Book Critique - Dark Sentinel (The Carpathian Novels # 32)

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. I liked this in particular due to its added humor.

Dark Sentinel is the thirty second book in the longest series, Dark Series, by Christine Feehan which was originally published in September of 2018. The primary plot is around Andor Katona - an ancient who was living in the monastery, but now resides in CA aiding Tariq Asenguard - Lorraine Peters - a strong psychic human female, who comes to the mountains in CA to find peace. The plot sets immediately after the events that occur in Dark Legacy.

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).

After a rigorous battle with seven vampires - master and newly made - Andor Katona sets to heal himself, and is attacked by three human fanatics while he is left vulnerable. At the brink of the edge, when he thinks this is best for him and honorable, a furious Lorraine Peters comes into the meadow where he is living and rescues him from the human hunters.

After losing her family, Lorraine finds Andor and she is not about to leave him to die. No matter what cost her, she steadily works towards helping him come back to the world of living. A fitting lifemate with spunk and courage that is more than in any person Andor had seen. Yet, was he worthy of her? A question Andor finds compelled to explore as his life with Lorraine moves along.

Introduction of Lorraine Peters, although situation was dire, it has a tinge of comedy, what with her getting furious that she was searching for peace and on path to non-violence, all the while hitting the hunters with her saucepot. 

Christine had mentioned on her site that she had seen a story on news about a young man who had killed people in a restaurant. That struck in her mind more from the killer's family's perspective. What was the fate of that young man's family, how they coped through the continual onslaught from friends, families and media. She created Lorraine Peters as belonging to one such family and grows in detail to show the readers the side of the story that is rarely heard.

Andor, though a very ancient Carpathian close to turning, takes on the modern world pretty easily even though he doesn’t always agree on that. Christine made him more fun loving than other Carpathians making him seem far more real.

We see a lot of referencing to plots that occurred immediate five books prior to this book. Gary Daratrazanoff's character keeps evolving as each book proceeds in the series, getting more and more powerful just like Gregori, in all aspects. Although Andre Boroi was mentioned in Dark Legacy leading us to think he has moved to Tariq's compound as decided in Dark Ghost, there is no more reference of him in this plot nor about Aleksei and Fane either.

After almost 18 years we hear again about Aidan Savage - the Carpathian who resided in San Francisco with his lifemate Alexandria, her brother Joshua and a human family aiding him. We did see him in Dark Celebration and heard a bit here and there in subsequent plots. But this time Christine showed a movement to his character. 

Despite all the graveness and seriousness that the ancient Carpathians project externally, Christine manage to induce humor in the conversations. Although some of them don’t feel the humor but those connected to Lorraine feel a bit through her. None the less the humor is not lost on everyone. We also see more of what is happening with psychic males that Vadim and Sergey are recruiting. 

Elisabeta Trigovise is turning out to be another important character like Skyler Dragonseeker Tirunul and Ivory Malinov Dragonseeker. I have a feeling that when her story comes it would be like that wave the crescendos to the top in her series, just like how it did with Ivory and Skyler's stories. I am also waiting to see the reunion between Traian and Elisabeta - brother and sister meeting after centuries lost. 

Christine shows the readers that Tariq's compound is not just a place for Carpathians to stay but also a stronghold very much like Mikhail's in Carpathian Mountains. They even have a warrior circle albeit it looks more like Knights at the round table. Similar elements Christine weaves in with modern twist and edge.

Thankfully Christine had less use of words like "obey", "allow", "gifting as in orgasms", "rewarded", "earned" this time around. The Carpathian Family Chart appears in this book again, missing connections from Dark Legacy. The two appendices come back - Appendix I for Carpathian Healing Chants and Appending II for The Carpathian Language. A lot of repeat paraphrasing continues in this book. 

After having re-reading this series since past few months, I feel lost and empty now that this latest book is also completed. Need to wait for another 8 months before the next book comes out in this series. The Carpathian World that Christine has spun definitely takes the reader literally into it, so much so that you feel part of it, living in it. I will miss this world while I read other authors until the next one in this comes out.

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. Sandu, Ferro and Gary bind their souls to Lorraine in effort to bring Andor back from the netherworld. This also gave them some respite from the darkness surrounding them, the light of Lorraine healed a bit.

b. Aidan Savage reappears in this plot, albeit only as a conversational point. Christine is sending him to east coast to create a stronghold similar to what he did in San Francisco. Will she make him equal par to Tariq? Or will he be bound to his orders? 

c. Christine has Gary use the phrase "Curious George likes his bike." as the secret phrase for the child to be able to get out of the safeguards. I so much love Curious George and was pleased to see it referenced here.

