WTF Review: Dark Blood by Christine Feehan

dark bloodReviewed by Jen

This is easily the very worst book I have read all year.  It is actually one of the worst books I have read, ever.  There are so many things wrong with it, I barely know where to start.  From the plot progression, to the relationship, to the sex, it was all just bad.  Even worse was the writing itself.

This is the third book in the sub-trilogy featuring the Lycans.  The hero here is Zev Hunter, the Lycan who befriended Dimitri’s brother Fen and helped hunt the vampire-lycan hybrids.  The heroine is Branislava, one of those Dragonseeker sisters who was locked away in the cave by her evil father Xavier for all of those years.  (If you are familiar with the series at all, you know who I am talking about.  If you aren’t, do yourself a favor and don’t start now.)  As the story begins, Zev is mortally injured and the only way he can survive is to convert him into a Carpathian.   Branka ties her spirit to his in order to help him through the difficult recovery.

I hit my first problem almost right out of the gate: the repetition. By page 11, we had already heard four times that Zev was an “elite hunter.” Over the course of the book, I would dare to say that we are reminded of this no less than two dozen more times.  Just as often, we’re told that Branka smells (and apparently tastes) like cinnamon-honey.  That brings me to one of my favorite quotes  (and by favorite, I mean cringe-worthy): …his tongue plunged deep and drew the cinnamon honey he craved from her body. It was warm and thick, like molasses… Ew.

Anyway, um, repetition.  Zev is mixed blood. Reminding us once or twice, ok. Reminding us 874,000 times, not so much.  Also that sangue rau = bad; han ku pesak kaikak = good.  WTF does that mean, you ask?   It means “guardian of all.” The book also explains that 874,000 times.  If I were to have banged my head against the wall every time I read it, for instance, I would be dead and there would be brains splattered across my living room.

This brings me to another point: the Carpathian language. Apparently, Christine Feehan finds it very cool that she has made up her own language with the Carpathian people. It takes up a good portion of the 30-something page appendix.  But beyond that, she sprinkles it in generously throughout the book. It’s pure filler.  Additional filler can be found in the numerous chants and spells which are hard to take seriously as badass when they all rhyme like 2nd grade poetry.

The book is boring.  The relationship development is non-existent. The hero and heroine were a forgone conclusion before the story even began. There is no conflict between them, just copious amounts of bad sex.  As much as I struggled through other parts of the books, I think the sexual elements were the worst.  Zev uses angry sex to punish Brankie. He forces her to her knees and shoves himself in her mouth at least two or three times.  But perhaps, the most unsettling is when he has sex with her body while she unable to move during the daylight.  We are constantly told Branka is ok with all of these things, but this reader is most definitely not.  I was creeped out and more than a little disturbed.

There is a danger plot, which you might think could possibly give you a decent alternative to the romance, but you would be wrong.  Remember Xavier, the villain mage from several books back?  Well, he is dead, so instead the villain is his identical brother no one knew about ever.  The best part?  His name is Xaviero.  He is exactly like Xavier (but worse of course) except that there is an “o” on the end of his name.  And don’t worry, there is a third identical brother named Xayvion left at the end in case we need a bad guy for the next book.

I cannot express to you how hard it was to wade through this book.  But it was so bad that I felt like I needed to finish it, so I could adequately warn you about it.  I have read 26 books in this series. I will never read one again.  Save your money and if you see this book on the shelf, turn around, and run –don’t walk– to your nearest exit.  You will thank me later.

Rating: F

*ARC Provided by Berkley

Click to purchase: Amazon

Dark Blood
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Berkley


  1. Grace Lertora says:

    I just finished Dark Slayer and enjoyed it thoroughly. Yes it had a bit of repetition especially how wonderfullyTatijana, smelled, looked and felt, how great a warrior Razvan was, how strong, gentle and so on. After the first few descriptions it kept being repeated so I would just ahead and get to the story.
    Thanks for a fun read, just a few less repetitions would be great. Grace

  2. Wow you really have a skewed view…he did not use angry sex to punish her, he was angry yes but he was reaffirming their bond. As to Xaviero and Xayvion, you lack creativity and imagination if the story line bothered you. Xavier was a high mage and Feehan did a good job explaining how no one knew of his brothers. It’s ridiculous to think even a higj mage as he was wouldn’t have had help achieving all he did…we already saw him use others to gain more power, why is it so hard for you to follow the storyline with an open mind?

    • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

      I did not enjoy the story for the many reasons I outlined in the review. I am glad you enjoyed it more than I did. But we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

  3. I appreciate seeing so many reviews on different books but it seems to me that the more “dominating” the male is and “weak” the female is the more of a problem people (and I do mean that as a blanket term) have with it. From the first book we see the mindset and the personality traits and upbringing of the male of the species. That being said it s a romantic genre. There will be times that it is cheesy and repetitive however the author repeating the terms sangrue rua and Han ku kaikak was due to the fact that they were trying to convince beings so set in their own ways that there was a difference. Now, I could very well be wrong but that is the beauty of opinions. I appreciate the reviews and hope that more will come. With so many people being unhappy with how this series has progressed I hope they find more books that fit what they enjoy.

  4. candykiller says:

    I’m sorry but I disagree, I really enjoyed this book. Yes, the differences between sangrue rua and Han ku kaikak were repeated several times, but like domi says, it was to explain it to the other characters in the book. not for our benefit. The other characters had to be convinced and to do that, they had to say the names and explain the differences, repeatedly. This book had more of a bondage/dominance feel to it and that is how I saw the scene were branka couldn’t move, and she ENJOYED it. if both parties enjoy it, that is between them. All her books have different styles of sex. To me that is what keeps them interesting.

  5. I agree with you. This wasn’t my most favorite of her books. Things did get repetitive. The storyline the triplets (high mages) felt a little too convenient. Also, I wondered where Natalya was. If they needed dragonseeker women with mage abilities, she should have been part of the group. I haven’t read the dark wolf, so maybe there is something that I missed.

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