Review: Dark Fire

Reviewed by Jen

I am a longtime fan of Christine Feehan. I’ve read almost everything she has ever written and I’ve always loved the Carpathian series.  But I found myself frequently annoyed throughout the course of this book. I don’t remember if I felt this way the first time I read it. But this time around, the book made me very frustrated.

Darius is a Carpathian male who grew up apart from his homeland. When he was only six years old, he lead a group of children away from a massacre in their village and he raised them on his own. Now, hundreds of years later, they are traveling the United States as part of a band.  He lives without color or emotion, and he feels himself nearing the point where he must either face the sun or turn into a vampire. (If you’re not up on the Carpathian mythology, check out my review on Dark Prince.)  But everything changes when his sister hires Tempest as the band’s mechanic.

Tempest has led a hard life. She grew up in foster care and on the streets. She has been abused and now lives as a loner.  She can communicate psychically with animals.  And she has no idea that Carpathians or vampires exist until she meets Darius.  Of course, he knows she is his lifemate right away, which makes it kind of creepy when he keeps talking about how young she looks and how child-like she appears.  But what is so irritating about the book is the way he completely takes over her life.

Yeah, yeah, that’s the Carpathian way. The men always think they know best and have to protect the women. But Darius is like a turbo-Alpha.  Over and over and over, he dismisses her feelings; he overrides her decisions; he forces her to his will.  And then she is mad for a nano-second and forgives him.  He thinks it’s all ok because he knows best.  And frankly, it pisses me off.  It’s not sexy. It’s not romantic.  One time in particular, he brings her into a volcano (don’t ask) to stay the night. She is scared and uncomfortable and tells him clearly and unequivocably that she wants to leave.  So he renders her unconscious and takes away her choices.  Then wakes her up in the morning, or I guess I should say evening, with a stiffy.  And then after their tumble, she realizes what he did, gets mad and then instantly gets over it.

I know it’s not all that different from some of the other installments, but it’s really sticking in my craw. Add to that, the flowery language that’s the hallmark of the series.  Feehan uses the word ”velvet” 49 times in this book and not once is she referring to fabric.  In fact, from now on, I think I’ll end every Carpathian review with a “velvet” word count… and if I’m feeling extra creative, I’ll break it down to include the subcategories of “velvet sheath,” “velvet tip,” and “velvet over iron.”

All this complaining may sound like I hated the book, but perversely, I didn’t.  I actually like the series. I enjoy the world-building, the destined soul-mates and most of the characters.  Clearly it holds some attraction because I keep coming back for more.  4 stars.

Dark Fire
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: October 2001
Publisher: Love Spell

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