Book Critique - Dark Melody (The Carpathian Novels #12)

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 Melody is the twelfth book in the longest series, Dark Series, by Christine Feehan which was published in November of 2003. This forms the third book in the trilogy within the series - the first two being Dark Challenge and Dark Fire both written a good two years before this one. Couldn’t find why Christine too so long to write this though. In any case, the plot revolves around Dayan - the lead guitarist of the Dark Troubadors - and Corinne Wentworth - a psychic woman with a weak heart and a tragic past.

Among other Honors and Awards, this book was the Winner for the 2003 PEARL Award for Best Shapeshifter, Winner for the 2003 PEARL Award for Favorite Overall Paranormal and Winner for 2003 Fallen Angels Award for Best Novels of the Year.

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". Now that Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky finds a lifemate in a human female with 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. The series now ventures into another species - Jaguar Species - with the 10th book Dark Symphony.

In her 31st book, Dark Legacy released in September of 2017, Christine had introduced a new Carpathian female, Elisabeta Trigovise - an ancient and sister to Traian Trigovise and thought lost to them. Not sure why Christine brings back her characters and how she ties them together with the various plots, but the mention of Traian Trigovise made me want to re-read the series again since quite a few facts she had brought back in Dark Legacy were lost on me.

Last we read about Dayan was in Dark Fire, the sixth book in the series. Dayan leaves to Canada with Cullen Tucker to get adjusted since all the males around him who have lifemates. Cullen had joined the singing troupe in that same plot when he had braved to go against the Society of Vampire Hunters. Vacationing in Canada, Dayan gets pulled into a small bar where he urges his lifemate to come and save him through his music. In walks Corinne Wentworth, the one who can save him from becoming the predator the likes of his hunt. 

But Corinne comes with her share of secrets, other than having a weak heart. She was a psychic with the powers of telekinesis, a recent widow due to the murder of her husband, John - who was also different like her. So does Dayan has his share of secrets, mainly the Human Society of Vampire Hunters who are bent on killing them. Dayan and Corinne meet at the most wrong moment in their life - with so many chasing them, hunting them and with so much at stake. Will Dayan be able to save her and the baby, and fight the threat towards them is what the rest of the plot is about.

Cullen Tucker who is being protected by Dayan is paired with Lisa Wentworth, Corinne's sister-in-law. That is why perhaps I don’t remember reading about him a lot in the rest of the books the first time around. 

Christine has the Carpathians out in full force in this installment, working together to save Corinne and her baby. Gregori Daratrazanoff and his lifemate Savannah, Jacques Dubrinsky and his lifemate Shea, Julian Savage & his lifemate Desari, Darius Daratrazanoff & his life mate Tempest and Barack & his lifemate Syndil - all join forces together. Christine has a kind of reunion set in here. Almost looks like a reunion book.

This is an emotionally heavy plot written by Christine Feehan although she does still keep the elements of vampires, hunters and all that relates to Carpathians in the plot. I always thought why had Christine wrote the conclusion to the trilogy so many books later. However, when I read the story it doesn’t seem like the story line went too far away in the timeline. 

A few tidbits: Again this book starts including the card inserts that give reader and opportunity to either join a book club and win books, or buy a book and get a few free. There is an advertisement for dorchester publishing at the end of the book enticing readers to join their club and buy books. Although we know now that in 2012 this publishing was acquired by Amazon Publishing and it shut down as dorcehsterpub.

As always Christine leaves a lot of inconsequential details all through the plot. It will be very interesting to see where and when these all surface again. We come across the ever presence Gary Jansen again. We also see Christine bringing back the leopards in this episode - although by this time her first book The Awakening had been released in her Leopard Series. Interestingly enough she speaks of Amur leopards that we again see them in her Leopard novels since her eighth book Wild Cat

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, not yet erotic. Christine has certainly left the readers with so many minute details that they would be craving to read those details becoming important in future plots. Watch this space for more reviews of the next books in the series.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot reveals:

a. Corinne Wentworth is pregnant with her husband John's baby - a girl who is a strong psychic.

b. Julian muses that Gregori and Savannah should be blessed with twin girls who would run amok much to Gregori's suffering. 

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Would love to ask Christine Feehan as to why she didn’t have Barack claim Syndil early on, why make him wait till after Darius makes his clam on Tempest in the sixth book Dark Fire? Also why not a separate book or a novella for Barack and Syndil instead of spreading their story within two books - fifth book Dark Challenge and sixth book Dark Fire?

b. Christine reveals the possibility of more Carpathians being settled in South America in Dark Challenge. 

c. In Dark Symphony, Christine introduces some more facts of Carpathians - the Dragonseeker clan of Carpathians, Wizards and Mages who were one time close with Carpathians but now arch enemies.

d. In Dark Descent, we see quite a few sub-plots: Small details floating around, but I am sure Christine will be collecting them in a bigger plot later. 

i. Gabrielle Sanders and Jubal Sanders are introduced - siblings to Joie Sanders.  

ii. The Sanders siblings and Traian find a huge dragon encased in ice. We met Dominic Dragonseeker; saw Byron and Josef shape-shifting to dragons and mention of mages in Dark Symphony. 

iii. We meet Shadow Warriors - Ghosts of the wizards, lost long ago.

iv. While being tortured, one of the master vampire takes Traian's blood giving the vampire ability to control Traian - although Traian beats him at that control. However, not knowing who that vampire was and where he was, Traian decides to be away from his people. However, I don’t remember this tidbit being explored by Christine in any of the future books. Perhaps that is why she brought Elisabeta Trigovise in the 31st book, Dark Legacy's plot. Or I might have to read the additional 100 pages that Christine included in a later version to know the truth.

