Book Critique - Dark Slayer (The Carpathian Novels #20)

For reviews of other books in this series: Go here

Stars: 4 / 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. And this book is by far the best in the series so far. Box of tissues recommended while reading.

Dark Slayer is the twentieth book in the longest series, Dark Series, by Christine Feehan which was published in September of 2009. The primary plot centers between Razvan Dragonseeker - most feared Carpathian male and branded criminal - and Ivory Malinov - betrayed by her own and a slayer of vampires now. The plot is set right after the events of Dark Curse. This book also is listed on some of the bestseller lists, and has been Number 1 on New York Times Bestseller List.

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 other  species - Jaguar Species (with the 10th book Dark Symphony), Dragonseekers (with the 16th book Dark Demon and Werewolves (with the 18th book Dark Possession).

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.

Razvan Dragonseeker was introduced first in Dark Secret as an antagonist who had joined the dark side. Condemned as a criminal and as the most hated Carpathian, he evolved in the subsequent plots considerably. All alone in the world and being the most feared and hated, after successfully freeing himself finally from Xavier, he resorts to seek the dawn.

Ivory Manliov, the youngest and only sister of the Malinov brothers and to De La Cruzes as well, was betrayed by her own and left to die centuries ago. And now she has risen as the dark slayer, most feared by the Vampires and yet under high suspicion by the Carpathians. And she finds Razvan at her doorstep just before he is seeking the dawn.

With no other choice but to save him, since he is her lifemate, she takes him in to her pack. Two damaged people who had suffered so much come together finally to chalk out a life of their own. And in the process aid the Carpathians were needed even though they fear them and do not trust them.

Dark Slayer was the first book of Christine Feehan and the first book in the Carpathian series that I had read. Borders, a bookstore back then, was going out of business and I was looking for new authors to explore. So I picked a few new authors in the sale that Borders had. Of them I liked Christine Feehan's book most and thus continued with her series.

In fact of all of the books in this series so far, this is the best written one. Two outcast souls are brought together and become extraordinary as their love story blossoms. Their introduction to each other is so open and honest, neither hide what they are from each other and expose all their secrets in just a few lines. The way Razvan accepts his life as it is without complain, the way Ivory supports him full-on with her tenacious courage, and still they strive together for the better of Carpathians is amazing. 

Razvan and Ivory show the readers the joy of taking every moment and living in it with everything in them, the satisfaction in accepting things as they are and be peace with it. I have a very close friend who lives her life like that. And I have learned to do so as well. That is another reason why this book is so close to me. 

I loved every single bit of the plot. Both Ivory and Razvan had suffered a lot, tested time and again by the Carpathians. So I was really glad to see them given a very happy ending. Their story gave me so many tears while reading it and I do recommend to use a box of tissues while reading this book. I can read this book any number of times and never get tired of it.

I was pleased to see Gary Jansen in action, working side by side with the Carpathians in fighting the vampires in the battle. Although Christine kind of showed the readers why Gregori has silver eyes in Dark Curse, if my memory serves right, in Dark Gold, Alexandira comments that Gregori had done some unthinkable sin and suffers for it. I always wondered if Christine would bring that back. And now in this plot she makes Gregori finally voice it. Another breadcrumb came to a closure.

It is so interesting how Christine paired. Specially two female children of Razvan to Ivory's De La Cruz brothers. In India we had a custom, and still practiced sometimes, that one's child can marry one's wife's brother. Which is the exact same scenario that Christine spun here for Razvan's children - Colby and Lara.

A few tidbits: 

Christine thanks her friend Cheryl Wilson again in this book. Yes, the very same C. L. Wilson of the Weathermages of Mystral series. This book misses the hard card inserts that gives reader an opportunity to either join a book club and win books, or buy a book and get a few free. Since I have the hard cover version perhaps these inserts are not part of hard cover versions.

The family chart and lifemate healing chant appear in the beginning of the book. The appendix sections are back in - Appendix I about Carpathian Healing Chants and Appendix II about the Carpathian Language.

Christine provides a jigsaw puzzle of the book cover for this book as well on her website. It is quite interesting. You too can solve it here. And she has the Carpathian lullabies and the chants also in MP3 format on her site.

