Book Critique - Dark Carousel (The Carpathian Novels # 30)

Kicking off my 2019 Reading Challenge with this re-review of a book that I already had read and posted, but doing it again.

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. A new threads open up taking readers to different realms of the author's mind.

Dark Carousel is the thirtieth book in the longest series, Dark Series, by Christine Feehan which was originally published in August of 2016. The primary plot is around Tariq Asenguard - an ancient Carpathian settling in California - and Charlotte "Charlie" Vintage - restorer of old Carousels. And it is set a few weeks after Dark Crime (27th book) which makes me as a reader to conclude that Dark Ghost and Dark Promises, the subsequent books, were set in parallel to Dark Crime and little after. 

Carpathians are a powerful and ancient race who are near-immortals living for thousands of years with powers and gifts. Despite their gifts and extended lifespans, they are at the edge 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.

I had already read and written a review of this book when it came out here. However, now that I am re-reading the series, I am compelled to write my review again. It definitely will be a better review than the first one, I hope.

In April of 2016 when I had met Christine Feehan, she had mentioned that she was going to change the location of Carpathian stories to United States for a little while, getting away from Carpathian Mountains. Dark Crime didn’t tell clearly what part of US it was set in, although I had a feeling it was on west coast. In this plot, it gets more clearer - set in San Diego, CA.

Charlotte Vintage's mentor and her brother, both were murdered brutally, one in France and one in USA. She now comes to CA trailing or drawing out the killers, whichever way one sees.

We met Tariq briefly in the 19th book Dark Curse, and he had definitely made an impression on the reader's mind since then appearing briefly here and there and finally staking his position in CA with his friend and partner Maksim Volkov, owning the hottest night club The Palace, among other properties.

Charlotte's quest to find the killers lands her straight into a nest of vampires who were amassing close to where Tariq dwelled. And now it became Tariq's responsibility to not only take care of her but also to remove the threat directed at her. Now Tariq uses every weapon in his arsenal to not only keep her but also to save her.

Not many Carpathian people got involved with humans in the series. Christine had had De La Cruz family tied with Chevez, Fernandez and Diaz families to look after their ranches and farms, Aidan Savage also had human family taking care of him and his lifemate during the day time. Gary Daratrazanoff, Jubal Sanders and Paul Chevez were the humans that were closest to the Carpathians. But they still did not embrace the changing technology. Josef was perhaps the only other Carpathian who wanted to insert himself into the humans and their technology.

So, it was a refreshing change to have Christine spin a plot where Tariq Asenguard and Maksim Volkov have embedded themselves into modern technology and the lives of humans more than any other Carpathians. Vampires have certainly been more advanced than the Carpathians. It was about time Christine brought them up to speed and to current century, so they will be on par with the Vampires.

Just like there are female psychics, there obviously would be male human psychics too. It never occurred to me about them and their fate. However, in this episode, Christine shows what happens to the male human psychics as well. A possible thread weaving to a new path in the series, or altogether a different series, perhaps.

Not sure if Christine used the same model / person as a base to build the characters of Tariq Asenguard and Jake Bannaconni from the Leopard Series (His story was told in the third book in the series Burning Wild). As I was reading through, Tariq felt more and more like Jake.

Again the words like "obey", "allow", "gifting as in orgasms", "rewarded", "earned" sneak in Christine's plots which were lesser in the previous three or four books. I wish she just could use other words as these make me feel more of BDSM type-ish. But then there is no give to the Carpathian men, so perhaps these words do suit them. Even though the women object thoroughly and find a way to balance that between them.

The Carpathian Family Chart appears in this book again, updated with the connections for pairs since Dark Blood. The two appendices come back - Appendix I for Carpathian Healing Chants and Appending II for The Carpathian Language.

More Carpathian are introduced in this book and more are being called in by Tariq. What is Christine planning to do? Create a Carpathian base in United States, perhaps. Will she have stories for the Carpathians that she had already introduced but do not have a main plot yet, is something we have to wait and see.

A lot of repeat paraphrasing continues in this book. 

Another powerful paranormal romantic plot woven by Christine Feehan keeping us thoroughly entertained and immersed into the world of Carpathians, Lycans, Mages and Jaguars along-side humans. As always the fight scenes are excellent and love scenes are very erotic and rough, bordering on brutal.

