Book Critique - Dark Magic (The Carpathian Novels # 4)

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 Magic is the fourth book in the longest series, Dark Series, by Christine Feehan which was published in July of 2000. This book revolves around Gregori Daratrazanoff - most feared Carpathian and right had to Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky - and Savannah Dubrinsky - Daughter of Mikhail and Raven Dubrinsky. The plot is set a few months after the events in Dark Gold (My review of the book here). This has earned quite a few awards for Christine including 2 0f 9 2000 PEARL Awards - Best Shape-Shifter and Best Overall Paranormal Romance. More about her awards and nominations for this book here.

I have signed copy of this book that I bought at a used book store. I felt sad that someone had let go of this book that was signed by the author. I would have kept the signed copies for sure if I had to downsize my library. :)

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 (Review here) we had seen that Gregori demands from Mikhail and Raven to give him a lifemate. And as such their daughter Savannah becomes Gregori's lifemate from the time she was born. In the third book, Dark Gold, we see that Gregori settles in San Francisco area high in mountains since his lifemate was coming there. And that is where the plot begins in this book. After the stipulated time he gives Savannah her freedom, Gregori claims her despite her fears, for the other path would lead to destruction for Gregori.

As Savannah and Gregori find a middle ground in their relationship, they are forced to move from San Francisco to New Orleans so that they can take way the threat of the vampires with them and spare the other Carpathians in the San Francisco area. In the process Savannah learns to accept his dominance and understand him better while Gregori considers her penchant to be an equal and a partner in his life. However, will they be ready enough to fight the threat from the vampire? What more will they learn about the so-called vampire hunters who have threatened the very existence of Carpathians?

In Dark Gold, Christine had mentioned a scene where Alexandria Houton feels what Gregori had done – that he had killed someone while taking blood. Instead of turning him, he became still powerful. I was hoping Christine would elaborate on that and show more to the readers when his story is written. But I didn’t find anything of that sort. Apparently either it slipped through Christine's fingers or she might have left it to be brought up in some other future plot.

Although there is chemistry between Gregori and Savannah, the way Savannah was tied to Gregori even before she was born, did pause me to think about how little choice the Carpathian women have once they were born. Even though they are flaunted in front of all the single Carpathians in the hopes that she would be a true half to one of them, it still gives her little choice if she already destined to be part of someone. What if that person had fallen in love with someone else? Or if she was in love with someone else? Added to that the dominant and protective nature of Carpathian males, leaves very little scope of freedom for these females. Granted that the couples come to a middle ground and worm out the issues, the beginnings of the relationships are always a bit rocky.

Gary Jansen is for the first time introduced in this book. Gergori for the first time feels a bond with a human and extends his hand of friendship, and his respect. Having already read the remaining books I totally forgot when Gary's character was introduced. It has been 18 years that his character has surfaced and I still don’t see a story for him. Not sure what is Christine waiting for but would love to see his story soon.

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.  As always the fight scenes are excellent and love scenes are very romantic. There is repeat paraphrasing of some of the text, but not a lot though.

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. 

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. Gregori sends Julian Savage to aid a woman singer named Desari aka Dara. The society of vampire hunters had targeted both Julian and Desari for being different. A clear segue into the next plot for Christine.

2) Sub-Plots:

a. In the third book, Dark Gold (Review here), Aidan Savage wonders why five Vampires were drawn to San Francisco when a powerful ancient who was also a hunter resided there. Although all those vampires were killed and vanquished will Christine return back to San Francisco to find out what was their original purpose in one of her future plots?

b. Perils that the Carpathians face:

i. In Dark Desire (Review here), 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 Carpathian male to a Human psychic female will give them female kids. However, no one knows why most kids don’t survive the first year.

iii. Gary Jansen creates a potion that would paralyze the Carpathians, but Morrison and his vampire hunters turn it into poison. Carpathians create an anti-dote for the same.

iv. Society of Human Vampire Hunters who constantly hunt the Carpathians mistaking them to be Vampires.

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. 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. Christine hasn’t had his plot immediately after. 

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

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

d. Gabriel and Lucian - two powerful ancient Carpathians who had disappeared after the massive vampire hunting and cleanup dealt by the Carpathian warriors during the Middle Ages.

5) Being so many few Carpathian females born, a few females that Christine still manages 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 (Review here)

b. Savannah Dubrinsky - daughter of Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky and his lifemate Raven Dubrinsky. She is now lifemate to Gregory Daratrazanoff.

6) The concept of Claiming their mate in the Carpathian world is so similar to the Swayamvar concept that used to be existing 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. 27, Mikhail is spelt as "Mikhael" in the last but one para.

b. On Pg. 218, line 12, there is a repeat of the phrase "one of".

c. On Pg. 244, line 8, it should be "….when I left the…". "felt" is printed instead.

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