Book Critique - Dark Hunger (The Carpathian Novels #14)

For reviews of other books in this series: Go here

For review of all books in the anthology: 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 Hunger is the fourteenth book in the longest series, Dark Series, by Christine Feehan which was published in August of 2004, as part of the anthology Hot Blooded. Christine Feehan contributed to this along with three other writers - Maggie Shayne, Emma Holly and Angela Knight. The plot is set in South America and revolves around Riordan De La Cruz - youngest of the De La Cruz brothers and an ancient Carpathian - and Juliette Sangria - a strong psychic and an animal activist.

Dark Hunger is the first in a five-book series within the Dark Series about the South American brothers - who had been sent away by Prince Vladimer Dubrinsky (Prince Mikhail's father) centuries ago to fight Vampires. They settled in South America with trusted humans who take care of their cattle ranch during the day time.

Apart from being listed on several best sellers, this book was awarded the Winner for the 2004 PEARL Awards for Best Anthology and Winner for the 2004 Hughey Awards for Best Anthology.

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. Christine tends to bring back her characters and tie all the inconsequential details that she leaves around in her plots. 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.

Juliette Sangria is an animal activist and enters a secret facility in the thick of South American jungles to rescue endangered species that were being locked there and experimented upon. She finds a man chained and drained of blood to near death instead. She releases him but unexpectedly finds herself bound to him. Riordan De La Cruz is an ancient Carpathian hunter, the youngest of the De La Cruz brothers who was lured into a trap by a master vampire.

After searching and waiting for centuries, he now finds his lifemate in Juliette. However, Juliette is not a human, but altogether a different species. While they both try to figure out about each other, Juliette's sister Jasmine is taken by the most vilest people of her species. It is a race against time to save Jasmine from their clutches for Riordan and Juliette.

Dark Hunger has been released in several versions - in Darkest at Dawn along with Dark Secret (the next book in the Dark series as well as the five-part De La Cruz brothers series) in November of 2011; as a Manga Comic book in October of 2007 published by Berkley. 

True to the title, this is a very very steamy  plot with explicit erotic scenes between Riordan and Juliette. However, as always Christine leaves a lot of inconsequential details all through the plot and beginnings of something more with the series is also seen. It will be very interesting to see where and when these all will surface again. 

In the fifth book, Dark Challenge, Christine revealed the possibility of more Carpathians being settled in South America. Finally we get to read about them starting with this plot.

With this plot Christine Feehan expands the Jaguar species furthermore that she had just touched upon them in the tenth novel Dark Symphony. However she doesn’t have an antagonist actively participating in the plot, we get only few scenes of their presence. 

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.

Short but very eloquently woven paranormal erotic plot by Christine Feehan keeping us thoroughly entertained and immersed into the world of Carpathians. 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. Jasmine Sangria - sister to Juliette - and Solange Sangria - their cousin - are introduced in this plot. Strong psychics from the Jaguar species who could potentially be lifemates to Carpathians just like how Juliette is for Riordan.

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. 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.

c. 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.

d. In Dark Melody, Julian and Savannah but muse that Gregori and Savannah should be blessed with twin girls who would run amok much to Gregori's suffering.

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 - in Dark Melody.

g. MaryAnn Delany is introduced in Dark Destiny, a female with strong psychic powers and also one who works with the battered women and children. She perhaps will be a lifemate to another Carpatian soon.

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; a multigenerational poison that could attack the healers.

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. Vladimer 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.

d. Vikirnoff Von Shrieder - brother to Nicolae Von Shrieder is introduced in Dark Destiny. He is tasked to find a woman who is being targeted by The Morrison Center for Psychic Research -  a woman has a talent to find the past of any object she touches. 

e. De La Cruz Brothers - Rafeal, Manolito, Nicolas and Zacarias - living in South America are introduced in Dark Hunger plot. Although Manolito is headed to Carpathian mountains with fresh news to the Prince about the recent events. Nicolas and Rafeal are in US trying to smooth the path for young orphaned relatives of their family of humans who run their ranch.

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. 71, second line from bottom, it should be "….shouldn't be out by…"


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