By far one of my favorite book in the series. Another powerful paranormal romantic 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. Ivory Malinov has a pack of wolves that she had converted them to Carpathian - Raja & Ayame, Blaez & Gynger, Farkas & Rikki.

b. The book of spells by Xavier was found in Dark Demon by Natalya Shonski and her lifemate Vikirnoff Von Shreider. However, Christine hasn’t yet put together a plot to destroy it. 

c. Lara being mage could detect the microbes that Xavier has created specifically so they would inject the males and through them to their lifemates and through them to the kids and harm the kids eventually. At the end of Dark Curse, Nicolas and Lara hold off on the conversion of Lara until they find a way to detect the microbes. In this plot, Lara gets converted when a vampire attacks them and nearly mutilates her. Ivory seeks aid of Mother Earth to heal Lara for her to be able to give birth. 

d. Ivory shows the Carpathians a way to defeat the microbes and heal the male, female and the unborn from Xavier's spell.

e. Finally it is confirmed that Razvan is father to Colby Jansen - lifemate to Rafael De La Cruz, Lara Calladine - lifemate to Nicolas De La Cruz and Skyler Rose - lifemate to Dimitri Tirunul.

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? 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 Descent, we see quite a few sub-plots, more meat for future books. 

i. Gabrielle Sanders and Jubal Sanders are siblings to Joie Sanders.  As of Dark Demon plot they reside in Carpathian Mountains taking care of the kids during the day, whom Sarah Marten and Falcon have adopted. Gabrielle is turned to Carpathian in Dark Demon plot and tied to Vikirnoff Von Shrieder for all time. In Dark Celebration it is revealed that Joie Sanders, her siblings and parents are from pure Jaguar blood-line. And that all of them have dormant Jaguar blood in them.

c. In Dark Celebration, we see quite a few sub-plots, more meat for future books. 

i. Quite a few Carpathian women are shown pregnant - Tempest (lifemate to Darius Daratrazanoff), Sara Marten (lifemate to Falcon).

ii. The plot also reveals a possibility of another powerful Carpathian lineage who had ability to heal earth, water, plants, ability to regrow plants with rich nutritious soil all around, aiding in the birth of Carpathians. Syndil is last surviving descendant.

iii. More about Jansen and Chevez offsprings - Perhaps a budding romance between Josef - Byron's nephew - and Ginny - Colby's step-sister; that Paul and Ginny have Jaguar blood in them by way of their mother. Although Paul is tied to Nicholas De La Cruz by blood bond since Dark Secret plot.

iv. As of this plot, Traian Trigovise resides in the Carpathian Mountains. So we assume that the threat to him by the vampire is removed. And now I am curious to see how Christine shapes Elisabeta Trigovise, Traian's sister whom we saw first in the 31st book, Dark Legacy's plot. I still have to read the additional 100 pages she added to Dark Descent plot later on

d. In Dark Possession, it is revealed that MaryAnn Delany, lifemate to Manolito De La Cruz, is a werewolf and now a carpathian with werewolf capabilities hidden beneath.

e. Raven is pregnant with a boy as of Dark Curse plot.

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. In Dark Celebration, it is revealed that he is Colby and her step siblings uncle - their mother's brother- and that he has Jaguar blood in him albeit dormant.

b. In Dark Dream, Sara Marten adopts seven sewer children - three girls (Emma, Chrissy, Blythe) and four boys (Travis, Jase,) - all with psychic abilities. The other two boys names yet to be known.

c. 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.

d. Barry Woods, a reporter in the Dark Legend plot doesn’t have a closure like other reporters in other plots. Perhaps a future character?

e. Jasmine Sangria - sister to Juliette - and Solange Sangria - their cousin - are introduced in Dark Hunger plot. Strong psychics from the Jaguar species who could potentially be lifemates to Carpathians just like how Juliette is for Riordan. As of this book's plot, Jasmine is pregnant. And Solange is targeted for the Jaguar men and the vampires / mages for her royal blood.

4. Perils that the Carpathians face:

a. Children born rarely survive their first year, and with female born very rarely. Shea Dubrinsky along with Gregori Daratrazanoff are working hard towards a solution.

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; using hypnotic dances and holding spells; injecting 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 hunters in their molecular form; master vampires running together; use animals to pry on others; a multigenerational poison that could attack the healers, fighting the master mage Xavier (introduced in Dark Demon plot), ingest parasites so their blood can differentiate between vampires and carpathian males.

