Book Critique - Dark Lycan (The Carpathian Novels # 24)

For reviews of other books in this series: Go here

Stars: 3 / 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. But for one thing, the plot all in all is a good read.

Dark Lycan is the twenty fourth  book in the longest series, Dark Series, by Christine Feehan which was originally published in September of 2013. The primary plot centers on Fenris "Fen" Dalka - an ancient Carpathian who has returned to the Carpathian Mountains - and Tatijana Dragonseeker - great aunt to Lara Calladine, aunts to Natalya and Razvan. The plot brings back the series to Carpathian Mountains and the little village at the base of these mountains, and set a year or so after the events in Dark Storm. 

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". After Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky finds a lifemate in a human female with psychic abilities, 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 all beings. The series now ventures into other  species - Jaguar Species (with the 10th book Dark Symphony), Dragonseekers (with the 16th book Dark Demon) and Lycans (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.

Branislava "Bronnie" Dragonseeker and Tatijana Dragonseeker were first introduced in the 11th book, Dark Descent, as twin dragons (Red and Blue respectively), who were held as prisoners in ice caves by Xavier, the great mage. In the 19th book Dark Curse, they are rescued from Xavier's clutches by Nicolas De La Cruz and his lifemate Lara Calladine. They are great aunts to Lara Calladine, aunts to twin siblings - Natalya Shonski and Razvan Dragonseeker.

Although after Dark Curse, both of them have been below ground healing from the effects of centuries of Xavier's torture. Finally Christine begins their story in this book, with Tatijana Dragonseeker first. This also forms the first book in the second trilogy within the series. The first trilogy were the 5th book Dark Challenge, 6th book Dark Fire and the 12th book Dark Melody. This book also forms a precursor to the long awaited story of Sklyer and Dimitri. 

After years of being a prisoner and tormented, Tatijana trusted no one except her sister Bransilava. She wanted to explore the world free, and live on her own terms. Not become a lifemate to another Carpathian who would tell her what to do or not to do. Obviously knowing how over protective and dominant the Carpathian men were, if I were in her shoes I would perhaps be the same. One of her such explorations in the little village, puts her in path of Fenris "Fen" Dalka, who instantly makes her aware of everything she wants to avoid being aware of as a lifemate.

Fen had come back to the Carpathian Mountains to ensure his younger brother was safe. But he had his dangers following him, that could bring threat not only to his lifemate, whom he found in Tatijana, but also perhaps to the Carpathian species itself. Tatijana is a mage's daughter, a Dragonseeker and a Carpathian; so she isn't beside without powers of her own. Together they battle the unknown, to stop an ensuing war and also to find a way for them to live in two worlds.

From Dark Predator onwards, the repeat paraphrasing of several text and scenarios of the plot is seen in Christine's books. I had asked her once when I met and she mentioned that since the books come once or twice a year, she repeats the basic ritual and about Carpathians again and again so readers get the gist of it. However I see that sometimes she has repetition of the characters feelings and thoughts over and over.

So much of Mages, Jaguar and Carpathians we had read, but very little of Lycans so far in Christine's plots. This book offers a lot more of story for Lycans and their indifference towards other species. The second trilogy does give readers a new thread in the Carpathian series keeping to from being routine. Some questions around Dimitri's passion for wolves also is answered. Readers also get the mages revisited in this making them miss the Jaguars - the only species not touched in this plot. 

Christine introduced us to Dimitri's brother Demyan in the 21st book Dark Peril, who is destroyed by Dominic Dragonseeker and Zacarias De La Cruz, since he had turned vampire. In this plot, Christine expands the Tirunul clan to the oldest sibling Fen Dalka.

It was a pleasure as a reader to meet the Carpathians who were introduced in the beginning of the series, again, along with the latest additions to the ancient Carpathians and also the next generation of  them who are ever present in their lives.

Christine continues the fertility flower importance from Dark Storm into this plot as well, the flowers that Jubal Sanders and Gary Jansen brought back from South America in that episode. As well as Gary and Jubal's presence in this plot proving further that they are not just researchers but warriors and more. Gabrielle "Gabby" Sanders makes her presence known too, and she had been a mostly hidden character for a while. Can't wait to read her story soon.

