Book Critique - Dark Fire (The Carpathian Novels #6)

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 Fire is the sixth book in the longest series, Dark Series, by Christine Feehan which was published in August of 2001. The book forms the second book in the first trilogy within the series where each book has a plot for each of the band members. The first book in this trilogy was the fifth book Dark Challenge, where all these characters were introduced and also seen the story of Julian Savage and Desari Daratrazanoff.

Now this story penned by Christine is for Darius Daratrazanoff - the bodyguard of the singing troupe Dark Troubadours - and Tempest "Rusti" Trine - newly added member of the troupe, a mechanic. The plot is set several months after the events in Dark Challenge. Just like her previous books, this one also earned quite a few awards and honors for Christine including the 2001 PEARL Award, ParaNormal Excellence Awards in Romantic Literature.

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.

As seen in the previous book Dark Challenge (Review here), there is a need of a mechanic to tackle the tour vehicles for the singing troupe Dark Troubadours. Desari Daratrazanoff hires Tempest "Rusti" Trine to do just the job. Little did either would know that she would become Darius Daratrazanoff's lifemate. Darius has his work cut-out. Not only that he has to bring Tempest into his world to be together forever but also he has to fight off the continuing perils from the Society of Human Vampire Hunters. And that and much more is what we see as part of this plot.

Darius no doubt has instant attraction towards Tempest. But Christine describes elaborately how Tempest slowly comes one step at a time into Darius's world. She has a tremendous will albeit looking frail, which is a complement to the brutal strength that Darius possesses. Contrary to the other plots where the female lead moves into the Carpathian world one way or the other, in this Christine showed the resistance that Tempest shows and the way Darius almost succumbs to her resistance. This time around though for the antagonists, Christine has the Society of Human Vampire Hunters than the actual Vampires that Darius fights. The fighting scenes thus were more modern with almost war sequences.

Christine continues to explore the concept of leopard people in this book although more towards shape-shifting ability of the Carpathians and nothing more. Also with so many characters involved, there are quite a few sub-plots that move through the story of Darius and Tempest.

Christine subtly mentions the importance of conversation too through her books. It is obviously seen that the male Carpathians don’t converse as much with each other especially if they had not found a lifemate yet. So most of the time things are learned later than earlier. Perhaps it would help the Carpathians better if they were more united than they were. I am guessing Christine will eventually take a stab at this weak point of Carpathians and remedy it.

Finally Christine gives a reunion between Julian and his twin Aidan Savage, albeit just as a mention in Darius and Tempest conversation. I would have loved to see more of it 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 erotic plot woven by Christine Feehan keeping us thoroughly entertained and immersed into the world of Carpathians. 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. Definitely a book to pick for a powerful series that follows and enjoyable to read.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot reveals:

a. As expected or guessed, Christine pairs Barack with Syndil finally in this plot creating another Carpathian pair. Although I would have loved to see a separate book for these two, even if not a book may be a novella. Both the characters are so charming that it does warrant a separate plot. Don’t you think, Christine? ;)

b. But the question still begs to be answered. Why didn’t Barack claim early on? He could have avoided the incident between Savon and Syndil. This is why I think Barack should have his own story too.

c. Cullen Tucker, a human, joins the band when he braves the Society, goes against them and comes to the troupe to warn them of the evil plans. I don’t remember him much during the first time I read these books, only that Gary Jansen had been a constant through the series. May be this time around I will find more about him.

d. Dayan leaves to Canada with Cullen Tucker to ensure Cullen's safety and also travel a bit to get adjusted with all the males around him who have lifemates. This gives me a pause to think that Dayan's story will be set in Canada. 

2) Sub-Plots:

a. Christine reveals the possibility of more Carpathians being settled in South America as part of a discussion between Julian and Darius in the fifth book Dark Challenge. Another segue into future plots that could be set in South America.

b. Perils that the Carpathians face:

i. In the second book, 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. Vampires are congregating suddenly and attacking in coordinated methods as opposed to their solitary existence posing a tough battle for Carpathian hunters while hunting them.

iv. Vampires also learned a hypnotic dance that they try in hoping to transfix the Carpathian hunters during the battle. 

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

c. Gary Jansen is for the first time introduced in the fourth book, Dark Magic (Review here). Having already read the remaining books I had totally forgotten 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.

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. Will his be the next story by Christine?

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

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

d. Dayan - part of Darius and Desari's family, also members of the singing troupe Dark Troubadours

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 and a natural healer. Her story can be read in Dark Desire (Review here)

b. Savannah Dubrinsky - daughter of Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky and his lifemate Raven Dubrinsky; lifemate to Gregori; who is learning to find the depth of her powers. Her story can be read in the fourth book, Dark Magic (Review here).

c. Desari Daratrazanoff - lifemate to Julian Savage, sister to Gregori and Darius; has the power to sing that could bring peace between humans, animals, birds and Carpathians alike, a voice that could avoid battles if needed. Her story can be read in the fifth book, Dark Challenge (Review here).

d. Syndil - lifemate to Barack, both part of the troupe Dark Troubadours, with tremendous healing powers and has an affinity to earth and talent to play any instrument. Her story is told as part of both Dark Challenge and this book.

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. 231, line 1, it should be "Do you have any…"


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