The Carpathian world has gotten a little more complicated lately. What was once a series focused almost completely on an individual romance in each book, picked up broader, ongoing arcs in later installments. Mages, jaguars, and dragons joined the mix. Longtime mysteries were finally solved. But Christine Feehan is taking a step back from all that in Dark Predator.
As the book begins, Zacharias de la Cruz is ready to end his own life. He is unable to fight the darkness within him any longer. But he is undeniably drawn to one of his properties first. There, he sees Marguarita, the young woman made mute and nearly killed by a vampire in the last book. He considers her to be a fine choice for his last vision before death. Marguarita isn’t having that, though. She realizes what he is doing and despite his mental protests, she saves his life. And that is the beginning of their journey to becoming lifemates.
The romance in this book was slow in coming. One third of the way through and our couple hadn’t even kissed… a bit unusual for a book in this series. Even stranger, the word “velvet” didn’t make an appearance until page 101 in my ebook. Unheard of. But just because the “velvet” count was low — Feehan kept up with her reputation for repetitive themes. Zacharias is dangerous, dangerous, dangerous. And “predator” was the word of hour, used in some form 54 times in the course of the book. But I digress.
In what’s become the standard for the series, Zacharias is the darkest Carpathian ever. (Aren’t they all?) But he is so close to the edge, that the whole lifemate business doesn’t work quite right for him. In fact, it takes some time before he even realizes that Marguarita is his fated mate. He is violent, cruel at times, and ridiculously overbearing… giving the Daratrazanoff men a run for their money in the domineering department. And Marguarita just takes it. She feels guilty for ruining his chance to meet the sun, at first. Later, of course, she experiences those lifemate ties. But it’s still alot to accept that she would essentially give up the reigns of her life to him so quickly. I guess if you have a male lead who is that dominating, a relationship won’t work without a female willing to be submissive.
So like I said in the beginning, the story is kind of a throwback in the sense that it is all about the relationship and conflict directly surrounding our couple. All the side stories of recent books are essentially ignored. I kind of missed them. The love story was ok, but at times Zacharias and his angst were just too much. It was also really slow in the beginning, with more drawn out descriptions than I cared to read. On the plus side, I finally got the answer as to why a bunch of brothers from the Carpathian Mountains ended up with Hispanic names. (It’s been bugging me since this family has been introduced.)
I’m kind of curious who will be featured in the next book. There is no obvious set-up that I can see.
Dark Predatorby Christine FeehanRelease Date: September 6, 2011Publisher: Berkley