Christine gives quite a few turning points to the readers, causing them pause and think. Some become stunning revelations while other still remain secretive to be explored. Readers also get a first-hand experience of a cross-species meeting and more of warrior council similar to a G8 Summit or any other international summits. But I have to say there are scenes that bring tons of tears to the readers.

And not to forget a little reunion kind of celebration intricately spun into the plot; which again brought back so many plots from previous books as side-bar stories in this. 

A few tidbits: 

I wish Christine would include who models for her book covers. Each and every model is so unique and perfect for the character she highlights in that plot. Only a few books she had exclusively explained who the models were. 

If siblings are related, why do they have different last names with some of Christine's characters? For instance, Natalya Shonski and Razvan Dragonseeker (twin siblings of same mother and father) and Fenris Dalka and Dimitri Tirunul in this case. A question perhaps I will ask her if I get to meet again.

The family chart continues to appear in the beginning of the book. And corrected with showing Zacharias De la Cruz's story as well. There are two appendix sections - Appendix I for Carpathian Healing Charts and Appendix II for the Carpathian Language.

Christine has three deleted scenes from the original publication on her website here

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. Although this time Christine left it in a cliffhanger, making it a true first book of a trilogy. Watch this space for more reviews of the next books in the series.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot reveals:

a. Fenris "Fen" Dalka is part Caprathian and part Lycan - considered an abomination by the Lycans. He is also brother to Dimitri Tirunul. But Mikhail terms Lycan/Carpathians as Guardians of All. While the Lycan/Vampires are called Sange rau

b. Dimitri also is close to become a part Carpathian, part Lycan due to continued blood exchange with his brother Fen. He is developing into a very complex character in the series - unclaimed lifemate, restored emotions making it all the more harder to hunt vampire, battling the wolf growing inside him. Christine certainly is making him worthy of Skyler.

c. Skyler Rose has also evolved considerably from the 14 year old girl that we met first in the eighth book Dark Legend. For a 19 year old she is becoming a far more experienced woman than any Carpathian, and her Dragonseeker blood adding to her powers considerably.

d. Zev, the Lycan hunter, is enamored by Bransilava. Possible pairing in a future plot, I guess. And also curious to see how Christine would weave it considering the lifemate ritual words are imprinted on a male Carpathian, and here Zev would be a Lycan. 

e. Dimitri is attacked by two of the elite Lycan hunters of Zev's team - Gunnolf and Corvel - and captured at the end of the plot. 

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 Celebration, we see quite a few sub-plot. 

i. 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.

ii. 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.

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

d. Ivory Malinov has a pack of wolves that she had converted them to Carpathian - Raja & Ayame, Blaez & Gynger, Farkas & Rikki.

e. 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. 

f. Now that she has full-blown exposure on the Jaguar species I wonder, if Christine would have a cross-over between her Leopard People Series and the Jaguar species in this Carpathian Series. Would love to see one such book.

g. In Dark Peril, it is shown that Solange Sangria's royal jaguar blood can kill the extremophiles that Xavier has created to harm the Carpathians; and a blood exchange could give ability to walk in sun at least in the early mornings and evenings, which the Carpathians could never do. Christine showed the continuity of this in Dark Predator and Dark Storm plots. 

h. In Dark Predator we saw budding romance between Julio Santos and Lea Eldridge. Will these and other human families supporting the De La Cruzes resurface somewhere in a future plot? We are saw that Dominic Dragonseeker and Solange Sangria head back to Carpathian mountains to deliver important news to their Prince.

i. In Dark Storm, we see that Riley Parker, who is a direct descendent of Arabejila, an ancient Carpathian woman who was of Mother Earth. She is also tuned to Mother Earth and plants grow at her feet just like Syndil. Perhaps Arabejila and Rile Parker are from that powerful Carpathian lineage that Mikhail had eluded to in Dark Celebration. Will Christine make this connection in later books. And perhaps Skyler is also her descendant. 

