human in my experience and I find it easier to relate to those female protagonists.

Enter Gabrielle in Dark Promises.

dark promises

Blurb, courtesy of the author’s website.

Gabrielle has had enough of battles, of wars, of seeing the man she’s engaged to nearly lose his life when it isn’t even his fight. Once Gary 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 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 onto the path of a desperate woman 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.

** Note, the author posts the first chapter of every book on her website, if you want to check it out before deciding whether to purchase.

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What absolutely made this story for me was Gabrielle and her refusal to accept the new Carpathian life that fate has set before her. She isn’t in love with her stranger of a lifemate (Aleksei), clings desperately to beau Gary and quite seriously considered suicide before dedicating herself to reinventing her life.

In all the previous Dark books the heroine has rather easily accepted the new life thrust upon her. The overbearing lifemate, the eternal life not also granted to loved ones, the strange new rules and customs of an ancient and foreign species, career loss, the necessities of drinking blood and sleeping underground (aka getting buried alive every night) to survive …. these all seem reasonable given the emotional and physical intimacy between lifemates, at least to the majority of heroines.

Well I call bullshit.

As fun as it can be to read about, much like the Hunger Games, this is one world that I would prefer NOT to jump into. I think it would actually be rather traumatizing to become a Carpathian and I highly doubt I would adjust as quickly as most of the leading ladies. And I like to picture myself as said lead, I do it unconsciously as I read, so it is important that I am able to relate to her.

Savannah was already Carpathian, although she had trouble accepting her lifemate at first. Lara and Alexandra notable resisted. But nearly 30 books on, true denial of the lifemate bond has been few and far between. If you follow the series, you know that Gabrielle was actually “turned” several books ago to save her life, well before meeting Alexei, but she hasn’t made any attempts to join Carpathian society. She can’t even feed herself or tuck herself in underground in the morning. She clings to her human life and human mind with every bit of strength and tenacity she possesses.

I think her reaction would be most closely aligned with my own of all the heroines introduced so far. It was refreshing to see a “normal” woman with regular old problems trying to fit into this world and failing so desperately at first. It was also awesome (in a bittersweet way) to watch Alexei fail so miserably in stimulating affection in Gabrielle for the first while. The series is set upon the basis that they are two halves of the same whole, but in the mean-time, they are still complete strangers who have many misunderstandings and hurts standing between them and happiness.

I would love to see Christine one day write a book where the heroine comes with a few kids who aren’t so happy with the Carpathian lifestyle (and danger) their Mom is dragging them into. Maybe with a biological Dad in the background that shares custody.

A lot of fans might not share my dream – they’re more escapist readers who want the fantastical adventure and fairy-tale romance – but I love to read tales that are bound to the human world, and what could be more human than our complicated familial ties and emotions that bind our lives to one another.

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xx