Christine 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. New folks introduced:

i. Genevieve "Vi" Marten's grandmother, her only living relative, and her boyfriend were killed brutally in France. She comes to CA with Charlotte to exact revenge. She seems to have strong psychic powers too. And she has strong desire to go back to Paris.

ii. Lourdes - Charlotte's 3yr old niece, who was left alone by the killer by her father's side after killing her father. 

iii. Grace Parducci - Charlotte's friend and nanny to Lourdes, with psychic abilities, but decided not to stay in Tariq's compound.

b. Not just the five Malinov brothers, but looks like their cousins also turned. We meet two of them in this plot - Dorin and Cornel. Seems to be that Ivory Malinov was the only one that came out clean despite the hard path it was for her.

c. Vampires were showing emotions such as embarrassment. How is that possible?

d. Tariq worries that a talented healer isn't close by in CA. Wonder whom will Christine send there? Gary? Darius?

e. Xavier's father, Alycrome, is talked about. And he seemed a better mage than Xavier.

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Wonder why Christine didn’t have their own book or a novella for Barack and Syndil instead of splitting between Dark Challenge and Dark Fire? Why make him wait till after Darius makes his clam on Tempest, before Barack claims Syndil?

b. Ivory Malinov has a pack of wolves that she had converted them to Carpathian - Raja & Ayame, Blaez & Gynger, Farkas & Rikki. Now Dimitri and Skyler also have a pack of their own Carpathian wolves - Frost & Misty, Moonglow, Shadow and Sonnet.

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

d. I wonder if Christine would have a cross-over between her Leopard People Series and the Jaguar species in this Carpathian Series.

e. In Dark Peril, it is shown that Solange Sangria's royal jaguar blood gives Carpathians ability to walk in sun, albeit with some difficulties. Christine showed the continuity of this in Dark Predator and Dark Storm plots. 

f. In Dark Blood, a few things come to light: Zev Tirunul gets 12 Lycan/Carpathians - Guardians of All - thought to be Sange rau, for his pack which includes Dimitri and Skyler, Fen and Tatijana and Bransilava, his mate; along with his trusted elite Lycans. I am seeing another thread here that Christine perhaps will explore further. That Zev is from a powerful Carpathian lineage, Dark Blood.

g. At the end of Dark Promses, Andre and Teagan Boroi, Fane and Trixie Joanes, and Aleksei and Gabrielle Sanders plan to move to states and be closer to the Triplets, ancients Andre grew up with, aid the hunters there and also help any unattached ancients to ease pain and perhaps find a plausible location of their lifemate

h. All the ancients in the monastery have tattoo covering their backs, shoulders and arms with their creed in ancient letters. What it is, is a mystery yet. 

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

a. 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. 

b. Jubal Sanders - sibling to Joie Trigovise, first introduced in Dark Descent, resides in the Carpathian mountains with his sisters and aiding the Carpathians, comes from pure Jaguar blood-line, has feelings for Jasmine Sangria, jaguar female per Dark Storm.

c. Dark Celebration plot reveals 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.

d. Jasmine Sangria - sister to Juliette De La Cruz, first introduced in Dark Hunger, jaguar female, pregnant as of Dark Possession. 

e. Emeline "Emmy" Sanchez - first introduced in Dark Crime, friend and family to Blaze Volkov, who had mostly lived on streets all her life, but sneaked into Blaze's bedroom at nights for support and shelter; ability to see future in her dreams; brutally raped by Vadim Malinov when trying to rescue children.

f. Four strong psychic kids, siblings, are saved from the clutches of Vladim Malinov in Dark Crime - Danny (15 years old boy), Amelia (14 yr old girl), Liv (10 year old girl converted to Carpathian in Dark Carousel), Bella (3 yr old girl).

4. Perils that the Carpathians face:

a. Master Vampires and their lesser vampires; the ghouls; various poisons and traps; fighting the master mage Xavier's remaining two splinters of which one is shared by Sergey and Vadim Malinov per Dark Crime; Xavyion, the surviving High Mage Triplets (Xavier killed in Dark Slayer by Razvan and Ivory Dragonseeker, Xaviero killed in Dark Blood by Zev Tirunul, aided by all the Carpathians and Lycans); rescue psychic females from the clutches of the remaining Malinov brothers so they don’t use them for breeding; male human psychics being converted by Vadim and Sergey.

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. 

c. Malinov Brothers - introduced in Dark Secret; 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; Vadim Malinov introduced in Dark Crime. 