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 Promises, 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. Andre and Teagan are confirmed to have joined in Dark Legacy plot. 

h. In Dark Carousel, more characters are introduced who could have significant importance:

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

i. Carpathians when communicating broadly they use the common Carpathian path, which is heard by Vampires also (since they were originally Carpathians). I wonder if Christine will ever address this so Carpathians can come up with a better way to communicate broadly without the Vampires knowing about it.

j. In Dark Legacy, a few things of importance:

i. Christine mentions of a possible counselor coming from London to aid the kids and if she doesn’t work one more from South America would come.

ii. Tariq Asenguard is elevated to the acknowledged leader for Carpathians living in United States. He would answer only to Mikhail Dubrinsky their prince. However every Carpathian in United States would be bound by his orders. Gary Daratrazanoff becomes his second-in-command in USA.

iii. Julija - A prisoner in Sergey's underwater lair, is a mage and a direct descendent of one of the three High Mage triplets. Sergey tears her throat, Gary repairs it, but she doesn’t speak out loud. She leaves Tariq's compound after being rescued by Dragomir and others to do some important things to return in three weeks as promised to Elisabeta. 

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 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. 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). Lourdes - Charlotte Asenguard's 3 yr old niece - gets added to the lot in Dark Carousel.

4. Perils that the Carpathians face:

a. Master Vampires and their lesser vampires and puppets; master mage Xavier's remaining two splinters, both residing in Sergey Malinov per Dark Legacy; 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; ability to show emotions by vampires.

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 - injured beyond hope in Dark Legacy yet not dead. Sergey could have splinters of all of his brothers in him per Dark Sentienl.

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

5. 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. Gary Daratrazanoff - Introduced as Gary Jansen in Dark Magic; revealed to have Jaguar blood and related to Colby De La Cruz and her step siblings in Dark Celebration; converted to Carpathian in Dark Blood; becomes a true ancient Carpathian when he loses all color and emotions when Gabrielle is claimed by Alexei in Dark Promises; Trixie, Teagan and Gabrielle point him to France for hope of his lifemate; comes to CA to aid Tariq in this book; has odd colored eyes - ice blue rimmed with silver; will stay in USA and aid Tariq until his lifemate comes of age as of Dark Legacy. 18 years since his character had first been mentioned, yet Christine still hasn’t spun a story for him. Christine had mentioned the same in her blog too. 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. 

e. Valentin "Val" Zhestokly - ancient Carpathian rescued by Maksim and Blaze from Vladim Manilov in Dark Crime. Liv, saved from Vadim's clutches, is his lifemate per Dark Carousel. He also came from the monastery but left it long back. Would wait for another 8 years before claiming Liv.

f. Remaining Six of the Seven ancients introduced in Dark Promises plot who resided in the Retreat in the Veil of Mists - Sandu, Isai, Petru, Benedek, Andor, Ferro (Elisabta is his lifemate but not yet claimed) - As of Dark Legacy all reach CA and live in Tariq's compound.

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

h. Nicu Dalca - ancient hunter who joins Tariq and Maksim in San Diego, CA. First introduced in Dark Carousel. He was also from the monastery but left it long back.

6. 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. 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. Her story is in Dark Challenge

d. Syndil - lifemate to Barack. Her story is spread in two books - Dark Challenge and Dark Fire

e. Francesca Del Ponce - lifemate to Gabriel Daratrazanoff. 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. Her story is in Dark Demon.

g. Ivory Malinov - Lifemate to Razvan Dragonseeker, sister to the Malinov and De La Cruz brothers. 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.

k. Elisabeta Trigovise - Traian's sister and kidnapped by Sergey centuries ago for her power to bring feeling and color to anyone around, especially the unattached males who were closer to turning. Rescued by Dragomir and others in Dark Legacy; considered a true treasure and great gift to the Carpathian world. She is Ferro's lifemate as of this plot. 

7. 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 - 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)

i. Carisma - Dragomir & Emeline Kozel's daughter yet to be born as of Dark Legacy; created by Vadim but converted by Dragomir giving her pure Carpathian blood, carries the Malinov genes making Ivory Malinov sort of her aunt.  

8. Geographical / Character / Grammatical / Historical Errors:

a. Again Christine's male model on the book cover doesn’t have indigo eyes like the character she describes in the book.  

b. On Pg. 128, Christine mentions that Adam and Herman had hiked for four days. However prior to that conversation, there was no mention of how long they had hiked. A sudden intro to that looked out of place.

c. On Pg. 293, Christine had mentioned that in this scene was the first time that Gary called Lorraine "little sister". But on Pg. 135, he does call her already once. 

d. On Pg. 336, Line 13, it should be "…to love, Andor." She…"

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