Book Critique - Dark Gold (The Carpathian Novels #3)

Happy World Book Day!!

For reviews of other books in this series: Go here

Stars: 3.5 / 5

Recommendation: If you like paranormal plots with hint of romance, eroticism and the other world abilities involving immortals and vampires along-side humans with super-abilities, then this is a series to go for.

Dark Gold is the third book in the longest series, Dark Series, by Christine Feehan which was published in April of 2000. This book revolves around Aidan Savage – an ancient Carpathain hunter on the edge – and Alexandria “Alex” Houton – who is brought into a world of total chaos. The book is set approximately 23 years after the events in Dark Desire (My review of the book here).

Carpathians are a powerful and ancient race who are near-immortals living for thousands of years with powers and gifts that no man can fathom. Despite their gifts and extended lifespans, they are at the age of extinction as fewer and fewer children are being borne and far lesser of females. Without their female counterpart aka "lifemates" the male Carpathians lose the ability to feel emotions leaving the males with hard choice: either become vampire or "greet the dawn" (i.e. commit suicide). Now that Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky finds a lifemate in a human female who has immense psychic abilities and is capable of converting, there is hope for all the other Carpathian males who have been holding off from turning into vampires – the very creature that they hunt and kill to save the humans and Carpathians alike.

In the first book, Dark Prince (My review of the book here), we see that Gregori Daratrazanoff  - right hand to Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky - sends Aidan Savage to United States to aid the Carpathians in fighting the Vampires in the San Francisco region. Although close to edge, Aidan keeps his vow in hunting the vampires – the very creatures who were once respectable Carpathians – and keep both the races safe. Little does he know that one such mission would lead him to his other half, his lifemate.

Alexandria “Alex” Houton gets pulled into the world of Carpathians when she gets ready to sacrifice everything, even her life, to protect her brother. But will she see that Aidan had saved them from a hideous fate by bringing her into their world? Will Aidan forgive himself for taking the harsh decision? Will she give him the family he craved so much? Or will Alex have sacrificed herself for nothing? All that and more is what one gets when you traverse through the world of Carpathians spun by Christine Feehan in this book.

Another powerful erotic plot woven by Christine Feehan showing the readers how a human copes being a Carpathian and how the Carpathian handles having a modern woman as his mate. It’s funny sometimes to read the archaic nature of Carpathians who stumble to understand and learn to treat their woman as an equal, considering their ways and methods are centuries old.

Alex struggles hard to retain her human-self when there is no need to, yet the transition of her from Human to Carpathian by way of nature takes on most of the chapters. In some chapters I felt Christine could have reduced that road a bit, although I enjoyed reading it all. :) Christine also has a human competitor for Aidan where it concerns Alex, forcing Aidan to think in the ways of human. It was very entertaining to read how both Alex and Aidan struggle in their own way but eventually find middle ground. They complement each other well in every aspects too – One rescued from being condemned to a hideous life while the other rescuing the one from turning to a hideous life.

We also see that Christine advances 50 years into the current-era with these last two books by bringing in more of the modern-technology in her stories. She really sped up with a giant leap I would say. With this plot she also moves her location from Carpathian Mountains in Romania to San Francisco in USA. Possible that her later books will toggle between both countries. Again the antagonists seem to be acquiring powers that they should not in normal ways acquire. Would be interesting to read how Christine would connect these dots in future books.

On a side note, I see card inserts for free books in this book as well. I don’t think anyone uses this format anymore. Oh I wish one would, it is so nostalgic. Also at the end of the book there is a page highlighting about Dorchester Publishing Company and how to reach them online as well as via phone. Although their website dorchesterpub.com doesn’t seem to be existing anymore, apparently the company also doesn’t exist anymore per Wiki. More about that company here. I tried the 1-800 number and it rings but no one answers it and their mail box is filled too. I guess they are closed for good.

Another powerful plot in the series by Christine Feehan keeping us thoroughly entertained and immersed into the world of Carpathians. Definitely a book to pick for a powerful series that follows and enjoyable to read.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot reveals:

a. Alexandria calls herself as The Walking Dead not realizing that she is different from Vampires. However I remember a TV Show titled The Walking Dead that aired first in 2010 and still going strong. Ironically Christine had coined that term some 10 years before the series actually started. More about the TV Show here.

b. In the first book, Dark Prince we had seen that Gregori demands from Mikhail and Raven to give him a lifemate. In this book we see that she is born and indeed is his lifemate but not being raised by Raven with the knows and works of the Carpathian way of Claiming, he doesn’t claim her but gives her five more years before he claims. He settles in San Francisco area high in mountains since his lifemate was coming there. All these are clear segue for the reader that her next book would be of Gregori.

c. Aidan wonders why five Vampires were drawn to San Francisco when a powerful ancient who was also a hunter resided there. What was their end goal? Perhaps it is revealed in next book.

d. Alexandria feels what Gregori had done – that he had killed someone while taking blood. Instead of turning, he became still powerful. I am curious to see how will Christine expand this while she writes about Gregori, more so to see how she will explain that Gregori hasn’t turned although he had done exactly what a Vampire does right before turning.

2) Sub-Plots:

a. Perils that the Carpathians face:

i. In Dark Desire, Rand mixes some kind of poison in his blood and infects Jacques and Byron which causes them to severe the mental path the Carpathians share. I have to see if in future books Christine elaborates on this and finds a remedy for the Carpathians.

ii. Few children who have born are Males, most not surviving the first year of their life. No one knows why females are rarely born, although now they discover that paring a Carpathain male to a Human psychic female will give them female kids. However, no one knows why most kids don’t survive the first year.

3) Lifemate pairs introduced as the series progresses: Will Christine have a plot for these pairs sometime in future? Since I have read all the books already, I know for sure there isn’t one yet. But hoping she will have some kind of plot around them in future.

a. Eric and Celeste – Celeste is pregnant with child in Dark Prince, but no mention of who they would be in the later books so far.

b. Vlad and Eleanor - Eleanor is pregnant with child in Dark Prince, but no mention of who they would be in the later books so far.

c. Tienn and Diedre

4) Other Carpathians who are waiting for their lifemates as of this book and we meet as the series progresses are:

a. Gregori Daratrazanoff - right hand to Mikhail, a powerful Carpathian healer, and an equally powerful ancient Carpathian that even Mikhail perhaps cannot kill if he turned.

b. Byron Justicano - Jacques’ best friend and would become his right hand if ever Mikhail succumbs. He was tortured and hurt by Rand in the second book, Dark Desire. Will his be the next story by Christine?

c. Julian Savage – Aidan’s twin brother – one of the Golden Twins as they are called - powerful ancient Carpathian who prefers heights and lives alone

d. Dimitri Tirunul – another ancient Carpathian mentioned briefly for the first time in a conversation between Jacques and Shea in Dark Desire plot.

5) Being so many few Carpathian females born, a few females that Christine still manages to sneak in her plots are:

a. Shea O’Halloran – lifemate to Jacques Dubrinsky, first female born after more than 500 years. Her story can be read in Dark Desire.

b. Mikhail and Raven Dubrinsky give birth to a female child who is Gregori’s lifemate.

6) The concept of Claiming their mate in the Carpathian world is so similar to the Swayamvar concept that used to exist in Indian culture for until 100 years ago, mostly in royal families. In this the female who comes to age of marriage is allowed to choose from a slew of men who arrive at the Swayamvar and show-case their wealth and powers. More about that here.

7) Grammatical / Geographical / Location / Character / Historical Errors:

a. On Pg. 15, para three, last but one line, it should be “I think he thinks he might…”

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