3. Unique / Repeat Characters who are not Carpathians but with the possibility of them being expanded by Christine Feehan in future books:

a. Gary Jansen first time introduced in Dark Magic, doesn’t have a story of him yet - 18 years since his character had first been mentioned. Recently Christine announced in her blog on Goodreads that Gary's story has to wait as his lifemate is a child now. I wonder who that child was and if she had already introduced that child in any of the recent books. And if she is basing her on one of her granddaughters' - just like Skyler - and she would wait till the grand daughter would grow in real life before penning a story between her and Gary.

b. In Dark Dream, Sara Marten adopts seven sewer children - three girls and four boys - all with psychic abilities. 

c. Skyler Rose Thompson is first introduced in Dark Legend, as a 14 year old girl who is battered and injured in every way. Above all she is a psychic. We are going to see more of her, but Christine has left enough clues to readers to guess who her lifemate would be.  

d. In Dark Legend, Francesca muses if her child would be one of those rare females since she had perfected the art of living like a human and walking in the sun. Wonder what would the fate of this child would be in Christine's hands.

e. Barry Woods, a reporter in the Dark Legend plot is not meted with justice or purged of the vampire's influence or any more exploration of his mind to understand about the Society of Vampire Hunters by Christine. Perhaps a future character?

f. Corrine Wentworth (lifemate to Dayan) gives birth to a female psychic child - Jennifer.

4. Perils that the Carpathians face:

a. Few children who have born are Males, most not surviving the first year of their life, females are rarely born. Shea Dubrinsky along with Gregori Daratrazanoff are working hard on how to better the food for their children so they survive. She is more interested to study Darius and Antonietta Scarletti's family in the hopes of finding a cure to their species.

b. With Dark Symphony, Christine introduces a new concept while converting a psychic female with Jaguar blood - Antoninetta Scarletti's blind eyes seem to be giving sight back to her. 

c. Vampires are congregating; attacking in coordinated methods; doing a hypnotic dance in hopes to transfix the Carpathian hunters; ability to create a holding spell; able to inject a fast acting poison impacting the nervous system; can cause Carpathians to sever the mental path the Carpathians share; casting a silvery net to capture the hunter in their molecular form; two master vampires running the show together; use animals such as rats, birds and insects to pry on others.

d. Society of Human Vampire Hunters who constantly hunt the Carpathians mistaking them to be Vampires. The Morrison Center for Psychic Research is targeting psychic humans documenting about them to kill them in the end. 

e. The antagonist Vampire was after Sara Marten in Dark Dream, as he needed her help to track the tomb of the master wizard and book of knowledge that will give access to untold power. 

5. Lifemate pairs introduced as the series progresses: Will Christine have a plot for these pairs sometime 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 Belandrake - Eleanor is pregnant in the first book Dark Prince. However in Dark Symphony we see that she has given birth to Benjamin "Benj" and also adopts Josef - son of another Carpathian pair who are lying in ground now, Lucia and Rodaniver.

c. Tienn and Diedre - Diedre is sister of Vlad.

d. Vladimir Dubrinsky and Sarantha - Mikhail and Jacques Dubrinsky's parents - They are shown as dead in Dark Guardian plot.

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

a. Dimitri Tirunul – another ancient Carpathian mentioned briefly for the first time in Dark Desire plot. First introduced almost 15 years ago, we as readers already know that his story would not be until the 25th book in the series. He is a renowned scientist; works for preservation of wolves and guards them in the reservations of Russia; and has a wolf foundation.

b. Dominic Dragonseeker - Introduced in Dark Symphony, with added little details about wizards / mages and a war between them and the Carpathians. He is looking for his sister - Rhiannon Dragonseeker - a powerful mage although just an apprentice, thought to be lost.

c. Josef  and Benjamin "Ben" - First introduced in Dark Symphony.

7. 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 is in Dark Desire and is pregnant as of Dark Melody plot.

b. Savannah Dubrinsky - daughter of Prince Mikhail and Raven Dubrinsky; lifemate to Gregori Daratrazanoff. Her story is in Dark Magic

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. Her story is in Dark Challenge

d. Syndil - lifemate to Barack, both part of the troupe Dark Troubadours, with tremendous healing powers and has an affinity to earth. Her story is spread in two books - Dark Challenge and Dark Fire

e. Francesca Del Ponce - lifemate to Gabriel Daratrazanoff. Her story is told in Dark Legend. She is a powerful healer; has ability to bring peace to anyone who is in her vicinity or by touch; makes stained glass patterns that are specific to a one's need and bring healing to them.

f. Tamara - daughter of Gabriel Daratrazanoff and Francesca Del Pounce, born a few months before the Dark Guardian plot.

8. Geographical / Character / Grammatical / Historical Errors:

a. On Pg. 155, Line 20, it should be "…you damn well…"

b. On Pg. 174, Line 17, it should be "…Corinne to be different…"

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