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 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 dormant Jaguar blood in him. In this plot, Gary is mortally injured, and Gregori is going to convert him if the healing process doesn’t work.

b. In Dark Dream, Falcon and Sara Amiras adopts seven sewer children - three girls (Chrissy, Blythe, Emma) and four boys (Travis, Peter, Lucas, Jase) - all with psychic abilities. The remaining two boys names are revealed in this plot.

c. Gabrielle Sanders and Jubal Sanders, siblings to Joie Sanders are first introduced in Dark Descent plot.  As of Dark Demon plot they reside in Carpathian Mountains taking care of the kids during the day. Gabrielle is turned to Carpathian in Dark Demon plot and tied to Vikirnoff Von Shrieder. In Dark Celebration it is revealed that the Sanders family come from pure Jaguar blood-line. And that all of them have dormant Jaguar blood in them. In Dark Storm plot it is shown that Jubal has feelings for Jasmine Sangria, jaguar female.

d. Jasmine Sangria - sister to Juliette - is first introduced in Dark Hunger plot. A jaguar female and could be a lifemate to a Carpathian male. As of Dark Possession, Jasmine is pregnant. 

e. In Dark Slayer, 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 - unclaimed lifemate to Dimitri Tirunul.

4. Perils that the Carpathians face:

a. Vampires are congregating; injecting a fast acting poison impacting the nervous system; 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.

b. 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. 

c. 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 and killed by Zacharias De La Cruz in Dark Predator; Sergey Malinov introduced in Dark Slayer; fifth brother yet to be introduced.

d. The Lycan/Vampires - Carpathians who deliberately mixed blood with Lycans and voluntarily converted to Vampires - also known as the Sange rau.

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 it is shown 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.

6. Other Carpathians, Lycans and Jaguars who are waiting for their lifemates or partners 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 lifemate to Skyler Rose.

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

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

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

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

f. Matias, Lojos and Tomas - ancient Carpathians and siblings, first introduced in Dark Slayer. 

g. Zev - Introduced first in Dark Lycan, he is an elite Lycan hunter hunting the rogue lycans and lycan/vampires, Sange rau.

h. The other elite Lycans introduced in Dark Lycan book - Daciana (female elite Lycan), Lykaon, Convel, Gunnolf, Makoce, Arnou.

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. 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. Her story is in Dark Legend.

f. 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. Her story is in Dark Demon.

g. 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 Dark Slayer.

h. 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.

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

j. 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 and also confirmed that she is Razvan's daughter and that she is part human, part Dragonseeker.

k. Arabejila - ancient Carpathian female and lifemate to Mitro Daratrazanoff, who worked side-by-side Dax for centuries to hunt Mitro after he turned vampire and wreaked havoc. Riley Parker is a direct descendent of Arabejila, but not a full Carpathian by birth. 

8. Next Generation Carpathian male and female kids:

a. Tamara - daughter of Gabriel and Francesca Daratrazanoff, 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. Jennifer - daughter of Dayan and Corrine Wentworth, born in Dark Melody plot.

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

e. Alexandru "Sandu" - Mikhail and Raven Dubrinsky's son, born sometime after the Dark Curse plot.

f. Anastasia Daratrazanoff and Anya Daratrazanoff - twin girls of Gregori and Savannah Daratrazanoff, born in Dark Slayer plot. As of Dark Lycan, Anya and Anastasia are becoming strong protectors of Alexandru just like Gregori was to Mikhail; Anya more being Alexandru's second-in-command.

g. As of this plot, several babies have been born in the span of two years between Dark Storm and this - Darius and Tempest Daratrazanoff have twins (a boy and a girl), Gabriel and Francesca Daratrazanoff have a second girl, Falcon and Sara Amiras are going to have a child soon (Sara had miscarried the first pregnancy sometime after Dark Celebration), the wolves that Razvan and Ivory Dragonseeker raised also have given birth to cubs

9. Geographical / Character / Grammatical / Historical Errors:

a. On Pg. 96, Christine mentions that Fen would kiss Tatijana again. But that was the first time they were kissing, so where did "again" come from?

b. Then immediately on Pg. 97, she mentions that "kissing once Tatijana was perfectly fine".  So she redacted her earlier statement here, but not corrected there. Hmm.

c. On Pg. 295, Line 18, it should be "…rain fell over both of…"

d. On Pg. 313, Line 3 from bottom, it should be "…body dove past him by a…"

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