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 that frequently show their presence, even though they had no main story for them, as of yet:

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:

a. Tiberiu Bercovitz - an ancient mentioned in Dark Celebration known to be amazing with weapons. 

b. Luiz De La Cruz - introduced as Luiz Silva, a Jaguar converted to Carpathian by Manolito De La Cruz in Dark Possession, inducted into the Carpathian world of Warriors in Dark Blood.

c. Matias, Lojos and Tomas - ancient Carpathians and siblings, triplets, first introduced in Dark Slayer. Living in Tariq's compound since Dark Crime.

d. The other elite Lycans introduced in Dark Lycan and subsequent books - Daciana Declaw (female elite Lycan), Lykaon, Makoce, Damon Declaw.

e. Gary Daratrazanoff - Introduced as Gary Jansen in the 4th book Dark Magic; revealed to have Jaguar blood and related to Colby and her step siblings in Dark Celebration; converted to Carpathian in Dark Blood after suffering a mortal wound aiding the Carpathians; loses all his color and emotions in one night, aging a thousand years with the power of all the ancients who had poured inside him, when Gabrielle is claimed by Alexei and his soul gets split at that moment, in Dark Promises; Trixie, Teagan and Gabrielle help him in pointing him to France for hope of his lifemate potentially being there. 18 years since his character had first been mentioned, yet Christine still hasn’t spun a story for him. In one of her blog post on Goodreads in 2018, she however mentions that Gary's story has to wait as his lifemate is a child now. Has she already introduced the child? Or is she 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. 

f. Val Zhestokly - ancient Carpathian legend rescued by Maksim and Blaze from clutches of Vladim Manilov in Dark Crime. Liv, the psychic 10 year old girl, saved from Vadim's clutches, is his lifemate per Dark Carousel. He also came from the monastery but left it long back. Val vows to wait for another 8 years before claiming Liv. So one plot definitely gonna come up in near future.

g. Seven ancients introduced in this plot who resided in the Retreat in the Veil of Mists, all sent to different directions by Trixie, Teagan and Gabrielle's powers in hopes of finding their lifemates - Dragomir Kozul (resides with Tariq and Makism in San Diego, CA as of this plot, just like the three women predicted.), Sandu, Isai, Petru, Benedek, Andor, Ferro

h. Afanasiv "Siv" Balan - ancient hunter who joins Tariq and Maksim in San Diego, CA. First introduced in this plot. He was also from the monastery but left it long back.

i. Nicu Dalca - ancient hunter who joins Tariq and Maksim in San Diego, CA. 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; power to sing that could bring peace to all beings. Her story is in Dark Challenge

d. Syndil - lifemate to Barack, 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; makes stained glass patterns and quilts that are specific to one's need and bring healing to them. Her story is in Dark Legend. As of Dark Wolf, she is pregnant again. 

f. Natalya Shonski - lifemate to Vikirnoff Von Shrieder. She is part human, part mage and part Dragonseeker. 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 (Lifemate to Zev Tirunul, her story is in Dark Blood), and Tatijana Dragonseeker (Lifemate to Fenris Dalka, her story is in Dark Lycan).

j. Skyler Daratrazanoff - lifemate to Dimitri Tirunul; adopted by Gabriel and Francesca Daratrazanoff, is Razvan's biological daughter; part Mage, part Human, part Dragonseeker, part Jaguar, part Lycan (as revealed in Dark Blood); Daughter of the Earth. Her story is in Dark Wolf.

8. Next Generation Carpathian male and female kids:

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

b. Josef  and Benjamin "Ben" Belandrake - Carpathian male kids, first introduced in Dark Symphony. Nephews to Byron Justicano. In Dark Celebration a budding romance was shown between Josef and Ginny - Colby's step-sister; while in Dark Lycan Skyler mentions that perhaps one or both of Gregori's daughters' may be his lifemate.

c. Jennifer - daughter of Dayan and Corrine Wentworth, born in Dark Melody.

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

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

f. Anastasia Daratrazanoff and Anya Daratrazanoff - twin girls of Gregori and Savannah Daratrazanoff, born in Dark Slayer. 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. Andor and <> - Twins (a boy and girl) of Darius and Tempest Daratrazanoff.

h. Isabella Sara Amiras - Falcon and Sara Amiras' daughter, born in Dark Blood. (Sara miscarried the first child she had sometime after Dark Celebration)

9. Geographical / Character / Grammatical / Historical Errors:

a. Christine kept describing Tariq's eyes as blue and all shades of blue. However, the book cover has the model with yellowish or brown eyes. 

b. In Dark Crime, Christine had mentioned that Amelia was older than Danny - two of the four kids that Maksim and Blaze rescued. However in this book, she has Amelia as 14 yrs and Danny as 15. Danny became older in a matter of two books. I wonder how.

c. On Pg. 114, Line 16, it should be "..his leg. "He can help you…"


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