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 and jaguar females, documenting about them to kill them in the end. 

e. Malinov Brothers are introduced in this Dark Secret plot; they were sent to Asia by Vladimir Dubrinsky to fight vampires, instead they become the very thing that they were sent to kill - Kirja Manilov killed by Rafael De La Cruz with aid from Vikirnoff Von Shrieder in Dark Secret; Maxim Malinov killed by Mikhail Dubrinsky in Dark Celebration; Ruslan Manilov is the eldest of them; Sergey Malinov introduced in this plot.

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 them in the books after.

b. Vlad and Eleanor Belandrake - 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 as of Dark Guardian plot.

e. Soren - a half Carpathian and half mage - and Samantha, a human - Natalya and Razvan's parents and dead as of Dark Demon 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. He is lifemate to Skyler Rose.

b. Dominic Dragonseeker - Introduced in Dark Symphony, with added little details about wizards / mages and a war between them and the Carpathians. As of Dark Curse plot, finally knowing what happened to his sister, Dominic ingests the parasitic vampire blood and leaves the Carpathian mountains to the heart of the Morrison Center for Psychic Research to kill the vampires and get the data from the center.

c. Remaining De La Cruz Brothers - Zacarias - living in South America are introduced in Dark Hunger plot along with Riordan. Riordan, Rafael, Manolito and Nicolas find lifemates in Dark Hunger, Dark Secret, Dark Possession and Dark Curse respectively.

d. Tiberiu Bercovitz - an ancient mentioned in Dark Celebration plot. He was known to be amazing with weapons. 

e. Luiz, a Jaguar converted to Carpathian by Manolito De La Cruz in Dark Possession. 

f. Andre - an ancient Carpathian who keeps mostly to himself, introduced first in Dark Curse plot. 

g. Tariq Asenguard - an ancient Carpathian, who was sent to North America by Vlad, introduced first in Dark Curse plot.

h. Matias, Lojos and Tomas - ancient Carpathians and siblings, first introduced in this plot. 

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, a natural healer. Her story is in Dark Desire.

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 to all beings. 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 and quilts that are specific to one's need and bring healing to them..

f. Rhiannon - a Dragonseeker who was kidnapped by the powerful mage, Xavier, eventually giving birth to triplets - two daughters and a son - with Xavier who had killed her lifemate. Natalya and Razvan are descendents of that son. She was murdered by Xavier centuries ago.

g. Natalya Shonski - lifemate to Vikirnoff Von Shrieder. She is part human, part mage and part Dragonseeker. She also has the tigress inside he and has ability to see the past of anything that she touches.

h. Ivory Malinov - Lifemate to Razvan Dragonseeker, sister to the Malinov and De La Cruz brothers, ability to weave counteracting spells to Xavier's. Her story is in this plot.

i. Lara Calladine - lifemate to Nicolas De La Cruz. She is part human, part Carpathian and part Dragonseeker; and a daughter of Razvan Dragonseeker. Her story is in Dark Curse.

j. Branislava "Bronnie" Dragonseeker and Tatijana Dragonseeker - First introduced in Dark Descent, Twin Dragons (Green and Red respectively), great aunts to Lara Calladine, aunts to Natalya and Razvan, rescued from Xavier's clutches finally in Dark Curse.

k. Skyler Rose Thompson is first introduced in Dark Legend, as a 14 year old girl psychic human female who is battered and injured in every way. In Dark Celebration it is revealed that she is lifemate to Dimitri Tirunul. In this plot it is confirmed that she is Razvan's daughter and that she is part human, part Dragonseeker. 

8. Next Generation Carpathian male and female kids:

a. Tamara - daughter of Gabriel Daratrazanoff and Francesca Del Pounce, born after the Dark Legend plot.

b. Josef  and Benjamin "Ben" Belandrake - Carpathian male kids, first introduced in Dark Symphony. Nephews to Byron Justicano.

c. Corrine Wentworth (lifemate to Dayan) gives birth to a female psychic child - Jennifer - in Dark Melody.

d. Stefan Kane Dubrinsky - Shea and jacques Dubrinsky's son born in Dark Celebration plot.

e. Anastasia Daratrazanoff and Anya Daratrazanoff - twin girls of Savannah and Gregori Daratrazanoff, born in this plot.

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